Friday, 23 September 2011

Pope Joan

The weekend before we started our vacation, Mr. managed to schedule himself off work. Knowing we will be missing our caffeine, we decided to pamper ourselves with some good food before spending the rest of the day packing and cleaning the house.

We heard quite a bit about Pope Joan but had never managed to give it a try. That morning we started slightly later than planned, usually tends to start the day early to avoid weekend morning crowd and get a parking spot without much trouble. Silly us, didn't even know there's a "car-park" opposite the cafe for the patrons. It was only till halfway thru the meal that I saw the banner at the entrance of the car-park.

Cafe was pretty packed at the front when we arrived. Got a table for two outside under the shelter. Although weather was slightly cold, it wasn't a bad spot considering the area was fitted with heaters all around.

As usual, Mr started his meal with normal cappuccino and mine on soy cappuccino. Coffee was a pretty big serve and above average. But won't loved it to be more fragrant.

Roasted Pork Sandwich Cuban Style

Mr. had a sandwich and it was yummy. The herbs used was strong but not overpowering. Descent serve of meat which wasn't dry. He was hoping to squeeze in a scone after that but was too full to fit in any.

Beaten Egg: Baked Egg with Smoked Onion, Beetroot and Chard

I wanted something different/not my usual and picked the beaten egg. I was surprised how sweet this dish was. Guessing it's the sweetness from both the beetroot and onion. It's nice to go with the toast that came with the dish.


There were also some sweets on display available and I was hoping maybe I could ordered 1 and share with Mr. But sadly we were both too full from our individual meal.

Salted Caramel Macaron

But we did manage to take-away a macaron for later. The filling wasn't hard and tough. Shell wasn't too crunchy. But felt the caramel wasn't saltish enough. The filling was creamy and buttery. Comparing the macaron with some of the others available in Melbourne, it's consider small and pricy. But the appearance attracted us and it's 1 of our favourite flavour that's why decided to try it. Looking at the number of macarons displayed on the plate, think there a limited number of macaron per day.

Does Wee-Bix used to come in mental container???

Pope Joan on Urbanspoon

Chicken Rice or Pad Thai?

Who would expect Chicken Rice to be served during breakfast? I wouldn’t!

While holidaying in Maldives staying in Anantara Kihavah Resort, not only can we find chicken rice in the breakky menu. There’s Char Siew (Sweet BBQ pork), Roast Duck, Roast Pork, Pad Thai, Char Kwai Teow and many more to chose from.

We haven’t being travelling a lot but this is the most extensive breakfast menu we ever came across. After 4 breakkys, I can say I didn’t manage to try every single dish and I looked forward to breakky daily.

I will let the photos to do most of the talking in this post, as I always believe photo says a thousand words.

Our 1st round of breakky on the 2nd day by the beach.

Other than the basic tea or coffee, there are also 3 different juices to choose: Watermelon, Orange or Pineapple. 

Can’t resist placing this photo. It’s so cute to find a teapot in clothing.  Wondering am I able to find it in Melbourne.

This is the roasting section with Poached Chicken, Roast Duck, Roast Chicken, Roast Pork, Char Siew to choose from. It’s served with chicken fragrant rice. Mr. tried it in the 1st morning and felt missing component in the rice. Although a lot of herbs were used, the taste was still far away from the authentic Hainanese Chicken Rice. The chilli was spicy but would be better with a bit more lime and garlic.

The Thai section serving freshly fried Pad Thai and Char Kwai Teow.


We tried both and they were both really delicious. We could taste the wok hei on the Pad Thai and vegetables weren’t over cooked.  The stock used in Char Kwai Teow Noodle Soup was full of flavour. Vegetable was quickly stir fried and added into the noodle soup.

In the same area, which I forgot to take a photo, is also the egg section. Sunny side up, scramble egg, omelette ect can all be cooked upon order.  Baked beans, hash brown, bacon, sausage can also be found by the side.

This is the Spread section. All types of spread for toast can be found on this table.

3 different types of bread to chose for toast. This is 1 of the section which I didn’t touch on at all throughout the whole trip, knowing I can make up for it once I’m back in Melbourne.


Pancakes and Waffles were freshly made in front of us too. We found the waffle smell really nice but end product wasn’t crispy enough. On our last day, we requested it to be cooked a bit longer. It was heaven with 100% maple syrup and sprinkle with almond flakes. It was crispy on the outside and still fluffy and soft on the inside.  I love how deep the square dent was, it’s able to hold on a lot of syrup. Chef made 2 waffles, 1 for Mr. and another for me.


This is the Noodle Soup section, which the menu is change daily. Sadly I can only recall Fish Ball Noodle Soup and Wanton Noodle Soup, don’t remember the other 2 mornings menu.

The Congee station; same as the Noodle Soup section its change daily as well. Chicken Congee, Beef Congee, and Lamb Congee etc. Do find it strange to have chilli flakes as 1 of the condiment. Maybe they can add in spring onion?

