Sydney

TUTORIALS ARE OVER FOR THE WEEK. YES (but omg 3 next week the thought of it is just exhausting…). So I’m back to continue where I left off from Melbourne.

We went to Sydney for four days (but really had only a grand total of three days) and I kind of wish we spent more time there? Would have loved to visit Manly… and Bondi (er. Kind of forgot to go to Bondi because I was eating……. I know nobody is surprised by this.). And supposedly the Blue Mountains are gorgeous! AND I DIDN’T GET TO EAT MY WATERMELON CAKE 😦 Elaine’s food recommendations were completely spot on (thank you Elaine!!); if only I had the time and tummy space to conquer Sydney. Honestly though, while I preferred Melbourne as a city to Sydney, I think the culinary highs from the trip came from Sydney.

SYDNEY MUST-EATS:

1) Breakfast with the Sakuma’s, Devon Cafe

5452Miso grilled king salmon, 63 degree egg, smoked eel croquette, petit radish salad, kewpie mayo and a sprinkle of furikake – this is probably the most well thought out and put together dish I’ve had this year. It goes down in history as one of the most memorable dishes I’ve had & I want to fly back to Sydney just to have this. Asian fusion to me has always seemed a bit dodgy but I think this dish really took what I loved from Japanese cuisine and one of my favourite meals of the day and made it work – it is truly light on the palate but enough to wake your senses up with the umami bombs. AMA-FRKN-ZING. Whoever thought of adding furikake deserves a huge huge prize.

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I also think Devon’s rendition of Eggs Royale was spectacular!!! Instead of English muffin/bagel/rye/insert bread here, Devon uses blinis for its Eggs Blini. It didn’t look huge, but the portion was just right. The best part? The Eggs Royale was topped with ikura (salmon roe). So incredibly special. (PLUS THEY USE BROCCOLINI. I LOVE BROCCOLINI.)

I didn’t particularly enjoy my Little Lost Bread – pb&j brioche french toast, grilled banana, nutella, jam and pb icecream! I wish the banana taste were stronger because I felt like it was like separate components being slapped onto a plate, even though I have to say, the pb&j went well like… pb&j. It was like pb&j had a party and the grilled banana crashed it. Man!!! (Also, it was too sweet.)

I think Devon’s menu had other interesting things that I would have loved to try – the Korean Fried Chicken burger with gochujang & kimchi slaw sounded amazing on paper as well; except by then I had burger fatigue so, it was a no go. Their takeaway chicken salad also looked pretty yummy on display! Devon is a must go if you’re in Sydney.

2) Bourke Street Bakery

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The problem with Bourke Street Bakery is that everything looks too yummy. Um, limited stomach space here? I thought I had my eye on the chocolate tart in front of the store (and I’m not even that big a chocolate fan!!!) but once I entered and saw lemon curd and ginger creme brulee.. sorry chocolate. The lemon curd tart was my favourite, and edges ginger creme brulee out by 0.1 – purely because it is very very difficult to find lemon curd that is tart enough. I feel like lemon curd is one of those things where everyone has a different standard on – some like it sweet and others like it tart. This lemon tart is second only to Jacques Genin’s lemon tart!! And at A$5, it is such a bargain!! BUY MORE. The ginger creme brulee, however wins points for originality – cos I mean, a creme brulee tart????? LIKE WAAAOOOOOW RIGHT. I’ve never had one, and who would’ve though it would work?! Biting into a burnt sugar top is truly one of the littlest (??? little? small?) joys in life. I wish I brought back a dozen of each.

3) The Grounds of Alexandria

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The Grounds is a really genius idea. Take a huge lot in an industrial area and transform it into a grounds of sorts – a cafe on one end, and a miniature farm, a flower shop (SUPER GORGEOUS) and plenty of space for people to sit around and order take out from push carts. It really sounds like a kind of place I’d want to spend my weekends at, minus the screaming kids; but yes, it is a great place for a family to spend time together on weekends. We waited an hour for a table at the cafe – and while waiting, we…. started eating. Had a grilled corn on the cob and a green juice of kale, apple and mint to start off with! I wanted to take a picture with Kevin Bacon (the resident pig) EXCEPT I felt like the poor pig was already having its privacy invaded by the hordes of humans ): Poor pig.

