Cafe Hanoi

This is an old post but may have changed. They have a website: http://www.cafehanoi.co.nz/

Tried some of the dishes, samples below:

Beef Broth “Pho” ($10.50)

Summer Rolls ($12.50).

Crispy Shrimp ($14.00).

Unfortunately not my type of food, the portions were small (very tapas-style) and flavour-wise – I think Saigonz is better just down the road. My rating is 5/10. Food was sample approximately 5 months ago, so things may have changed…. for the better ūüôā

Andrea Ristorante Italiano

I am back – finally. Hello everybody!

Anyway, I will start off this year’s blog in a bad note (trying to do the opposite of any articles). Andrea Ristorante Italiano is a nicely located restaurant in the “heart” of the ever popular Mission Bay. But after going to this restaurant, there is only¬†one word – extremely disappointing to say it in a nice way. This is reflected on the no. of people going to their restaurants (almost none). Here were some samples from

Scallops ai funghi e pancetta ($19.50).

Pork Belly (to die for) – $28.50.

Seafood Pizza – $21.50.

The entre was actually not bad, but a little too salty. The pork belly was average, and NOT to die for. It was rather plain and overcooked for a relatively high-priced item. The seafood pizza had a very funny taste (and probably caused my bowel movement the next day). I’ve had better seafood pizza for half that price. Perhaps maybe because traditional items were not ordered on the night, but still very disappointed with the food, especially for the price we paid for.

Personally, I wouldn’t be going back here anymore, and they seriously need to review some of their menu items. Rating = 2/10.

Happy Hour

It surprises me places like Happy Hour exists. It’s located in a building that looks like a trailer, the door slides funny and there’s no toilet. But I have to admit, the food is top notch. I got recommended this place by a work colleague (and now friend). It’s exact address is 947 New North Road. I’ve been here many times, and here are some of the samples:

Steam Chicken with Chinese Mushroom on Rice (Small Size = $8.50).

Happy Hour – Steam Chicken with Red Dates and Kei Chee on Rice (Big Size = $10.50).

Steam Pork Spare Ribs with Black Bean Sauce on Rice (Big Size = $10.00).

Crispy Chicken.

Tofu Dessert (Small Size = $3.00).

Stew Long Yan, Red Date and Egg with Rock Sugar ($6.00).

Tofu Dessert ($4.00).

To be honest, I think Happy Hour’s prices are fantastically value for money, and taste wise it’s great. There are so many options from steam chicken and pork dishes to desserts and snacks. The service is great, in fact, I believe they serve the tea quite quickly. Parking is quite easy to find. It’d be great if you can speak Chinese, but don’t be intimidated, they have an English menu (with pictures), it’s just unfortunate the specials are in Chinese. =)

I quite like the place, and recently, have been a regular visitor. My rating 9/10.

 

The Bluestone Room

In an attempt to update the blog in a regular fashion, here you go!

Bluestone Room is a local pub for my workplace. I rarely go here in fact, but it’s favourite hangout for some of my work mates (little do they know, they have a problem with alcohol). Just kidding =) Actually it’s a favourite hangout because of it’s generous Happy Hour Deals. They serve the Tower for only $20 or a pint of beer for $4 during Happy Hour.

One of the great deals they have here is a 2-for-1 meal deal (need to apply for a loyalty card), at the moment, the deal is on Monday and Saturday. Not bad to be honest. One night, I decided to give it a try, here are two samples:

Bushwacker’s Boar ($24.50).

Double Lamb Shanks ($24.00).

To be honest, the lamb shanks are great. The boar isn’t too bad, but a bit tough. One meal worth mentioning is the Bluestone Burger; and that is a work of art! Most of their dishes doesn’t really need any sides at all. For all the good things they have, they achieve a higher rating in my books. 9/10.

Taipei Kitchen

Taiper Kitchen is actually quite a familiar place – it was formerly Lai Lai Noodle House.¬† It looks like the owners changed hands, and first impression, the interior is much better. I was expecting to order the usual stuff (beef noodle soup or something), but it appears the menu’s have changed also.

Some samples below:

Pork Mince Rice with Meat Soup ($10).

Pork Chop on Rice ($9.50).

Atmosphere is much better, price is reasonable, food is quite good, however menu is partly translated into English (only drink items are translated and not food!). This new place also sells drinks such as milk tea, so it appears to do more than before. Perhaps to include more younger people.

My rating is 8.5/10. Not bad at all.