This is the Cheese section. All kinds and types of chesses are available.
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There’s also a HUGE variety of cured meat and fish which some taste too saltish for our liking but some which we just felt in loved with.
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There’s even a Salad section with fresh mixed vegetable and freshly cut carrot, cucumber, capsicum and tomatoes etc. Different salad sauces and wide range of olive oil, avocado oil and balsamic vinegar to finish the DIY morning salad.

There’s also a wide range of nuts and dried fruits as condiment for cereal, porridge and mueslis.

Plain Yogurt, Yogurt with fresh Plums and Yogurt with fresh Passionfruit to chose from.

Of course there’s a wide selection of Maldives local breakfast/curries.

All the curries are change daily as well. This is only 1 morning cooked food section.
DSC07197 Seafood Curry      

DSC07198 Biryani Rice

DSC07214 Cauliflower and Potato Masala
DSC07215 Dhal Curry
Maldivian Fish Curry

Our favourite is Tuna and Coconut Sambal eaten with Roti. It’s actually tuna flakes mixed with a bit of coconut, chilli, shallots/onions and lime. It’s a bit spicy and sourish. It’s great with roti/chapatti. We 1st had it while we were still diving on the boat. Being our must have breakky since day 1 in Maldives. I’m going to try recreating this dish when I’m back in Melbourne. Not sure how it will taste if I use canned tuna instead. Got to ask my colleague for help in making fresh roti/chapatti.

Finally, the Fruit section.

Fruit platter was constantly topped up and freshly cut.

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Bet I ate my 1-year worth of papaya, dragon fruit! I missed this two fruits so much. When I was craving and couldn’t find any papaya on my last day at the resort. The staff took the trouble to look in the kitchen, cut it up before bringing half a papaya to my table. Felt so <3!

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Not always good food and good experience

We are into the 4th week of our vacation and both me and Mr being eating non-stop everywhere we go. We usually tend find hawker food when we are in Singapore, as it's  quite impossible to find authentic Singapore hawker food in Melbourne. Plus it's cheap and delicious.

We don't always ended up with nice food. As mention in one of my previous entry, we revisited one of the Japanese restaurant which we used to frequent. But we were so disappointed.

3 dishes that we ordered at Sushi Tei to start ,
Cha Soba, cold green tea soba - was served within 5 minutes after placing the order. Definitely pre-cooked and stored in the fridge. It was also over cooked.

Aburi Sushi Moriawase, halved boiled sushi assortment - sushi rice wasn't firm, breaks when picked using chopstick. The sushi assortment  were just laid on top of the sushi rice without even using any wasabi. Sushi assortment wasn't fresh.

Tsukuba - Sushi slices wasn't fresh nor firm. It cost us S$54 excluding 10% service charge and 7% GST.

After we paid the bill, we took the escalator up to level 4 food court and ordered a plate of Fried Prawn Noodle. Tummy felt satisfying after that.

After the terrible restaurant experience, I wasn't very keen to give any other restaurant a try till few days ago when both of us went to Marina Bay Sand (MBS). It's one of the casino hotel in Singapore. It also contains quite a few fine dining restaurant including the very well known Waku Gin which by Tetsuyu.

After making enquiry and flipping thru the different restaurant menu, Mr decided to make a booking for dinner that evening at Hide Yamamoto. We were looking forward to dinner as we spend the afternoon shopping at MBS. Didn't dare to set to high expectation as well.


But it turned out to be terrible and we walk out of the restaurant even without having a drink!

When we 1st arrived, 1st impression was alright with all the staff greeting us as we enter. Drink and food menu was being shown to us upon seated.

Mr. was in the mood of a mocktail and me a cocktail, Lychee Mojito. A young guy was serving us and Mr. made an enquiry regarding mocktail as it wasn't in the menu. Noticing how the waiter couldn't understand what Mr. was asking and noticing he was asking us questions in Mandarin. I decided to make the enquiry using mandarin.

Both of us do speak and understand mandarin but when it comes to food we are pretty clueless what's the exact name for most of the food names and ingredients used. As the result, we are more comfortable using english.

The waiter came back to us after checking with the bartender but we couldn't understand what he meant. It's either his mandarin is too power or our understanding is too poor. Mr. gave up and decided to order a coke instead while I sticked to my cocktail. Order was repeated to him twice before requesting him to serve drink 1st while we decide what to eat.

He came back few minutes later and asked "lime?". I was totally confused and repeated our drink order again. This time round a colleague of his was nearby and asked what she can do to help.

Told her about our order and she started informing us cocktail wasn't available as they were in the mid of changing the menu. Something else wasn't available too which I don't remember and only sake and soft drink was available.

I wasn't happy. Told them to give us for a few more minutes. Once they left, both of us decided to walk out.

If they couldn't even get our drink order right, how could I expect them to serve me the correct food?
If the drinks wasn't available, why was it still on the menu? Why wasn't we informed when the menu was presented to us?
If the waiter can't speak English, why didn't he ask his colleague who knows, to serve us instead?
Is that the standard for a fine dining restaurant?

