Cafe Melba (Ellerslie)

Cafe Melba in Ellersie is one of those “Entertainment Book” places to go. Without the book, I wouldn’t even know if the place existed. It also helps that I get some form of discount. Samples below:

Salmon Benedict – $18.70.

Steak Sandwich – $19.00.

First impression, place is good. Parking is easy to find as Ellerslie is not so busy, food taste great, staff friendly and toilet is clean. Personally, I can’t complain about this place, and worth a try if you have the Entertainment book voucher since price-wise, it is kinda on the high side ūüôā

Rating = 8.5/10.

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Ginelli’s

Every once in a while in Mission Bay, a competitor emerges to try and dethrone Movenpick. I’ve seen a couple of ice cream places that seem to have potential, but I come back months later and somehow they disappear. Well it’s too bad. I hardly go to Ginelli’s mainly because I haven’t gone to Mission Bay in a while, and actually not sure how long it’s been there.

Latte Macchiato Gelato – 1 scoop ($5).

I decided to try it once, and first impression, the interior is not bad. The business looks like it’s family-owned and operated. This particular gelato I tried tasted more like ice-cream. For $5, the 1-scoop is kinda small by my standard. Overall, I can’t really say it’s good or bad, since I haven’t tried the other gelatos and they appear to win awards. However, if I compare Ginelli’s to Giapo, I don’t think this place has a chance at all. They would need to do a bit of work.

Vivace Espresso (Christchurch CBD)

This is quite a random one. So here goes.

I was at Christchurch about a month ago and wanted to find good breakfast in the CBD on a Sunday morning. It was extremely difficult and the only place that looked damn good was¬† Drexel’s Breakfast Restaurant, and they were overcrowded and only took bookings!! Anyway, suprisingly, 2nd choice wasn’t too bad. Vivace is located on the same street as Drexel’s, Hereford St. The meals ordered were:

Vivace Espresso - Big Breakfast

Big Breakfast.

Vivace Espresso - Pancake

Pancakes with blueberry and banana.

Vivace Espresso - Latte Bowl

Latte Bowl.

The Big Breakfast costs $17.50, and pancakes costs $15. Both meals were fantastic but took a while for them to prepare.  The latte was good too.

Highly recommended but needs work on the timing for serving their meals. My rating 8/10.

Angie’s Kitchen

I got recommended to this place and heard lots of good things about it. Angie’s Kitchen is located very near to AUT in the CBD. Parking is quite a pain to find, but on the weekend it’s alright. The place is also a halal restaurant which is pretty good.

Samples below:

Angie's kitchen - Kapitan Curry Chicken on Rice - Copy

Kapitan Curry Chicken on Rice.

Angie's Kitchen - Braised Beef Noodle Soup - Copy

Braised Beef Noodle Soup.

Angie's Kitchen - Teh Tarik

Teh Tarik less sugar (with a free apricot biscotti).

Angie's Kitchen - Kopi O

Kopi  less sugar.

I thought the Kapitan Curry Chicken was very good, but the braised beef noodle was plain. The mistake was probably not selecting “traditional” Malaysian food, i.e. Nasi Lemak, Laksa or whatever. ¬†The price of the food was above average, I don’t remember it being less than $10, so not a cheap option. The¬†coffee and tea drinks didn’t taste that great.

My rating is average, 6.5/10. The pricing didn’t help.

Newmarket Plaza Food Court

This is the infamous Newmarket Plaza¬†Food Court (and a massive post). I know, I’m probably boring everyone with the same old type of food and “area”. But don’t worry, I am working on going to the outskirts of Auckland very soon – seriously! But this post will have variety as I have collected a few things for everyone to see. If you’re one of those people working in Newmarket on weekdays, or those who shop there during the weekend, maybe this post will help with your barrier of resistance when pondering into the land of the unknown – that is the Newmarket Plaza Food Court.

Personally, foodcourts tend to confuse potential customers with billions of choices at affordable prices. At times, I really hate it. It drives me crazy. And also, how do these places come up with all these ideas and fit so many pictures in one menu. But, rest assure, Newmarket Plaza is a milder version. There is no overkill of choices, still plenty but not unreasonable like some places *ahem* CBD *ahem*.

