Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Grounds of Alexandria

The Grounds have been around for ages and it has taken me a few years to pay them a visit! Why....... well, anyways, I managed to find my way there early one morning before one of my flights. 

Located in what used to be a pie factory, the cafe blends the old with the new, preserving most of the building.

Even from the car park, I could smell the coffee as I inhaled. And ah, you know they are serious about coffee when the C in OCD stands for Coffee instead of Compulsive...

When at a place with a barista who was once the youngest world champion, you must try their coffee. I went for a mocha (small $3.50, large $4.00), as it was a tad too early for me to try a long black. Very fragrant, I have to say. Really enjoyed this cuppa.

XW and I shared The Grounds Breakfast Board ($19.00), which consisted of double smoked ham, avocado, fresh heirloom tomatoes, Persian feta, two poached eggs, house-made pesto and toasted sourdough. Nothing too fancy and was pretty normal, we thought. It wasn't bad, just normal.

As we queued to pay the bill, I was intrigued by the many types of bread they baked...

You could test the bread first before purchasing, too.

Ah, and it was a feast for my eyes as I went on a photo-snapping frenzy of these colourful delectables...

For a moment, I thought I was in pastry heaven. And in that moment, I was so tempted to buy a piece of each to take on the plane.

The Grounds of Alexandria on Urbanspoon

Building 7A, 2 Huntley Street, Alexandria, NSW 2015, Australia
Tel: +61 2 9699 2225, Fax: +61 2 8076  3225
Weekdays 7:00am to 4:00pm, Weekends 7:30am to 4:00pm

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Menya Noodle Bar, CBD

I love how Sydney has a wide variety of food in its most authentic form. At Menya, their soups are made from scratch over many hours from fresh chicken and pork. The soups we could choose from include miso, shoyu (soy sauce), shio (seafood and chicken combination), and tonkotsu (pork bones).

Steph was game for something really spicy and since it was her first time here, she gave their dynamite hot Karami Tonkotsu Ramen ($11.90) a go. Verdict: it was really spicy judging from how much water she needed to take.

In addition to noodles, they also serve rice. One of my favourites is the Spicy Karaage Don ($9.90), a hearty bowlful of spicy deep fried chicken, onion, carrot, fresh chilli, shallot and sesame seed on rice. The last mouthful always leaves an 'ah, that was nice' feeling.

Friendly service, cosy environment and to guarantee a spot, be there early. And for such generous portions, no complaints about pricing.

Menya Noodle Bar on Urbanspoon

Menya Noodle Bar, CBD
Shop 2, 1 Market Street, Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia
Tel: +61 2 9267 4649
Monday to Saturday 12:00pm to 3:00pm, 6:00pm to 10:00pm
Fully licensed

Saturday, January 17, 2015

3 Mama Chef's

If not for XW's recommendation, I would not have thought of bringing Pris to this place, as I have never dined here before. And frankly, I am a little ticked off by the random apostrophe in its name. Why is there an apostrophe? Anyways...

XW highly recommended the Spicy Combination Pork Entrails Soup ($13.90) and although I really enjoyed it, I found it very spicy.

The Pineapple Fried Rice with Chicken ($9.00) was tasty on its own.

The Stir-fried Chinese Broccoli with Crispy Pork ($12.90) was nothing to shout decent. Would have been better to cut down on the salt (or MSG).

The dish I enjoyed most was the Century Egg with Pork Mince Chilli Basil ($13.90).

The balance of different flavours combined with century egg, oh so yummy! Maybe I have not had century egg for too long.

Their late opening hours would augur well with the backpackers in the area - that part of Pitt Street is backpackers' central. Short stroll from Central Station, too.

3 Mama Chef's on Urbanspoon

3 Mama Chef's
410 Pitt Street, Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia
Tel: +61 2 9212 3933
Daily 11:00am to midnight

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Snag Stand Macquarie Shopping Centre

The gradual revamping of Macquarie Shopping Centre has seen more eateries being opened. One of those places is a fancier version of the American hotdog stand - Snag Stand, a haute dog stand. Or at least, that was my impression of it.

Apparently, the meat they use is gluten-free with no artificial flavours nor colours and is supplied by some of Australia's best artisan butchers, such as Rodriguez Bros, AC Butchery and Blackforest Smokehouse.

