28 September, 2013

Super Bowl Pho & Bun Bo Hue

A rainy Wednesday night brought my friends and me to Super Bowl Pho & Bun Bo Hue. Let me tell you, there is nothing more comforting than eating a hot steaming bowl of pho on a cold night. But wait, there is - a super bowl of pho.

Vietnamese Iced Coffee

Hanoi Style Spring Rolls 

Pork, vegetables and shrimp in rice paper rolls were deep fried to a golden brown, with the perfect crunch with each bite. The right way, and the only way to eat this dish is to eat with your hands. In fact, if you decided any other way, you would look ridiculous. Wrap these babies up with vermicelli rice noodles in a fresh leaf of lettuce and dip/soak in fish sauce. Yum !


The broth was light, slightly sweet and fragrant. You could taste the hours on end that the soup had have simmered for. The flat rice noodles were smooth, slippery and slurp worthy. Unfortunately, I found the thick slices of beef not as tender as I would have liked. Completing the dish, chopped spring onion and sliced onion added the perfect bursts of freshness. And boy, was the bowl gigantic.

Hanoi Style Vermicelli Noodle

The last dish was char-grilled pork chops and pork patties served with rice vermicelli, an abundance of fresh vegetables and pickled carrots and daikon. The pork was tender and full of flavour and was voted the favourite of the night by my friends.

Overall, Super Bowl Pho & Bun Bo Hue was fresh, fun and flavoursome. And you know what they all say - the bigger, the better.

Super Bowl Pho & Bun Bo Hue
252 Victoria St

Super Bowl Pho & Bun Bo Hue on Urbanspoon

25 September, 2013

Pana Chocolate

Pana Chocolate has just recently landed on the energetic and happening Church Street. Only a couple of minutes away from work, it was effortless to duck out over my lunch break to pay them a visit. Lovers of chocolate would all agree that the only thing holding them back are the haunting calories that comes with the consumption of chocolate. It is no wonder there is so much buzz over chocolate that is raw, organic and handmade with Pana love.

With some friendly advice from the shop assistant, I chose the Sour Cherry & Vanilla, Coconut & Goji Berry and the original Raw Cacao. Dark chocolate that is velvety smooth and melts in your mouth. Also low in GI, vegan, gluten free and has no dairy or soy. How does this chocolate even exist?

I also had a tasting of their raw choc mint cake and it was amazing. Richly textured, indulgent, yet wholesome and fresh at the same time. You can really taste the difference. 

At $6.90 a bar, you have to be careful as it all adds up with just a few umms and ahhs. Though easily weighed out by the amazing quality and thought that is put into each and every gram of Pana Chocolate. Healthy chocolate. Get on it.

Pana Chocolate
491 Church Street

Pana Chocolate on Urbanspoon

21 September, 2013

Merchant's Guild

There's a bit of noise surrounding Bentleigh East's refreshing new kid on the block, Merchant's Guild. Opened in March, they already climbed the ranks and has gained much popularity among the locals with its cool fresh vibes.

Prana Chai

Seeing as though they served the famed Prana Chai here, I opted for a Chai Latte today. The first sip was really something. It was gorgeously rich and creamy, with hints of honey, ginger, spice and everything nice ! On top of that, I adored the whole 'strain your own chai latte' concept. 

 English Breakfast Tea

E ordered an English  Breakfast Tea and noted how fragrant her cuppa was, something she could definitely get used to. Lovely presentation once again !

Sweet Pea & Feta

If you follow my instagram, you would know how obsessed I am with smashed avocado. It is no surprise that I felt the same way with the sweet pea and feta spread here at Merchant's Guild. Sweet peas infused with creamy feta spread on crusty dark rye, topped with Spanish sardines and a perfectly poached egg. With a sprinkle of herb crumb and a squeeze of lemon, this dish was pretty damn good.

Roast Bubble & Squeak

E was a little hesitant at first about the smoked trout, but was completely surprised at how well the whole dish came together. I stole a bite or two and there was a whole lot of texture going on with this dish. The smoked trout was beautiful and matched well with a crunchy acidic bite of cornichon and a dab of horseradish cream. A hearty serving, but nothing too heavy.  

Looking around, I would've never imagined I was in the suburbs of Bentleigh. Complete with a hydro setup of micro herbs, tendrils and shoots, crafty terrarium  centrepieces and excellent service, I was incredibly impressed with Merchant's Guild. Head on over and join the guild today.

Merchant's Guild
680 Centre Rd 
Bentleigh East

Merchants Guild on Urbanspoon

18 September, 2013

Gold Leaf

After years and years at uni involving countless tutorials, snoozing away in seminars, lectures,  assignments and dreadful exams, the day had finally come. The very end of B.Com - I was graduating ! 

