30 January, 2014

Auction Rooms

It was an insanely hot day, but the inside of Auction Rooms was cool and breezy - both the people and the room. The industrial-chic interior of this converted warehouse was absolutely gorgeous and I found myself absolutely captivated with it's rustic ambience and open space. 

Here at Auction Rooms, they're quite serious about their coffee (and the rest of Melbourne I suppose) - roasting and serving up Small Batch Roasting Co Specialty Coffee from beans sourced from the world's best coffee-growing regions. 

Even when we were waiting in line for a seat, we were asked if we were interested in sampling their filter coffee of the day - the Colombian Geisha. The friendly waiter proceeded to explain the origins of the coffee and asked us to spot hints of stone fruit and chocolate notes. Excellent service, I must say. 

Iced Coffee

Served super chilled, my Iced Coffee was bang on - rich, sweet and certainly worked to hit the spot. 

House-style Lemonade

Simple and fresh, T ordered Auction Room's house-style lemonade - perfect for a hot summer day. 

Olive Oil Poached Tasmanian Trumpeter

Onto the food now - and boy was the brunch menu adventurous. With us oo-ing and ah-ing, I hoped the waitress understood why we took so long to decide to place our bids.

In the end, the Olive Oil Poached Tasmanian Trumpeter had me sold. The fish had a beautiful firm white flesh, which was moist and tasty. Even though it was poached in olive oil, the fish was not oily at all. The soft omelette pillow, reminiscent of clouds went surprisingly well with the chewy sweet-fleshed pippies. 

Zucchini Blossom Salad

T, on the other hand went for a light, fresher option - a salad of zucchini blossom, Lebanese purslane, manchego cheese - all studded with puffed quinoa and drizzled in a muscatel vinaigrette.

I really do wonder how it took me so long to visit Auction Rooms. I mean, it satisfies every criteria - good brunch, good coffee, lovely space and lovely people. I feel like I've been missing out.

Auction Rooms
103-107 Errol Street

North Melbourne, VIC

Auction Rooms on Urbanspoon

27 January, 2014

Hot Star Large Fried Chicken & Gong Cha

Hailing from Taiwan's famous Shilin Market (士林夜市), Hot Star Large Fried Chicken (豪大大鸡排) has landed in Melbourne, and with a bang. Hot Star can be easily found on Swanston Street and Elizabeth Street, but if you are having problems finding it, just spot the long queues or let the wafting aroma guide you there. 

Established in 1992 by Mr Wang, Hot Star's famous Extra Large Chicken has been satisfying the people of Taiwan with its addicting offerings for years. Today, Hot Star has become one of Taiwan's best-known and must try-snacks. 

Of course, when something this amazing exists, it's only fair to share. Shanghai, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong were next and it was only in time that it came to the land down under. 

Hot Star Large Fried Chicken

Encrusted in a deliciously moreish salt and pepper, the humungous 30cm chicken breast was hot, crispy and mouth-wateringly good. Hidden underneath this golden crunch was meat that was so incredibly juicy and succulent. Prepared daily and having been marinated for 24 hours may help explain this.

The genius, Mr Wang himself, had come all the way to Melbourne to ensure that it was just as delicious and authentic as the one you would find at Shilin Market.

Chicken Bites

As well as the famous Large Fried Chicken, Hot Star also offer smaller nibbles to munch on. Awe-inspiringly crunchy, these crispy bite sized pieces were dusted with a spicy seasoning - with just the right touch of heat. But be warned, these chicken pops should be handled with care. Because once you pop, you can't stop.

Mushroom Bites

Like the Extra Large Chicken, the oyster mushrooms were coated in their special marinade and tapioca flour before dipped into the deep fryer -  promising each bite is full of crunch and flavour.

Sweet Potato Fries

Curly Fries

With the Large Fried Chicken earning a permanent spot on the menu, the Hot Star menu varies from country to country to cater for the local crowds' tastebudsCrunchy Popcorn Squid for the Singaporeans, Fishball Skewers for the Hong Kongnese, and Sweet Potato Fries for us Melbournians. Scattered with a tangy plum salt, these hand cut sweet potato fries were JJ's favourite. Curly Fries  made an appearance too.