I suppose the highlight of the Grounds would be its dessert table??????? The problem as always is just choosing ONE. I was torn between the passionfruit cheesecake (how unique really, PASSIONFRUIT!!!!) and the pear tart but was recommended it so I went for the pear. I mean, it was a good pear tart, but it didn’t make me go ‘!!!!!’. I had forest mushroom salad that came with a gooey egg encased in a panko batter. HOLY GUACAMOLE, THIS IS EGGYOLK PORN AT ITS FINEST!!!!!!!!! And it really did taste as good as it looked. As silly as it sounds, the house chips at the Grounds was really great – NO SOGGY FRIES AT ALL (I cannot stand soggy fries) and a beautiful chilli aioli that had a great garlic punch without being overwhelming. Since my description and vocabulary is limited: the grounds is simply Pinterest in REAL LIFE.

Honourable Mention: The Paramount Coffee Project.

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This was the first place we ate at when we touched down in Sydney. It is a gorgeous open space, with ceiling to floor windows (ALWAYS AWESOME!) and beside it is a proper mini cinema! The cafe is in front and at the back, all decked out in industrial grunge is a bicycle (and handmade goods??) store. Yep. This takes hpstr to a whole new level, except the food is anything but pretentious.

We had the crab po’boy and a cola braised pork with waffle. I preferred this to Hammer & Tong’s personally but Nick felt that there was no difference cos they were both AWESOME. This is a lot messier because there’re more sauces but I love it when a burger is messy because that is how it’s supposed to be! Don’t bother paying extra for the onion rings. The waffle meanwhile… was an acquired taste for me. It was creative and unique, but while I didn’t agree with the taste, Nick loved it. I do believe that this flavour combination is worth a try though!!

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I think I’ve been spoilt by the brunch options available in Melbourne and Sydney that brunch in Singapore will never (ok maybe not a long while) live up to anything I’ve had. I suppose with brunch being very ‘in’ and fashionable, the challenge is coming up with an excitable brunch menu. Nearly every place we went to in Melbourne and Sydney had their own flair. Though they may be serving an eggs benedict/royale/florentine, most cafes/places always have their own interpretations of these brunch classics. That really differentiates each place and gives them their individuality. & I think this is what keeps people coming back! The fact that menus change according to what is in season is also something I really respect.

I feel like I wasn’t in Sydney long enough to actually see half of it. Totally regret not going to Bondi/Manly – I mean which losers go to Sydney and then don’t visit one of the most popular attractions?!?? BUT AT LEAST WE MADE IT TO THE OPERA HOUSE AND HARBOUR BRIDGE. The greatest thing I’m taking away from my trip to Australia is probably just the niceness of Australians. PEOPLE ARE JUST SO FRKN NICE. We met the nicest airbnb hosts (Martina & Gavin!) and people on the streets were friendly and always keen to help with directions (I can’t read maps..). I really can’t wait to go back.

Till next time, super travellers!

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Melbourne

Alright, it’s been more than a year, and what a difference a year makes. So what inspired this – basically ET asked me to update and today Trish asked me about Melbourne AND about Tummytay in lecture and during lunch. So why not? And also, I feel like I may never have such satisfying meals for a while since almost every meal was an epic meal in Melbourne and Sydney.

Plus it helps that I have to watch a video in preparation for mediation tomorrow. Obviously I should write a hugeass long post about food instead of preparing for it.. #priorities.

Without further ado, I present:

MUST EATS IN MELBOURNE

1) Coconut-Pandan gelato at Spring Street Grocer
And I thought I tasted the mother of all gelatos in Italy. I was wrong. Completely and utterly wrong. This was *magical*, the pandan and coconut were like pb & jam, yknow? THEY GO SO WELL TOGETHER. Like Britney and Justin. (They are still my OTP. Do not judge.) It was incredibly smooth, with NO ICE CRYSTALS AT ALL – don’t you hate icecream that is icy? AND IT IS SO HARD TO ACHIEVE THAT FEAT. Gelatos for the win. Who needs iceream or any other gelato flavour anyway? This gelato spoilt the market for the other gelatos I had in Melbourne, and none of the others I tried even came close to this. Not even the famous Messina.