Herbal Legend

I heard this place was THE place to eat Shanghai food. Herbal Legend is located on Dominion Road at Mt Eden. It’s close to the shopping area where Foodtown is.¬† The first time I went to this place, I couldn’t get a spot and had to settle for somewhere else to eat. This time though, I didn’t have any problems finding a spot. However, it is noticeably packed for some reason and I wanted to know why.

Cumin Lamb with Bread.

Sweet & Sour Pork Rib.

Mapo Tofu

The prices for the dishes in this restaurant range quite a bit. The cumin lamb is $22 and appears to be the most popular dish. The sweet and sour pork is $16 and the Ma Po tofu is $10. Out of the 3 dishes, I didn’t like the Ma Po tofu cause it was kinda average, however the other two wasn’t too bad. I quite like the cumin lamb with the bread. One thing I realised is the ridiculous speed they made the dishes! I think it took less than 10 mins for them to prepare the 3 dishes above, which leads to the question – how so? Probably they had like 10 chefs in the kitchen or it was too easy to cook? Who knows.

Anyway, I did hear good things about this place but in the end, I found that it was alright. Perhaps it doesn’t suit my palate. The price is great and service not too bad (friendly I thought). Taste is OK as I said before. Ratings 7.5/10. Perhaps might suit some people, but not me.

The Don

When you mix cheese with Japanese food, it’s surprisingly good. The Don is one place I’ve noticed using this technique (there’s probably more of this and people need to tell me!). The Don is located on High Street and has been highly recommended in other blogs. I’ve been here a few times and have taken a fair amount of photos. Here goes:

Don - Chicken Namban Don

Chicken Namban Don.

Don - Pork Cheese Katsu Don

Pork Cheese Katsu Don.

The Don - Pork Katsu Don

Pork Katsu Don.

The Don - Soy Sauce Braised Beef Udon

Soy Sauce Braised Beef Udon.

Don - Prawn Cheese

Prawn Cheese.

The Don - Beef Cheese Roll

Beef Cheese Roll.

To save writing up prices of the meals that will certainly confuse you all; the meals costs $11 or $11.50, the Pork Katsu Don and Beef Udon at the higher end. The side dishes (tapas) such as the Prawn Cheese and Beef Cheese Roll cost $7 and $6.50 respectively. So expect to pay around that per side dish, which isn’t too bad. Oh, they’re only available after 5pm.

Overall, I’m impressed with the dishes. No disappointment on my visits there and environment is good for a quiet meal. The pricing and quality of the dishes are above average with just the right amount of variety. My rating is 8.5/10. The cheese can be overwhelming (and I believe fattening). A must try though. =)

Royal Buffet

A random one for the month. I went to this place with friends and was quite disappointed.

Royal Buffet is a newly opened restaurant, located on Short Street in Newmarket, opposite T Mark.¬† To compete with the neighbouring restaurants, for instance $10 pizza/pasta/salad lunch at Archie’s, Royal Buffet offers $12 Buffet lunch and $25 main buffet. Not a bad move.

I am not a fan of buffets, and I think I’ll never be. But decided to give it a try because the main buffet is advertised as having top chefs cooking the best cuisine and providing a variety of food. The cost was $25 per person. The initial look of the place looked OK, but realised it was below average and with limited variety after spending 15 mins in there. The items were not very good – chicken curry hardly has any meat, no real fish in their sushi variety, low quality instant coffee. Some of the stuff were alright, for example miso soup, frice rice, deep fried squid and japanese cold noodle.

The place truly lacked variety and for the amount you pay, it’s not worth it. Also, during dining there was a very unhappy couple who complained about the food (which is fair). But poor guys, they got chased out.

My rating is a 0/10. It’s crap. Not worth it at all.

Saigonz


Finally, another decent Vietnamese restaurant in town. Saigonz is apparently a new Vietnamese restaurant on Beach Road. It’s quite near Foodtown, but parking is difficult to find like any place in the city. I think the place caters for the nearby businesses and residents. Just by initially looking at the place, which is small with only a few tables and with their dishes served in plastic bowls. Their menu is small, which makes decision making somewhat easier. They¬†have a website, and¬†¬†even an 0800 number (0800 SAIGONZ).

Anyway, the dishes sampled are shown below:

Saigonz - Beef Pho 

Beef Pho.

Saigonz - Lemon Grass Chicken Rice 

Lemon Grass Chicken on Rice.

Saigonz - Lemon Grass Chicken Curry 

Lemon Grass Chicken Curry.

Saigonz - Pork & Prawn Summer Rolls 

Pork and Prawn Summer Rolls.