Obviously, they serve hot dogs. Of multiple nationalities, really. Spanish, American, German, Aussie. Take your pick.

I tried a Chick Next Door ($9.90), a burger of grilled chicken breast with fresh avocado, cos lettuce, tomato, Spanish onion, and fresh aioli. I could have added bacon for an extra dollar but decided not to this time.

I really enjoyed it, surprisingly, which means there would be a second visit to try other burgers. And then there was the Chilling ($8.90).

Was not as spicy as I was hoping for it to be but this all natural Frankfurter with chilli beef sauce, onions, cheddar cheese and roasted chilli peppers on a toasted brioche roll was not too bad.

I was really looking forward to tasting the chilli cheese fries ($7.90), a bowlful of chilli beef sauce served on chips, topped with cheese, chipotle aioli and paprika. Just looking at it was making me salivate and perhaps, I should have consumed it right away because by the time we finished our dog and burger, the chips were soggy from all the oil absorbed from the bottom of the bowl. 

Next round would see me try their onion rings and milkshakes.

Snag Stand on Urbanspoon

Snag Stand Macquarie Shopping Centre
Level 4, Corner Herring and Waterloo Road, North Ryde, NSW 2112, Australia
Tel: +61 2 9887 2837

Sunday, January 04, 2015

The Great Lion Kun Seng Keng

I finally bought a copy of this movie! Yippee!!!

Everyone knows I am a sucker for locally produced movies and this was no exception. I was in Sydney when I saw the trailer being shared on my Facebook news feed and from then on, I was crossing my fingers that I would still be able to purchase it when I get back to KL or someone would be kind enough to buy a copy and post it over. But fate had it that I would buy one myself, muahahahaha!

The Great Lion Kun Seng Keng (大舞狮关圣宫) is well, about the famous dragon and lion dance association, Kun Seng Keng from Muar, Johor. Formed in 1988, they are not only national champions but also 56-time world champions. A quick Google search and details about their association and movie reviews are aplenty, so I am going to only share the parts I really enjoyed in the movie.

Firstly, the people involved. I thought it was commendable effort by Director Matt Lai (赖健雄), despite a so-so script. Although at first I found casting Taiwanese Alan Ko (柯有伦) as one of the lead actors, I thought he pulled it off quite well, Malaysian accent and all (perhaps studying in Singapore has helped with that).

I also thought that teaming younger actors with veteran ones was really smart, as both the younger and older generations would be able to relate to members of the cast. For example, the younger generation (as in high school, college, young working adults) would be able to recognise Alan, Thomas Kok (郭晓东, one half of local Mando-pop duo, TJ 东于哲), Henley Hii (许亮宇, champion of Season 2, Project Superstar Malaysia), Jo (周周, newcomer in the entertainment industry, originally a songwriter) and Jenny's cousin, William Yap (叶子诚, child artiste and lead actor of another locally produced movie, Gemeilia).

The older generation, meaning our parents' (and maybe grandparents') generation would find the faces of Hong Kong-based actor, Chan Koon Tai (陈观泰) and Angela Chan (陈美娥, one of the star actresses in the now non-existent HVD) familiar. The names Michael Chin (陈逸豪) and Katrina Ho (何簣町) are new to me but after a quick search, they seem to have a local following, too.

Secondly, the acting and cinematography. I would like to specially mention how I was impressed by William's acting. I thought he delivered his role very well, with the non-exagerated outpouring of emotions. My favourite scene would be the scene he and his partner kowtowed thrice at his brother's funeral with the lion dance gear on. I definitely felt the anger, frustration, disappointment and 'I will succeed and make you proud of me' feelings - surprisingly, I had tears welled up in my eyes and had to quietly wipe them away in case my father noticed.

Another scene I really liked was the challenge in the rain. Although the music selection for this scene was a little erm, unsuitable, the way this scene was shot was breathtaking with the combination of colour usage, the rain and slow-mo action. When I watched videos of the making of the scene, I did not expect it to be UPM (again). UPM must earn heaps from local entertainment companies for the usage of their field and that one-tree-hill of theirs. That tree and the white fence are dead giveaways now when watching a music video, commercial or movie - oh, hey, that's UPM! Haha...

Since CNY is around the corner, I probably would watch it again with family. The younger nephews and nieces should watch it, as it does not just announce to the world how we have a world-class lion dance association but the spirit and pride involved in upholding our culture and tradition.