2) Fried Brioche at The Hardware Societe

I think I loved this mainly because it was an infusion of all the flavours I enjoyed – rosewater/earl grey panna cotta/fresh raspberries – that reminded me of Pierre Herme’s famous ispahan. Prior to visiting Melbourne I had heard so much about THS (OMG SAME INITIALS AS ME?????) and I was not disappointed at all. The portions are huge, and because the flavours are quite complex, and the brioche is fried, it does get a bit heavy. But no problemo, it just means that you have to eat two dishes so as to alternate between that and the fried brioche. Which brings me to….

BAKED EGGS DEUX at THS.
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This was beautiful. I love baked eggs but I find sometimes the problem with brunch food/eggs is that I can easily replicate it at home. NOT THIS I CAN’T. three baked eggs sitting pretty in a pot full of warm tomato stew, silvered almonds and hidden spinach at the bottom. This really warmed us up on a blustery winter morning.

3) Grilled lemongrass banh mi at Ba’get

One thing I really missed about western nations: their sandwiches. Alright, banh mi is asian… but wowowow. Perhaps it was because Nick and I were RAVENOUS after trekking half of the CBD to get here (so much for me saying “it’s really nearby”. No one should ever trust my direction sense. More to come later). The baguettes were crisp and provided a REALLY satisfying crunch when we bit into em. I also enjoy pickled vegetables so this sandwich really ticked the right boxes for me. The best part: $6.95 for each banh mi. SAY WHAT???? It also stays fresh for a long time because I brought half a banh mi onto the plane home. It was still as great 6 hours later. Dammit sometimes I wish Willy Wonka’s TV were real then I’d be able to reach through my screen and grab whatever food I want and EAT IT.

4) Soft shell crab burger at Hammer & Tong 412
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Hammer & Tong’s logo is reminiscent of the CCCP for some reason (Communist Party), and that’s another reason why I like it. The soft shell crab burger has been talked about so much by the online food community (thank you urbanspoon.) that I think one of the stupidiest decisions I made in Melbourne was to share the burger with Nick. It should not be shared. Period. CRISP SOFT SHELL CRAB, PILLOWY BRIOCHE, and forgettable greens. It was also very light!!! Deepfrying a soft shell crab is not that easy ok??? Alright, maybe the Bill Murray at Lucky Chip has a greater wow factor (hellooooo wasabi mayo + secret sauce, how not to win!?) BUT THIS WAS A GREAT BURGER ON ITS OWN MERIT. Tummytay approves.

5) Original beef burger with the works at Andrew’s Hamburgers

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RLY ANNOYED BECAUSE I WAS SO FULL SO I COULDN’T FINISH MY HALF. Any burger with bacon and egg is also a winner in my books. And honestly? Andrew’s is better than The Royale Brothers whom we made the trek out to Middle Brighton to search out. Don’t know how to describe just how awesome (see, running out of adjectives) this burger is, so please just look above for the gorgeous cross section. Dammit why aren’t burgers this accessible in Singapore? WHY? (Answer: we don’t grow our own cows, that’s why.)

6) Spaghetti Scoglio & Lobster tail tagliatelle at Villa Romana Trattoria
2767No trip to Melbourne is complete without a trip to Lygon Street, even though food has been said to be a hit and miss, cos yknow as places become touristy, food standards just plummet ): But!!! THIS! WAS! SO! WOW! Alright, so the Scoglio was a bit dry for my liking and I felt there should have been a bit more white wine – yes yes I know the irony of this statement considering how alcohol and I are not friends – so as to create a nice vongole type sauce. But hey, I’m not the italian so.. ohwel. Other than it being a bitttt too dry (not ‘moist’ enough. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA) it was A GREAT HEARTY DISH OF CARBS AND SEAFOOD IN A HUGE PAN. I would highly recommend this dish; it is pasta done simply and done well. The lobster tail tagliatelle was also for two, but there was a creamy sauce instead, just right to coat the pasta without it being too cloying. We loved it. Maybe a bit more than the Scoglio… but just a tiny bit.