Between scoffing down all these deep-fried goodies, we quenched our thirst with some Gong Cha. A cool Matcha Milk Tea with Red Bean for JJ, and a refreshing Lychee Oolong Tea for me. Perfect.

Having travelled to Taiwan early in 2013, I would have to say that the Hot Star Large Fried Chicken was one of the highlights from my trip. And how great it is that I can now get my Hot Star fix here in Melbourne. With Gong Cha in one hand and Hot Star in the other, it felt like I was back in Taiwan. Fry me to heaven Hot Star Large Fried Chicken.

confessions of a little piggy was invited to dine as a guest of Hot Star Large Fried Chicken & Gong Cha

Hot Star Large Fried Chicken & Gong Cha
231-233 Swanston Street
Melbourne, VIC 

Hot Star Large Fried Chicken on Urbanspoon

Gong Cha on Urbanspoon

23 January, 2014

Frozen by A Thousand Blessings

There are a lot of things to like about Frozen. Both the frozen yogurt shop Frozen by A Thousand Blessings, and the Disney movie Frozen. Yes, I may just be slightly obsessed. Let it go.

At first glance, the movie Frozen seems to be just another Disney princess film. However, look a little deeper and you realise just how different it actually is - stepping away from the clichés of love at first sight and damsels in distress. And how can I not mention Olaf. 

Like the movie Frozen, frozen yogurt shop Frozen by A Thousand Blessings may look like just another froyo joint (cough - Yo-Chi). But, take a step inside and you'll see that it is much more. 

What stood out to me the most was that all frozen yogurts are made with Biodynamic unhomogonised full cream milk, and sweetened with Stevia - rather than sugar. On top of this, the calorie conscience can really appreciate the nutrition cards that specify what and how much of Frozen goodness that is scoffed down. And for toppings ? Help yourself to over 30 assortments and fill to your heart's content! Think Hello Pandas, mini meringues and green tea mochis. 

With so many goodies to choose from, this was our result. 

How do you like your froyo ? 

Frozen by A Thousand Blessings
670 Chapel Street
South Yarra, VIC

Frozen By A thousand Blessings on Urbanspoon

20 January, 2014

The Beer & Burger Bar

Residing on the boozier end of Swan St in Richmond, The Beer and Burger Bar is a go to drinking hole for many. As the name would suggest, they do burgers too. Duh.

Slow Cooked Lamb Burger

The pleasantly soft seeded bun held thin slices of slow cooked lamb, smokey bacon strips, fresh tomato, and leafy greens, all topped with a luscious mint jelly and smidgen of harissa. I must say, I was a little saddened as I had expected a fiesta of flavours here. However, the harissa was a let down as it did not hold any heat. On the other hand, the lamb and bacon combo were great. I mean bacon. It's hard to go wrong when you have bacon.

Veg Out Burger

For something a little less carnivorous, we vegged out on the Veg Out Burger - starting with a warm bun, the high-fibre veggie patty was spruced up with squeaky haloumi, thin slices of cucumber, wild rocket leaves, caramelised onion and a sweet tomato jam. We also had a serve of their chips with each burger, which were exactly what we were after - golden and crunchy, while soft and fluffy on the inside. 

I don't think there is all too much to tell about The Beer & Burger Bar - the burgers were good, just nothing memorable. However, if you are around Richmond station and in need of a quick bite, I’d happily point you in TBBB's direction.

The Beer and Burger Bar
112 Swan St 
Richmond, VIC 

The Beer and Burger Bar on Urbanspoon

17 January, 2014


Furnished with black walls, wooden features and thick ropes stretching across the ceiling, Maedaya brings a modern spin to izakaya style dining. Known for their touch screen menu ordering system and affordably priced bite-sized dishes - this has got to be one of my favourite ways of eating as you can taste more dishes in one sitting. 


We start the night with Edamame, popping out the little suckers straight into our mouths, repeating this endlessly until the whole bowl was finished.

Maedaya Tsukune Set

Piping hot off the grill came our Maedaya Tsukune Set - 5 skewers, 15 chicken balls for 4 hungry mouths. Drizzled in 5 different sauces (garlic crumbs, black pepper, nanami chilli pepper, spicy miso mayo and wasabi mayo), one was not enough as it was devoured far too quickly. Luckily there was enough of these flame-licked skewers to go around. 