LAKSA HOUSE

This is a Malaysian place – two things tend to be quite popular here. The Hainanese Chicken Rice and Hokkien Mee (based on observation). I’ve tried the chicken rice and it’s fantastic. I haven’t tried the Hokkien mee yet. Occassionally I try the other stuff, for example, the Kueh Tieu Mee shown below. This dish costs me $9.50 I believe.

Kueh Tieu Mee.

Personally, I would recommend the chicken rice, and the rice noodle dishes i.e. kueh tieu mee, wat tan hor and char kueh tieu. They’ve also got curry chicken on rice and curry laksa noodle soup, but I haven’t tried them in a while. My rating? Based on the recent dishes I had here – it’s an 8/10. It’s very nice and you’d expect to pay $10.

PASSION FOOD

This place has a Hong Kong flair to it – dead poultry hanging for all to see. It’s hard to notice this place because they are the odd one out, hiding in the corner on the way to the toilet. One thing you have to try is the combination rice. You’re thinking *yawn* combo rice again!? But hey, I love that stuff. ¬†Remember that it’s not listed in the menu (only one meat with rice is listed). But just ask for it i.e. a two combo rice. Not surprisingly, my favourite is the BBQ pork and soya chicken. For this post, I tried the roast duck and soya chicken. Again, a fantastic combo and it’s cheap! Around $10 only.

Combination Rice (Roast Duck and Soya Chicken).

Hard to rate this place. It may be difficult to eat the meat dishes because of the bones etc. But there is no complaints from my side. The standard rating, 8/10. You ain’t gonna be disappointed. If so, let me know!

NEW VILLAGE KOREAN FOOD

You can’t go wrong with Spicy Pork on Rice at this Korean place. $10 is the price you pay for most of the dish, and it usually comes with three side dishes and a soup. Magnifique! On a different occassion, we bought two dishes (BBQ Chicken and Dolsot Bibimbap), and they gave 5 different side dishes! That’s generous!!

Spicy Pork with Rice.

Dolsot Bibimbap

BBQ Chicken with Rice

New Village rocks because of their generosity. The bibimbap and bbq dishes are my recommendations. The serving size is also large. My rating for this place is 9/10. It’s got flavour, variety and all for $10 (usually).

SILK THAI

I have almost no recollection of this dish but it’s that Thai place. It’s not particularly popular for some reason. Maybe because they’re not noisy enough and don’t have big flames in the kitchen. I’ve tried one of their curry dish below, I think it’s mango curry or something. Silk Thai has come a long way, about a year ago, they were severely lacking in appeal. I think they probably got a marketing guy to help them out and I think it helps. They’ve got pictures now and the food looks good.

Unknown Curry Dish.

From memory, the curry dish is reasonable (curry soup didn’t look “curry-ish” enough, as if they put lots of cornflour). Other than that, no issue whatsoever. Also, I’ve tried the satay chicken before, and it’s what I would recommend as a side dish. Price wise, I have almost no recollection.

A rating would be unfair as I only have one single dish reviewed, and I don’t even know the name of it. But, Silk Thai offers an alternative to its high-performing neighbours (New Village, Passion Food and Laksa House). Thai always seems to be a “Kiwi” favourite and perhaps they’re taking advantage of it.

BAR IN THE CAFE

I had a post about this place a couple of months ago – just for one drink!¬†The Asian Coffee is highly recommended by me. ¬†Seriously, don’t buy those sugary bottled drinks, try the fresh sugary coffee instead. If it’s too hot, get the iced version – the Iced Asian Coffee is only $4. It’s like the funky Asian version of the Starbucks Frappuccino.

Iced Asian Coffee.

If you want to rate this place, it’s hard. For bottled drinks, it’s not worth rating. For desserts, I’ve never tried it. For the fresh coffee, damn good! 9/10!

My friends, overall this is my pathetic attempt to do a bundled “foodcourt” review. It’s hard because I can’t seem to remember prices and things like that – so prefer one off visits. But if you have comments, please feel free to make them!

The Newmarket Plaza – it has variety, it is affordable and depending on which dish you choose, you can get a fantastic meal (and drink).

