I don’t know what I was thinking, but I popped into Wagamama Sylvia Park the other night while waiting to watch a movie. From the outside it looked like a nice place to eat as I’ve been there before, and I think I had fond memories.
Samples I had below:
Chicken Katsu Curry ($17.50).
Chilli Ramen with Sirloin Steak ($24.50).
Overall, it’s quite average and too pricey. I guess the place does suit some people (apparently it’s fusion) and it’s popular. But I can find better tasting and seriously cheaper Japanese out there.
My apologies to all Wagamama fans, I don’t get this place. Rating 5/10.
I got recommended by a friend to this place a while ago, it’s Tanpopo around the corner of Anzac Ave and Beach Road. It’s very difficult to spot, and on top of that, it’s hard to find a parking space. Anyway, I had a couple of samples, see below:
Shio Butter Corn Ramen.
The Shio Ramen is $10 and the Shio Butter Corn Ramen is $11.50. There’s really nothing outstanding to say about this place. The environment is kinda plain and that goes with the dishes. Perhaps it’s the lack of variety because they only had ramen and nothing else. The pricing is about the same as any other Japanese ramen shops. The staff is quite friendly. To me, it wasn’t worth finding a parking for (Sorry!). To be honest, if I was to park around there, I’d just go to Saigonz which has the best Vietnamese noodle soups!
Anyway, my rating is a 7/10. There’s no negatives but no positives as well. Good for ramen if you’re craving that kind of dish in that particular area.
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:
Chicken Namban Don.
Pork Cheese Katsu Don.
Pork Katsu Don.
Soy Sauce Braised Beef Udon.
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. =)
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.
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:
Lemon Grass Chicken on Rice.
Lemon Grass Chicken Curry.
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.
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.
BBQ Pork with Rice.
Potato and Pork Rib Soup with Rice.
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).
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:
Deep Fried Chicken Drumstick Noodle Soup.
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.
The Food Alley. Yes, yes, yes.
I’ve always wanted to try this place. But I couldn’t be bothered because parking is extremely difficult to find and they have too many choices. Perhaps that’s why they’ve won the Best Cheap Eats last year – lots of competition for pricing and better tasting food.
Food Alley is on Albert Street, more towards downtown. There were many places that I sampled. Some of them are as below:
Chicken Rice Large.
Chicks is serving purely chicken dishes. The above dish is $9 and it’s not bad. I thought the soup was a bit luke warm. Most of their dishes is below $10 which is good for those cheapos like me. However, overall it did not impress me.
Waroeng Wardani Indonesian Food
Ox Tail Soup on Rice.
Both dishes were $11 each. I thought the Balado was quite good. The seafood was the “fake” seafood, so perhaps my next try would be chicken or something. The Ox Tail is unique. Overall, not bad. Something I’d try again. There isn’t a lot of Indonesian places around.
Umaiya Japanese Cuisine
The above was $10.50 and it had a lot of stuff. I thought it was a good dish and damn good value for money. It’s definitely worth a try for a value meal. But Japanese food tends to be the same all the time, so it wasn’t very exciting.
I can’t exactly give a rating for this place – it’s a bit unfair since I haven’t tried everything else. There is definitely a lot of choices, and each with their own strength and weaknesses. I’d say try the Indonesian place which is right at the back of the food court.
There is an odd-looking place on Parnell Road called Thai Friends. I say odd because it doesn’t exactly look like a big place at all when you pass by. I always thought it was a bit strange for them to run a business with tables and chairs (about a handful) outside. Little did I know that they had more room/space at the back! But that’s probably reserved for dinner.
I decided to try out this place for lunch after a long day at looking for overpriced property around the area. Also, they’ve got awards and stuff like that. So I wanted to see what the big fuss was about. Initial observation of the menu will definitely give you a heart attack. It’s really odd, of all the Asian cuisine, Thai and Indian are always overly priced comparatively. Why is that?
Anyway, thank goodness they had a “Special Lunch Menu”. Two dishes were sampled as shown below:
Thai Hot Green Curry Chicken.
Thai Style Seafood Laksa.
The chicken green curry is a traditional, all-time favourite and it costs about $13.50. It’s not bad. The Thai style seafood laksa was a unique one. I thought the laksa was very good. The seafood is quite fresh and the flavour of the laksa soup was delicious. For $17.50, I thought it was worth it. Of all the laksas I’ve forced myself to try, this was the best (I’m usually not a big fan of laksa). It’s not full of MSG, and the seafood is real seafood. It’s not frozen seafood like fishballs, fishcakes, surimi, etc.
Based on the two above dish, I thought Thai Friends is worth a try, for lunch that is. I am not sure about dinner. It may be a bit overpriced, especially during this difficult economic time. My rating, 9/10.
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:
Chinese Sausage and Dried Duck on Rice Served in a Wooden Cask.
Steam Chicken with Kei Chee and Red Dates on Rice.
Steam Chicken with Hot and Spice Sauce on Rice.
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.
Lately for the past several months, I’ve been trying to find alternative Vietnamese restaurants. And yes, there is one in Otahuhu called the Vietnam Cafe. I used to know the place because it was near my old work place (Mt Wellington). Ah, those were the days.
Vietnam Cafe is quite easy to spot, it’s off Atkinson Ave. It’s pretty much the route you’d use if you’re coming from Mt Wellington towards Otahuhu, or taking the Princess St offramp. The parking is harder to spot because it’s at the back. You’d spot the cafe, but most likely miss the turn for the carpark!
The place generally looks dodgy because of the car park. And it certainly doesn’t feel like it’s owned by Vietnamese. You be the judge. =)
A few dishes were sampled as shown below:
Combination Noodle Soup.
Curry Chicken on Rice Noodle.
I’d say the best dish to try is the combination noodle soup. The rest are OK. I even tried the “Traffic Light” drink which was somewhat disappointing. The dishes are cheap though, $10 for the curry chicken on rice noodle and vietnamese noodle. The combination noodle is $12. Traffic Light is $3.50.
Personally, if you do go there, just get the combination noodle soup. It’s not bad. The rest you’d have to cross your fingers. I found the curry chicken rice noodle a bit plain. The drink was also a bit plain. However, one thing I notice is the fried spring rolls which “looked” good.
My rating is 7/10. Good enough for me because of one dish. Perhaps they forgot to add MSG on my curry chicken. =)
On another note, I believe there is another Vietnamese place opening very soon on Beach Road (near Foodtown/China Restaurant). Can someone confirm this? I’m interested to find out if it’s already open, or going to open. I knew about it because they sold a damn good Pho (noodle soup) during the Lantern festival.
By now you’ve probably figured out that I “hang out” in town. Yes, very true, mainly because I work smack in the middle of the city, unlike my previous job.
Anyway, tried Mentatz, which is another Japanese ramen-ish place located in Lorne Street. It’s somewhere near Esquires. To be honest, my first few times here was average. I think because I tried to be adventurous and chose the non-standard ramen. On this particular occassion, we chose the basics – Shoyu Ramen (the 1st choice) and Katsudon. Both for under $10 (I believe.) Bah, it’s cheap anyway.
Personally, these two dishes above are fantastic. Tasted great and it’s frickin’ cheap. I guess the only negative part is that it can be quite busy. I don’t really have much to say but to rate it 9/10. A cheap eat after work or uni. =)
Also, right at the end of Lorne Street is a Korean pan cake shop. Here is a link with more pictures. I tried the cheese pancake before for $3 and it tasted great. It’s like pizza! They have a ham and cheese as well. I am not too sure about the chicken/beef ones. But you can tell it’s popular, there’s always a line!