We did feedback to the MBS customer relation and hopefully they message get pass and the restaurant can improve the service standard.

S$1.80 Hazelnut Macaron which is totally CRAP! Only took a bite and dump into the bin. Not worth wasting the calories on it.

Macarons seem to be popular in Singapore as well. We sees them everywhere we goes. Mr. was craving for one and bought a Hazelnut macaron from The Icing Room. It was BAD. The shell was hard as a rock and tasteless except sweet and more sweet. Only took a bite and dump the rest into the bin without delay.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

SEA Restaurant at Anatara Kihavah, Maldives


Underwater aquarium isn't a unfamiliar place for majority of us. But what about underwater restaurant?

Anatara Kihavah Resort, Maldives offer a very unique dining experience; dining with fishes. This is the newest resort in Baa Atoll and was chosen as our charging base after spending a week on MV Orion diving.

3 restaurants and a bar are located side by side. Salt which serve Asian style food, Fire for Japanese and of course Sea. Lastly Sky bar which we frequent for pre-dinner drink.

Both of us were constantly looking out for the restaurant but didn't manage to find it till the dinner night. The entrance was allocated inside Salt. We could see the building structure before we proceeded in.


Booking is required as it's a very small restaurant. It accommodate 16 guests per night and max 18 guests if in a group. For our dinner night, it was full housed but the night before there were only 1 couple. Everybody must had chosen the BBQ buffet at Plates including us.

Sea offers both lunch and dinner. Lunch is a set lobster theme menu and dinner a 4-course menu with wine pairing. We went for the later even though Mr. doesn't drink all for the name of experience.

Gorgeous gorgeous restaurant!

A different feel and view during the day. Lighting was definitely better and a clearer view on the reefs, corals and fishes. This was taken the next day after lunch service as we were curious how the reef and restaurant will look during the day.

We were welcomed by the crew, follow by welcome champagne and appetiser. Mr. took a sip and loved it. I enjoyed it too. Too bad I didn't manage to remember the name. I don't exactly recall how the appetiser taste as I was a bit overwhelmed by the restaurant setting and collection of wine on display.

The table setting with my welcome drink on the extreme right.

Bread served warm was light and fluffy. Couldn't get enough of it.

4 course dinner is make up of 2 appetiser, 1 main and 1 dessert. Each course, there's 2 dishes to chose from. We were advised to chose alternate dishes so that we can try every single dish.

1st appetiser
Medallion of local lobster, fresh basil with fennel and citrus salad - lobster was not overcooked as it's still tender. Slight bitterness in the fennel salad.

Palm heart tartar with yellow fin tuna and salmon caviar - black pepper coating the tuna were too coarse. Granted ginger can be tasted in the mashed palm heart. Felt it was a over peppery and spicy dish. Can't taste the freshest of the tuna at all.

2nd appetiser
Pappardelle with foie gras and black truffle - Mr. loved the pan-fried foie gras. The pasta was al dente. But did find quite a bit of oil left in the bowl after finishing. 1 of the better dish for the night.

Risotto with morel mushrooms, duck confit with parmesan wafer - We didn't even realised there's duck in this dish till I'm writing this entry. Flavour is there but the rice is mushy. The rice looked too long for arborio rice. Did question and feedback to the waiter when asked. We were told guests complained the rice were not cooked when it was al dente. Sound like recipe was tweaked to please majority?

Garlic crusted coral reef fish, roasted baby artichokes, chef's garden cherry tomato pesto - fish was cooked perfectly. It was still very moist but I wasn't a big fan on the pesto and artichokes. Pesto tasted from bottle.

Oven roasted tenderlion of Black Angus, celeriac puree, marinated radicchio with aged balsamic reduction - Mr. loved his steak medium rare and tried requesting as it's usually served medium. Waiter informed us he will check with the chef but never get back to us. Lucky the beef was still tender and juicy. Mr. doesn't like the balsamic "mixed" in puree but I quite enjoyed it.

Tiramisu "al Cucchiaio" - Best dish for the night. Tiramisu was very light. Coffee flavour ice cream was nice. There wasn't a strong dose of coffee in the Tiramisu though. But do able to taste a hint of liquor. Both of us were fighting for the last spoonful.


Amarene chiffon pie with cherry and almond ice cream - Mr. enjoyed the ice cream more than me. Felt the almond was too strong for my taste bud. The pie was average which I ate most of it.

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We were both pretty impressed how both desserts were plated. Both were executed beautifully with the used of sugar art.

As I know very little about wine except of drinking it, I decided to not include them. Do drop me a note if you are curious and I can add them it.

Table was spaced near to each other and restaurant do get a bit too noisy when full. When one was wondering what's the name of the fish accompanying the dinner, he/she can find it in the book provided titled Maldives Reef Fishes. Service was good, little details were being put into consideration. The only disappointment was the food even though fine ingredients were used. For the price, maybe go for lunch instead for experience?