Theobroma Chocolate Lounge

Theobroma Chocolate Lounge – I usually call this place the Barack Obama Chocolate Lounge. Bahhh, enough of my pathetic attempt to insert humour in this blog. Theobroma Chocolate Lounge has two branches, one in Sylvia Park and the other in St Lukes. It looks like they’re doing well and supposedly entering into the “chocolate drink” cafes market. It’s not a huge surprise as they have already flooded cities like Melbourne with similar places such as Koko Black and Max Brenner.

I have tried this place many times, but never reviewed so here goes. We bought two drinks, the mocha and chocolate drink – both Belgian Dark. Some pictures below for you to see:

Belgian Dark – Mocha.

Belgian Dark – Chocolate.

Chocolate Assortments.

The mocha is $5.60 and the chocolate is $5.40, and these are for cup sizes. They have mugs which have little candles on the bottom that continuously heat the drink. If you’re feeling rich, you can buy chocolate assortments for $2.30 each. There is also the “bulk” price but still not that cheap. I¬†guess similar to the Chocolate Boutique, Theobroma is “special” because it is a chocolate cafe. Thus, they price themselves above average than many coffee places (even the Chocolate Boutique).

Personally, Theobroma is just too damn expensive and I believe they’ve recently increased their price (you can see the stickers). But it’s a nice place and I think the chocolate must be of good quality. So, I’d recommend if you’ve got paid and want to treat yourself, try this place out. But don’t come back in 6-12 months, else you’re just spending too much money and in need of a financial advisor.

The service is one thing I’m concerned about with this place (Slyvia Park). Perhaps it’s a random thing or I’m just too fussy, but one time I lined up to get a drink when it was just about to close. There was basically the guy in front and myself to be served. The manager decided to serve the guy in front but decided I wasn’t worth serving. Keep in mind that, I did not just arrive but had been waiting. Also, the time during this review, the cashier was a loud and not quite friendly enough. I’m paying $5+ for one chocolate drink – the least you could do is pretend to like me.

Overall, Theobroma is a great place for chocolate drinks, particularly the Belgian Dark range. But it is quite pricey and for my case, the service is not great. I’m sure hundreds of people will flock into this place anyway. My rating is 7/10. Fantastic drinks, but a bit too pricey and in need of some serious review of their service.

My last comment – You’re a “luxury” place, start treating your customers like kings and queens!!

Chocolate Boutique

What’s going on here? Is it dessert week? No. Yes. No. Maybe. I don’t know!! I just post these things randomly.

Chocolate Boutique is located in Parnell, quite near to Starbucks.¬†I know this place is not ideal for most people – it’s kinda pricey and not that great if you’re on a diet. But hey, once in a while, you gotta spoil yourself. Perhaps do this once a year or something, unless your metabolism is off the charts.

Chocolate Boutique prides itself in being unique. One of their reason is that President Clinton and his daughter had drinks there a long time ago. You know what that means right?  Parnell is full of liberals! Enough about politics. Some of the drinks/desserts we bought on a September night below:

Mocha Nut Latte.

Bittersweet Submarino.

Death By Chocolate.

The other view of the above.

If my memory serves me right, the mocha nut latte is $4, and the submarino is not too far off that, perhaps $4.50. The dessert is slightly more expensive at $6.50. When I think about it, the pricing is the same for all desserts or cheaper compared to other places.

One thing, Chocolate Boutique is always full – or maybe because I always arrive at around 8-9:30pm (peak time?). But it’s good, they cater to their capacity. It’s a tiny store. On top of buying drinks (cold & hot) and desserts, they have a huge range of confectionary to purchase from. In fact, the word ‘huge’ is an understatement.

Personally, I quite like the dessert, Death by Chocolate. The mocha nut latte is not bad, but the Submarino has a funky taste. It’s quite hard to describe. Maybe it suits some people.

It’s quite difficult to rate this place, because there is another chocolate place I prefer (as in drinks). And comparing them both might not be the best. But Chocolate Boutique is special and ‘homegrown’, and for this occassion, I’ll give it an 8/10. Try the desserts and coffees – it’s a safe choice! But if you’re adventurous, try the special coffees/chocolate.