Avocado Roll

A long plate held plump pillows of rice, rolled inside out with a cream cheese and lobster salad, topped with delicate slices of avocado. Immensely fond of sushi, this was right up my alley. 

Cold Soba Salad

Nestled on a bed of fresh greens, the seductively slippery soba splashed with plum soy provided a healthy bite and was perfect to pass around and share with everyone

Veggie Chips

We also ordered a mixed platter of Veggie Chips to nibble on, consisting of renkon lotus root chips, burdock root chips and carrot chips with a creamy avocado dip. Simple, yet full of crunch and flavour. The renkon chips were the clear winner, followed closely by the crispy carrot chips.

Yaki Buta

The Yaki Buta, more commonly known as Char Sui was magical - slow cooked and incredibly soft. The tender and fatty pork literally melted as it touched my tongue, just like magic. 

Agedashi Tofu

Agedashi Tofu is a dish I order without fail, and is a dish that is usually done well. Decorated with grated daikon and spring onion, I had to admit I didn't enjoy Maedaya's version as much as I had hoped - with the broth lacking in depth, and the tofu on the firmer side. 


Lavished with kewpie mayo and takoyaki sauce, these Takoyaki balls remained crispy on the outside and plump on the inside till demolished. With a little more octopus, these could possibly be renamed amaze balls. 


The last dish of the night was my favourite of the night. A bed of fluffy rice topped with thin slices of tender beef and onions simmered in a sweet dashi based broth. The rice thirstily soaked up the rich broth, juicing up the rice with flavour. Decorated with pickled ginger and sliced spring onion, this donburi was filling, comforting and most importantly, extremely tasty.

Japanese is slowly creeping up on me, becoming one of my favourite cuisines and seeming to be always at the top of mind now. There is just something so enchanting about their style of cooking, where quality ingredients are crafted and showcased in such a humble yet exciting manner. 

Maedaya completely charmed my pants off. The flavours, presentation and food itself ticked all the right boxes, and was further highlighted with attentive service and lively atmosphere. It would be safe to say that I would highly recommend Maedaya in a heartbeat. Run, don't walk.

400 Bridge Road 
Richmond, VIC 

Maedaya on Urbanspoon

14 January, 2014


Despite the name, there really is no need to touch wood at Touchwood. 

One of the many things I love about Melbourne, are the cafes that seem to be popping left right and centre almost every other week. Touchwood is one of those that recently opened up late in 2013 and has been on my radar ever since.

Brainchild from the guys behind Coin Laundry, Station Street Trading Co., Pillar of Salt and Tall Timber, I wasn't surprised that we were greeted by a small queue. But that's okay, I secretly like lines. 

Seating up to 110 eager brunch goers, Touchwood was full to the brim. The place was buzzing, with wait staff in soft grey aprons fluttering here, there and everywhere. I particularly found the modern and bright space aesthetically pleasing with clean white walls and timber tables, highlighted by the natural light streaming through the large front store windows.

Skinny Flat White

Of course, I went for my usual cuppa - a smooth blend from Five Senses which went down a treat. 

Tequila and Citrus Cured Salmon

Having been eyeing this dish for a while, my eyes glistened as the vibrant dish was placed in front of me. Going around the plate, there was tequila and citrus cured salmon, beetroot relish, smashed peas, sourdough toast, poached eggs, lemon crème fraiche and a handful sautéed endive. I particularly enjoyed the serving of ruby red roasted beetroot relish which added a welcomed burst of tartness.

Tall Timber Breakfast Board

For the indecisive E, this brekky board was perfect, offering a little bit of everything to satisfy both her sweet and savoury tooth. To start off with, there was a single poached egg with beetroot relish on toast. For sweets, there was a bowl of natural house made natural muesli tossed among dried fruit, mixed nuts, seeds, cinnamon poached apple and dolloped with honeyed yoghurt. Washed down with a glass of freshly squeezed OJ, E was all smiles.