Despite how excited I was, it was nothing compared to my mum. She was ecstatic, and some would even think that she was the one graduating. And to kick start the day, she organised a Yum Cha lunch for all 18 of us to dine at Gold Leaf in Springvale.

Prawn and Garlic Chives Dumpling

Three little bite sized morsels of luscious prawns peeked through a thin translucent skin. I love how much attention and detail are put into these delicate dumplings. The prawn was fresh and bouncy, whilst the garlic chive factor bought the whole dish together. Delicious !

Crispy Squid

Another dish that is very popular at Yum Cha is the Crispy Squid. Juicy squid tentacles deep fried till golden and crispy finished off with a dusting of seasoning. The squid tentacles had a nice chew to it, and wasn't too greasy. Unfortunately, we did receive these luke warm at the most. I guess this is just one of the down sides of having the traditional trolley style Yum Cha.

Fried White Bait

As the plate swooped in onto the lazy susan, the smell was absolutely enticing. The white bait was deep fried and tossed in salt and pepper. These were a hit with my toddler cousins, both continuously asking for more 'baby fish' between licking their fingers clean. And they were not the only ones, these too were a childhood favourite of mine.

 Roasted Pork Belly with Jelly Fish Salad 

Roast Duck

For roast meats, we selected the Cold Roasted Pork Belly with Jelly Fish Salad and Roast Duck. Crispy crackling paired with slippery crunchy jelly fish and pickled cabbage salad was easily Dad's favourite dish of the day. The other plate served up fatty roast duck which oozed various spices and a rich sweetness that is just so sinfully satisfying. It would have been even better if there was more sauce to go around.

Unfortunately I did not have time to stay for long with the clock ticking away- I was due to head off to uni to collect my gown. Though a short lunch, the dishes and service we received were exactly what I had anticipated. There is a bit of wait for trolleys at times but that is also expected. Gold Leaf consistently delivers tasty baskets of dim sum and fried goodies that we can always depend on for a Yum Cha session. Whilst my family continued to eat, drink and be merry at Gold Leaf, I rushed off with A for what was only the start of the day. Definitely a lovely start to my afternoon which fueled me up for a full day of smiling and posing for photos. 

Gold Leaf
46 - 58 Buckingham Ave 

Gold Leaf on Urbanspoon

14 September, 2013

Little Thai Cafe

Little Thai Cafe is the first choice for many of my friends local to Bentleigh. This little spot has popped up in our conversations countless times, and I decided it was about time I see what all the fuss was about.

Mini Thai Spring Roll

For entrees, we went for the Mini Thai Spring Rolls. Served piping hot, these Little Thai homemade spring rolls were filled with minced chicken. We crunched and munched on these dipped in sweet chilli sauce as the other dishes rolled out.

Satay Chicken Skewers

Our next entree were the Satay Chicken Skewers - a generous serving of six hefty sized chargrilled chicken skewers marinated in coconut milk and satay flavours topped with a thick homemade peanut sauce. I found the chicken to be a little on the tough side, and rather stringy, whilst the peanut sauce was too sweet for my liking. Tough I was assured by S that the skewers that we had that night were not the delicious bites she was accustomed to on her regular visits to Little Thai. Unlucky for us - perhaps it was just one of their off days.

Pad Thai

Now, who goes to a Thai restaurant and does not order Pad Thai? Certainly not me. Wonderfully chewy noodles with good smokiness from the wok was tossed among tofu, lean chicken, bean shoots, spring onion and a nice spritz of lemon. Topped with crushed roasted peanuts, and you have yourself a satisfying plate of good old Pad Thai.

Penang Curry 

recommended the Penang Curry, which was her number one choice for curry here. A sweet and thick  coconut based curry coating slices of capsicum, carrot, broccoli and chicken. I shovelled steam rice on my plate before dousing it all in this rich Penang Curry - yum !

Pad Khing Tofu

For something to cut the fried factor of our mini spring rolls and the richness of the curry we opted for a more simple dish of vegetables. The Pud Khing Tofu was an asorrtment of vegetables and bean curd stir fired with ginger and onion. Again, I found that the chefs had added a little more sugar than I would have preferred

To me, Little Thai Cafe is just another one of your typical local Thai restaurants. You've got your spring rolls, curry puffs, Thai green curry and everything else you are familiar with. The prices are affordably prices and whilst I question what the uniform the staff are required to wear, they are friendly and efficient. However, the flavours I found were were too westernised, resulting in dishes being much to sweet for my liking. But having a look around, majority of diners were Caucasion, and so I guess they hit the nail on the head.

Little Thai Cafe
99 Centre Rd 
Bentleigh East

Little Thai Cafe on Urbanspoon

And of course, we finished the night off with some refreshing froyo. Toppings of choice this time round were blueberry compote, fresh strawberries, pineapples, and strawberry popping pearls with good old original frozen yogurt.

