Sunday, December 28, 2014

Piccolo Me @ Australian Hearing Hub

When the new Australian Hearing Hub building opened, we were wondering if it would also house some new places for food. And to hide from supervisors. Before I could find out, I went on my summer holiday. And when I returned, Kel asked, "Hey SJ, have you been to Piccolo Me? That's where we go for our coffee now."

Ah, so, the famous Piccolo Me from the city has opened a branch in the north. And how lucky am I to have them in my own backyard, literally a 5 minute stroll from the office - not sure if it is a good or bad thing, really.

I have tried some of the pastry, sweet and savoury ones:

Needless to say, every visit there is to have some form of coffee or chai (for me on most days):

And to have this, the Nutellagato:

Exclusively served at Piccolo Me (like duh, they created it) the Nutellagato is basically Nutella and vanilla ice-cream, double ristretto (in a syringe!) with chocolate flakes and crushed hazelnuts. Now this is a shot I do not mind taking any time!

Piccolo Me on Urbanspoon

Piccolo Me @ Australian Hearing Hub
16 University Avenue, Macquarie University, NSW 2109, Australia
Tel: +61 2 9889 2964

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Devon by day

I do not think that I am exaggerating if I say that this cafe has been blogged and featured to death in the past year. Therefore, I think I will be forgiven if this blog post has less words than my usual posts.

When I visit a cafe for the first time, I normally order their soy chai. Devon's organic soy chai ($4.00) came served in an adorable (and heavy) teapot.  

Their coffees are also priced around the $4.00 mark.

Now, the affinity felt with Devon is largely due to their very Malaysian menu. Does help that their head chef is a Penangite and that one-half of the owners is also Malaysian.

Other than nasi lemak and roti canai, no Malaysian childhood morning is complete without a brekkie of half-boiled eggs and kaya toast. And so, when I saw the words Kaya Toast ($12.50) flashed across the menu, I had to order it to relive my childhood. Coconut jam and butter spread on crunchy warm pieces of brioche toast with two 63' eggs swimming in light soy... ahh... heaven...

I fell in love with The Little Lost Bread ($16.00), which essentially is a dessert-like French toast. In fact, it is PB&J brioche French toast served with warm banana, Nutella, jam and peanut butter ice-cream. So sinful, so unhealthy but oh so yummy!

Another dish I made sure to try was the KJI fried chicken burger ($19.00). No regrets as the chicken was super crunchy and tasty, especially combined with go juchang, peanut sauce and kimchi slaw.

The burger is also served with a side of chips and aioli.

Breakfast with the Sakumas ($24.50) is a rather filling plateful of a piece of miso grilled king salmon,  a smoked eel croquette, a perfectly done 63' egg, a fistful of radish petit salad and a dollop of Kewpie mayo (anything with Kewpie is delicious, if you ask me!). Luckily we shared this dish, as I found it rather heavy for brekkie.

Their Devonshire Street branch is now exclusively only for day operations. For night operations, they have a new place on Danks Street. Oh, and of course, with a upgraded menu. ;)

Devon Cafe on Urbanspoon

Devon Cafe
76 Devonshire Street, Surry Hills, NSW 2043, Australia.
Tel: +61 2 9211 8777; E-mail:

Friday, October 24, 2014

My evening with James Morris-Cotteril aka James Yang 杨永聪

I can imagine many of your eyebrows are raised just having read the title of this post. Well, let me introduce you to this good-looking chap with a mesmerising smoky voice called James.

How did I get to know about James? Well, it was through last season's One Million Star (华人星光大道) where in one of the PK rounds, he was the challenger. He had Matilda Tao (陶晶莹) all over him because of his good looks!

My friends and I felt slightly out of place because his fan club members more or less conquered the entire place. Thankfully, I made a reservation beforehand. Thank you, Wings Musicafe Sri Petaling for accommodating us and for entertaining my fickle-mindedness (more like my friends could not tell me all at once - they had to tell me separately, argh!).

The stage was all set when we arrived. And I love the fact that he was punctual.

We all had the same reaction when he walked in: Why is he so thin? And gosh, he's tall!

I was wondering why the lights were not dimmer, as I was making comparisons with the pubs and all in Sydney. But then, I was quite glad that it was brightly lit, as it made photo-taking a less frustrating affair.

Of course the dude had to have some banter with his audience, no? At one point, he was even offered fried sweet potato wedges by the emcee!

I was really impressed with how composed he was in replying in Mandarin questions thrown at him. Although he has Chinese blood flowing in him (his mother is a Hong Konger), he only picked up the Chinese language when he made the decision to join the Taiwanese pop music industry two years ago. Not easy for someone who spent his formative years in extremely Mat Salleh UK.

In addition to his smoky voice, I liked that he plays the guitar, too. So simple, rustic, no-over-the-top-fancy-schmancy stuff. Okay, fine, I admit that I like any person who could play a musical instrument and sing at the same time but hey, he is good-looking, has a mesmerising voice and an attractive sense of humour to boot! Oh, not forgetting a very friendly father who is based in KL as an expert in money laundering. Er, no, he does not launder money but he  knows the... er, just buy his book...

It is such a different feeling hearing him sing live compared to a recording of his singing. How should I describe it? Hm, his voice is quite emotional and alive. I was totally drawn in (sucked in more like).

James, all the best in all you do - am sure that your creative juices will flow... no, pour for many years to come! So happy to have watched you sing live.

And my friends, in case you are still wondering why I bothered to watch his little showcase (when normally I could not care less), this is why:

He is the first, let me repeat, first artiste to have replied my message. And that was the first reply of a few. Who would not support such a down-to-earth person?

But then again, we all have our own preferences in singers so I am not going to tell you to just take my word. Why not just listen to him sing and decide for yourself?