7) HONOURABLE MENTION: Vegie Bar (no pictures though. OOPS.)
Vegie Bar is the kind of place I think Adele and I would frequent if we lived in Melbourne. It is completely vegetarian but in Singapore there tends to be this stereotype that vegetarian food = tasteless rabbit food and that there is a sense of being ripped off paying the same price for a dish that has no meat. I regret not taking pictures of the wonderful place but its menu is quirky and innovative, and EVERYTHING SOUNDED YUMMY – baked mushroom with quinoa!! vermicelli and soba salads, omg. The serving plates were also bigger than my face. Though the interior was dark, and lighting was a bit sleep inducing, I enjoyed the bar concept of it (neon lights! YAY!) and how they have managed to make vegetarian food cool.

8) ONE OF A KIND LOCATION: MART 130


So there was this day we were supposed to meet Ray at this lovely brunch spot in the middle of nowhere (HPSTR ALERT!), called Mart 130. Mart because it’s tram spelled backwards and it is literally right at the tram stop. Like when we stepped off the tram, crossed the tram tracks – I LOVE CROSSING TRAM TRACKS. “You are waiting for a train…” (DOES ANYONE GET THIS REFERENCE) – and there it stands, on the other side of the platform. Alright, silly me didn’t think to capture a picture of it on a digital medium – I have it in film. I think everyone should pay this a visit, I have never seen anything like it before. Just don’t make the same mistake as me and take the tram in the wrong direction (THE TRAM IS NOT TOWARDS EAST BRUNSWICK.) only to realise that we’ve gone in the wrong direction at the tram’s second last stop. #winner

9) COFFEE!

3730Another thing I really enjoyed about Melbourne was the availability of great coffee. I love how serious the coffee culture is and as much as I try to pretend I’m into the whole thing, I only describe coffee as whether it is ‘gao’ enough. The best part is waking up at 10ish everyday and making a pilgrimage to a new coffee spot while Nick sleeps in (what a pig.). I enjoy the peace and quiet that comes with sitting at a coffee joint alone with my coffee and kindle. It is quite a thing to be in a city but yet be able to stay grounded and not lose yourself in it. I love it. My favourite coffee spot was a little bird told me… possibly because it was the nearest to us (ha!!) but also of it’s non-cramped space and open interiors. Brother Baba Budan‘s interior decor was incredibly quirky – a ceiling full of chairs!! but it was a bit dark for and cramped for my liking. Maybe now Singaporean hipsters will be inspired to adorn their cafes with chairs instead of just BICYCLES. Bicycles are so 2012.

Next up: Sydney!!!

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BREAKFASTS IN LONDON

Hello friends!! I know, I have been LAZY in updating but because Kenneth reminded me that I have a legacy of tummytay to upkeep/maintain/omg idk how do I describe continuing a legacy? I am BACK. It’s one of those days that I’m not swamped with work (yay!) and so more pictures too. This entry is all about L-O-N-D-O-N because I’ve visited London about 4 times this year and have had really good food thr, albeit expensive because well, it’s London. Without further ado..


The Elvis milkshake (the creme one) was outstanding, with a strong peanut butter taste coming through. I LOVE. The breakfast shake was so-so, with strawberry, bananas and oats.


Eggs Royale: Didn’t like the hollandaise sauce which was very thick.


This was the American breakfast I think. The pancakes were lousy and a disappointment. They were chewy and tough to cut. The sausage was burnt and tough, which made it really quite hard to eat. The golden syrup wasn’t enough for me and when I requested more they charged me extra for more syrup >( However, being really famished and upset from the 6-1 loss, I guess food was still… food. Can’t complain much.

I think The Breakfast Club has quite a cool concept (Wild Honey anyone?) but the food is really kind of overrated, and for the amount that I’m going to pay I can eat better elsewhere.

There was a better cafe that I went to, however…


Lantana toasted banana bread with whipped blueberry butter


Poached or scrambled eggs on white sourdough toast – I’m sorry for this picture, my lenses were dirty and it was quite difficult making a mountain of eggs look good due to my lack of photography skills

This was a quaint little cafe around Goodge area that Peter brought me to; it was AMAZING. It felt like a place where I could sit around with my cuppa (they do a mean latte by the way) and read my day away.. your typical Australian cafe, really. People were friendly, food was good, especially the banana bread with blueberry butter, OMG that one was something different – never knew how banana + blueberry could actually complement each other until now!!!!! Writing about this is making me very hungry at 12am… I want some warm banana bread now 😦
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The Breakfast Club
33 D’Arblay Street
London W1F 8EU

Lantana
13 Charlotte Place
London W1T 1SN