Wagyu Beef Burger

A chose the Wagyu Beef Burger, positive that you can never go wrong with a good hearty burger. She was not disappointed - a thick wagyu patty oozing with cheddar cheese, thick slices of juicy tomato, crisp lettuce leaves with ketchup and mustard between a light brioche bun certainly did the trick. Her burger was completed with chunky kipfler chips which were a dream dipped in paprika aioli. 

Considering the size of the place, the service was prompt and friendly, though we did wait slightly more than comfortable for our coffee and orders to be taken. But all is forgiven when the food and drinks made it to our table. Touchwood - we are lucky to have you.

480 Bridge Road
Richmond, VIC

Touchwood on Urbanspoon

06 January, 2014


All aboard since the 80's, Galleon is an original neighbourhood institution - from the boat tables, the mural on the bar to the classics on the menu. A rather busy afternoon, A and I joined the waiting list and absorbed the old school vibe whilst checking out what people were tucking into.

House Baked Banana and Date 

Two chunky slices of banana and date bread came with a generous dollop of vanilla bean ricotta. The bread was moist, dense and naturally sweet -  which paired well with a schmear of light vanilla bean ricotta. 

Galleon Burger with Fried Egg

I seem to be craving burgers a lot these days, and I thought this one would satisfy my hankering. But, as the burger was placed in front of me, my heart sank.

The patty was much too small for the bun - hidden among a jungle of trimmings, it looked as if though it was wearing a ridiculously oversized turkish bun as a hat. It was however, done with a nice crust of char and worked well with the crispy strip of bacon. But, despite what some people say, size does matter.

Super Sailor

A felt like eggs and was immediately drawn to the Super Sailor - smoked salmon, spinach and a poached egg on 
100% rye bread with a dob of chive mascarpone. A enjoyed the flavours, though mentioned that the salmon was on the mushier side and her rye bread was a little over-toasted.

We didn’t dislike the food at Galleon, but it was nothing to shout about either. I guess it just didn't quite float our boat.

9 Carlisle Street
St Kilda, VIC

Galleon on Urbanspoon

03 January, 2014

That Greek Tavern

It had been a long day, and my brothers (aka cavemen) were famished. And so it only made sense to get them to the Greek, to That Greek Tavern.

Lima Bean Salad

Promptly after ordering, we enjoyed a complimentary Lima Bean Salad. Though it may look like any other salad, this tangy salad was bursting with Mediterranean flavours and only made us hungrier with each bite.


A warm golden wedge of gooey, salty kefalograviera goat cheese laced with lemon juice. This was all kinds of delicious.

Mixed Meat Platter for 2

To satisfy the boys, we ordered the Mixed Meat Platter for 2, to share between the four of us. A platter of charcoal grilled lamb and chicken, keftethes and lamb cutlets. The lamb was noticeably inconsistent - a combination of succulent slices that we demolished, as well as dry pieces that were left untouched. On the contrary, the chicken was absolutely mouth watering - juicy, flavoursome and nicely caramelised on the outside. The keftlethes and lamb cutlets also disappeared off the dish in no time.


We also ordered a bowl of fries to nibble on. Nothing special - a standard bowl of fries with a side of tomato sauce.


Certainly, comfort food to the next level, this dish was extremely filling. Layer upon layer were slices of eggplant, bolognese and potatoes, topped with a velvety béchamel sauce and backed to a golden finish. Unfortunately, I found this dish to be quite bland, with the bolgenese lacking in herbs and spices, and thus being overpowered by the overly rich béchamel sauce.


With bucatani in replacement of lasgana sheets, Pastitsio is to Greek cuisine what Lasagna is to Italian cooking. Similar to the Mousaka, the Pastitsio were solid layers of lamb mince, herbs, feta cheese, topped with their homemade béchamel sauce. In the same way, we found that this dish was also lacking the much needed flavour from the lamb, resulting in a dish which felt quite one dimensional.

Though there were a few hit and misses with the food, service here is attentive, speedy, and indistinguishable to that old school slightly scary - where service is loud yet friendly. Regrettably, in my books, That Greek Tavern just didn't cut it to be The Greek Tavern though.

That Greek Tavern
1438 Malvern Rd
Glen Iris, VIC

That Greek Tavern on Urbanspoon