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Chef Rasa Sayang Malaysian Restaurant

On a weekend some months ago after my Fit Club session in Gordon, I took a train to Chatswood because I wanted to purchase some things from a shop inside Chatswood Chase. Along the way, I noticed one of the Chinese takeaway restaurants undergoing renovations. Its originally red signage was replaced with one that is bright green. One word that caught my attention: Malaysian.

And that marked the beginning of many visits for pork noodle and pan mee. They should start a loyalty program of some sort - some of us frequent them every other day (especially that Chatswoodian weekend flatmate of ours).

Popiah ($8.80)
So happy that there is no longer the need for us to travel all the way to either Campsie of Kingsford for awesome filled-with-lots-of-potato-and-half-a-half-boiled-egg curry puff ($3.00)!

We could help ourselves to as much chilli as we want...

Flatmates were delirious when they found out that they had pan mee ($13.90) on their menu. Even more so when it came with the "right" chilli sauce ;)

I, on the other hand, could not contain myself when I saw that they included pork noodle ($11.90) in their menu. I finished 80% of the soup - amazing for someone who normally leaves the most soup in the bowl. The only weird thing was that I could not have it in only vermicelli. They only serve it in either vermicelli and flat rice noodle or vermicelli and yellow noodle.

We were divided in what we thought of the fish head noodle ($11.90) but still a satisfying bowl of noodles.

Chinese tea is bottomless and from what we have observed, they seem to also do catering. Oh, and there are different varieties of Nyonya kuih at the counter each day.

Chef Rasa Sayang on Urbanspoon

Chef Rasa Sayang Malaysian Restaurant
375 Victoria Avenue, Chatswood, NSW 2067, Australia.
Tel: +61 2 8068 4402
Open daily for lunch and dinner

Thursday, August 28, 2014

My Sweet Memory

Jenny: Eh, since you like green tea latte right, you should try MSM.
Me: Where ah?
Jenny: MSM la. Got one down the road from my house and got another one near Town Hall.

And my infatuation with MSM's green tea latte ($4.70) began (not a very flattering shot of it below)...

When a friend from KL visited, we had dessert at their Strathfield branch. We shared a slice of red velvet ($6.95). We felt that perhaps it had been in the fridge for a tad too long, as it wasn't as moist as we would have liked it to be.

My Sweet Memory on Urbanspoon

3 & 4 Symond Arcade, 12 Churchill Avenue, Strathfield, NSW 2135, Australia.
Tel: +61 2 9267 2003
Daily 6:30am to midnight

The nearest branch to where we are is located in Chatswood. Proves to be a popular place to hangout, as almost each time we were there, we had to wait for a table.

And like the other branches, I like their interior decor...

They have a wide selection of colourful cakes on display...

Didn't help that the last time we were there, we were seated right next to the display above. After a while, we all felt that we had to have some of these sweetening (and fattening) goodness. We really enjoyed the richness of the triple chocolate mud cake ($6.95):

After we demolished that slice, we felt that we needed more. We added a slice of Oreo cheesecake to our order and yum, the crunchy bits of Oreo biscuit provided a contrast to the melt-in-your-mouth texture of the cheesecake:

D and S ordered a smoothie each. Both very refreshing.

My Sweet Memory on Urbanspoon

My Sweet Memory Dessert Cafe & Stationery
Shop 4, 370 Victoria Road, Chatswood, NSW 2067, Australia.
Tel: +61 2 8756 5015
Daily 6:30am to midnight

At their Town Hall branch, we also saw that they sell Beerenberg jams, mustard chutneys and relishes. The names of each flavour caught my attention; The Apricot Jam that Sally always makes time for, The mildly spiced Bavarian Mustard the Robert turned into a habit, Blueberry Jam - the first thing that Aunty Natasha puts on the breakfast table, The Caramelised Onion that Dean hates to share, The Original Strawberry Jam from Grandma's Pan, Whenever Roger travels, so does his Sweet Chilli Relish...

So far, I have enjoyed all my visits to their branches. I have not bought anything off their shelves. Yet.

My Sweet Memory on Urbanspoon

My Sweet Memory Dessert Cafe & Stationery
95 Bathurst Street, Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia.
Tel: +61 2 8971 7465
Daily 7:00am to midnight

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Reuben Hills

Am going to try something different with this post. Am going to use just one-liners for each photo. Hah, tough for a long-winded person like moi. Here goes...

Easy to spot the cafe with its simple, no fuss signage and wooden outdoor furniture for patrons who prefer the sun and fresh air (don't know how fresh it would be with passing vehicles)...

The unassuming exterior contrasts the former printing factory turned purpose-designed coffee shrine interior...

Other than the intoxicating aroma of coffee, the catchy (and explicit) names on the menu caught my attention...

Haha, pretty sure they don't use Nescafe here...

Enjoyed my mocha ($4.00) heaps...

The Dirty Bird ($17.50) is a pretty big mouthful of spicy grilled chicken, tomatillo salsa, cheese, pickles and chipotali aioli on brioche...

The NOT Reuben ($18.00) is a wagyu salt brisket, pickled slaw, manchego and horse cream radish on rye...

And my favourite, soft baked eggs with jam on, spinach, ranchero and rye ($18.00)...

Central and Southern American influenced, obviously and one other drink on their menu which is a must-have according to both flatmates: salted caramel milkshake ($8.50). My next visit will see me trying the Really fucking great fried chicken, just to find out how fucking great it is :)

Reuben Hills on Urbanspoon

Reuben Hills
61 Albion Street, Surry Hills, NSW 2010, Australia.
Tel: +61 2 9211 5556
Sunday 7:30am to 4:00pm
Monday to Saturday 7:00am to 4:00pm