292 Carlisle St 

Yo-Chi Self Serve Frozen Yogurt on Urbanspoon

10 September, 2013

Cacao Green

Cacao Green has landed at Chastone Shopping Centre ! And guess who was lucky enough to be invited to Nuffnang's Food Blogger Meet up & Tasting at Cacao Green? 

We all know Cacao Green for their 100% all-natural frozen yogurt. That's no preservatives, no artificial flavours no artificial colours and gluten free. Though experts in froyo, Cacao Green also offers waffles, parfaits, smoothies and coffees. With so many offerings, I didn't even know where to begin !

Ham & Cheese Waffle

Smoked Salmon Waffle

Banana Hazulnut Waffle

Strawberry Hazulnut Waffle

Sweet and pillowy on the inside and crispy on the outside. Try a simple ham, tomato and melty cheese waffle. For the sweet tooths, opt for waffle chambers filled with pools of nutella, caramel, frozen yogurt, bananas, and walknuts finished cing sugar.

Original and Green Tea Frozen Yogurt with Homemade Berry Compote and Fresh Mango

Mango and Coconut Frozen Yogurt with Mango Popping Pearls and Mini Strawberry Pops

Ginger Lemon Frozen Yogurt with Lychee Popping Pearls and Brownie Bits

Creamy creamy froyo, reminiscent of ice cream inevitably made my tastebuds sing happy days. Minus the crazy calories, there was no reason to love. Flavours ranged from luscious mango, smooth green tea, tropical coconut to quirky ginger lemon. Even better, crown these swirly creations with homemade compote, seasonal fresh fruits, cheesecake bites or mochi - anything your heart desires.

Mixed Berries Parfait & Berry Mango Parfait

Your choice of freshly chopped seasonal fruits layered in Orginal Cacao Green Frozen Yogurt twirled among crunchy granola clusters and protein packed nuts. Treat yourself well !

Mixed Berry Smoothie & Spinach Smoothie

Skinny Flat White 

Cacao Green also serves up St Ali coffee and what a pleasant surprise that was. Of course, I ordered myself a nice hot Skinny Flat White which went down a treat. The only gripe I had was that no effort at all was put into the coffee art. I like coffee art.

Overall, you can never go wrong with a chilli treat of froyo, be it for an emergency pick-me-ups or a healthy snack. Delicious on the lips and easy on the hips ! 

A big thank you to Cacao Green, Valissa and the Nufnang gang for making this all happen.

confessions of a little piggy was invited to dine as a guest of Cacao Green.

Cacao Green
Chadstone Shopping Centre

Cacao Green on Urbanspoon

07 September, 2013

Tuck Shop Takeaway

Tuck Shop Takeaway has been on my radar for a while now. And with the little bro, D-man finished up at tutoring, that's exactly where I decided to take him.

Back when I was in high school, I adored the canteen. No doubt you would find me there everyday. Please don't ask me how I managed to scoff down three potato cakes with chicken salt on a daily basis. Located in Caulfiled North, Tuck Shop has taken the canteen experience to the next level. Here you will find twists on old favourites from a range of fancy filling jaffles, classic burgers to sugar-coma inducing milkshakes. 

Pulled Pork Jaffle

This was no boring ham and cheese jaffle. Tuck Shop had the genius idea of combining juicy pulled pork, sweet apple and fennel chutney and smokey almond mayo together to create two golden halves of sinful goodness. The bread was buttered up and toasted till it was nice and crisp. A bite in and my nostrils were filled with the rich aromas of butter and tastebuds were singing happy days.

 Major Burger

D-man was starving and ordered the biggest burger on the menu - the Major Burger. Though jam packed with  a 100% beef patty, egg, bacon,  lettuce, tomato, Kraft single cheese, onion, pickles, Tuck Shop sauce into a towering burger - he found the burger as a whole did not pack enough punch. It was good, but nothing amazing.

Hand Cut Chips

A generous basket of hand cut chips were ordered as a side to share. Now, D-man doesn't like chips, he loves them. Unfortunately, he only thought these were okay. A little oilier and soggier than what he would prefer. 

Though little in size, Tuck Shop was extremely busy, with locals popping in and out for both quick bites and slurps or for on-the-gos. Under the pump, staff were fast, friendly and efficient. Completed with the Prinicpal's office in the naughty corner, pencil tumbler cups, and hand written menus, Tuck Shop was nostalgia everywhere I looked. For those jaffles alone, I would hop, skip and jump to Tuck Shop Takeaway any day of the week.

Tuck Shop Takeaway
273 Hawthorn Road 
Caulfield North

Tuck Shop Take Away on Urbanspoon