¬†All of the above dishes¬†cost $9.50, except the rolls, which cost $7.00.¬† I have to admit, all the dishes tasted great! The only niggle is the plastic dishes they were served in. A bit too takeaway-ish for me, but I guess that’s what the business is catered/designed for. I was hoping the rolls would be cheaper, perhaps like $4 or $5. Perhaps we need more Vietnamese immigrants like Melbourne. =)

My rating is a very favourable 9/10. It’s something new, the flavours and pricing do not disappoint. The rolls could be cheaper but I guess they’re one of two Vietnamese restaurants in town.

Full House Korean Restaurant

Ahhh. Not another Korean restaurant. Yes, another one.

Full House Korean Restaurant is hidden¬†on Eliott Street. You’ve gotta really spot it. Initially, you’d think it’s a strip club with all the neon lights outside and it’s apparently underground. The selection of this place is based on the fact that the bloody Atrium foodcourt was closed. Plus, it was a “recommendation” from a work colleague.

Two usual dishes were sampled. Have a look.

full-house-korean-restaurant-bbq-pork-on-rice 

BBQ Pork with Rice.

full-house-korean-restaurant-potato-and-pork-rib-soup-on-rice 

Potato and Pork Rib Soup with Rice.

full-house-korean-restaurant-side-dishes 

Side Dishes.

Both of the main dishes were $12. I thought the BBQ Pork tasted quite good. It was flavoursome and dry. Soup was OK. The pricing was OK also, a bit on the “premium” side for another run of the mill Korean restaurant. Furthermore, they limit the side dishes due to recession (stated on the menu and entrance). I thought that was pretty cheeky considering that they were already charging $12.¬†Personally, it wasn’t too bad, but nothing special.

My rating is 7/10. Same old same old. There are more places which are cheaper. But good to try if you really can’t walk towards Queen St for the hundreds of Korean restaurants there (and cheaper).

ATT Cafe

In between two highly-rated places (Mentatz and Pho Vietnamese) on Lorne Street is the ATT Cafe. ¬†A quick glance at this cafe, it looks more like a canteen. I thought I’d give this place a try, no harm when you’re hungry and sick of going to the same old place. A couple of dishes were sampled as shown below:

att-cafe-deep-fried-chicken-drumstick-noodle-soup

Deep Fried Chicken Drumstick Noodle Soup.

att-cafe-garlic-gravy-pork-on-rice

Garlic Gravy Pork on Rice.

Both dishes cost $9.50, which is quite cheap. The noodle soup did taste a bit plain, I wish there some kinda sauce that could boost up the flavour. However, the rice wasn’t bad. I can’t really say much, because it was just a meal. Not gourmet or anything at all. Apparently, they do deliveries within the city.

A rating is hard to justify, but it’s average. Not bad but not good, 7/10.

Tang’s Soup Cafe

The Easter weekend is finished but I have another day off. That gives me a bit of time to talk about this cafe I “bumped” into recently – Tang’s Soup Cafe. It’s near the roundabout in Royal Oak.

It’s a strange place because initially it appears as if there is no English menu. But rest assure, it does. The good thing about the place is the amount of variety and it opens late – so good supper option. The variety comes with a price, not all dishes are great and it really depends what you get.¬†Anyway, some of the dishes tried are shown below:

tangs-soup-cafe-chinese-sausage-on-rice-served-in-wooden-cask

 Chinese Sausage and Dried Duck on Rice Served in a Wooden Cask.

tangs-soup-cafe-steam-chicken-with-kei-chee-and-red-dates-on-rice

Steam Chicken with Kei Chee and Red Dates on Rice.

tangs-soup-cafe-steam-chicken-with-hot-and-spice-sauce-on-rice

Steam Chicken with Hot and Spice Sauce on Rice.

tangs-soup-cafe-quail-braised-in-chuan-bei

Quail Braised in Chuan Bei.

The wooden cask dish is $12.50. The steam chicken dishes are $8. The soup is $11.50. Of all the dishes above, I prefer the steam chicken dish. It’s tasty and darn cheap. However, the other two dishes are not bad and more specialty (I think). It is worth to experiment on. The wooden cask dish is kinda salty for me because of the dried duck. ¬†The soup is quite good and apparently has health benefits. But it’s kinda expensive for $11.50. Again it may be because it’s special. Someone can educate me.

Anyway, I am pleasantly surprised with this place. I think the food overall is good and very unique. It’s also a great supper hangout, and well done to them for opening late-ish for the night owls.

My rating is 9/10. Unique dishes, opens late and good value for money (mostly). Worth a try.