Bird Gallery & Studio – Everyones Exhibition

Saturday, March 08, 2014 

(Note: Not the best quality photos, I apologise!)

Tonight, Yoni Shor was submitting one of his watercolour paintings, ‘Crashing Wave’ to Bird Gallery & Studio’s Everyones Exhibition.

You can click the link for more information but in summary: Everyones Exhibition is a 2 week exhibition held at Bean Cafe for local emerging artists to showcase and sell their artworks for free. No commissions are taken and there is even an opening night party for the artists and general public.

Of course, we had to stop by 🙂

Bean Cafe is located at Laneway 181 off George St

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All the unique and beautiful pieces on display

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Yoni’s Crashing Wave

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More views of the cafe

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Our friend, Beatrice Sim, also had a (gouache and ink) piece on display, Unexpected Places 

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Lots of local talent, many of art pieces for sale. Would never have found this little gem without the help of friends, please drop by and check it out!

Fun at galleries and goodbye to new friends

Saturday, March 08, 2014 

After a yummy and severely filling lunch at Malaya Corner, we decided to check out the Gallery of Modern Art.

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Yoni had been before so it was Michael’s and my first visit!

Although I quite enjoyed my time and found many pieces to be very artistic and talented, I found myself wondering if I was being trolled throughout the visit.

Like music, food, dance, and other forms of art, I understand that everyone has their own taste, some of which are cultured, developed and acquired while others are innate. I certainly don’t like all types of music or food but can understand if others enjoy them.

However, when it comes to modern art, I can’t help but wonder if there are hidden cameras around. Recording people’s ridicule or attempts to be appreciative and/or sophisticated with certain art pieces. A 3-hour video of two brothers chewing the same piece gum and passing it back and forth to each other. A grown man, on video for 45 minutes, dancing the twist with gold tassels hanging from his nipples.

Sometimes I just don’t get it. And the museum pays for these art pieces! We all joked that we just needed some time, money and a ridiculous idea in order to be displayed in a museum as well. That’s seriously how some of the pieces made us feel.

This was another art piece – Gold tinsel being blown from behind by a pivoting fan. Needless to say, we didn’t understand it but still had fun.

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A few more silly moments

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Posed so well he hid the original

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Shadow boys

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Yoni’s food baby!

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Taking a rest and enjoying the view out the window

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Entrace to Cai Guo-Qiang – Falling Back to Earth exhibit that you need to pay for entrance Yoni wasn’t really interested but Mike and I will come back another time to check it out.

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We also walked through the Queensland Art Gallery although I didn’t take many photos

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Richard Long’s Ring of Stones (1982)

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We then headed to the Sciencentre, which is always my favourite. Here are a few random photos.

Jelly fish made of plastic

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Coincidentally, we ran into Dan and Prasan at the Sciencentre. They are both 3rd year med students on exchange from Queen’s University (Canada) and completed their Paediatrics Rotation with us these past 2 months. We had discussed grabbing a drink before they flew out later that night, so off we went!

Enjoyed the extensive beer menu at The Burrow. Mike’s new find – Kwak (8% Seductive malt character. Rich, satisfying Belgian experience)

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Prasan was my silly group member, he will be missed!

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Group photo! Lovely getting to know you guys, safe trip home and all the best with your studies!

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Lunch at Malaya Corner

Saturday, March 08, 2014

With exams completed yesterday and Yoni in town, we decided to go out for lunch! Michael and I have passed by Malaya Corner multiple times and now were finally going to check it out.

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First impression on entering: Malaya Corner is much more spacious than it looks on the outside. Brightly lit with plenty of dining room, I imagine it would be feasible to quickly get a table even during peak busy hours.

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Started with drinks. Mike got a green tea bubble tea while I got a cold teh tarik. Both drinks were delicious although in hindsight, we probably didn’t need them alongside the massive amount of food.

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Michael and I really enjoyed our Malaysian meals in Singapore and were looking forward to re-experiencing those delicious foods.

One of our newer favourite dishes is laksa, which is what Mike ordered – Malaysian Laksa ($16.90) hokkien noodles & vermicelli with fish cake, prawns, calamari, bean sprouts in coconut curry soup.

A humongous portion that was packed full of seafood in a delicious coconut based broth. He found it odd that there were 2 types of noodles and preferred the hokkien noodles. Although not a laksa connoisseur, he found it delicious and always brings back the good memories of having it for the first time in Singapore.

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The other dish we’ve tried in the past is Nasi Lemak ($12.90), which is what Yoni chose. His dish consisted of Malaysian coconut rice with curry chicken, beef rendang, anchovies, egg, and pickled veggies. He found all the components of his dish quite tasty (except onions, because he’s not a fan of them) and finished his entire dish.

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I got the Penang Char Keow Teow ($11.90) – stir fried ho-fun with prawns, calamari, fish cake, chinese sausage and bean sprouts. I’m a sucker when it comes to stir-fried broad, thick rice noodles. This was delicious generous amounts of seafood. However, I did find the noodles slightly overdone and the dish overall too greasy.

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We thought it would be a good idea to get a 4th dish to share: Yeung Chow fried rice ($10.90) with shrimp, BBQ pork, chinese sausage, and egg.

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Yummy! But overall bad idea. It was actually really tasty but there was so much food! One common denominator to all 4 dishes: the monstrous portions.  So many leftovers to take home, haha!

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Friendly service, great menu including many drinks, delicious food with enormous portions – would definitely return with more friends!

Malaya Corner (City) on Urbanspoon

Melbourne: Last few sights

Sunday, March 02, 2014

After an amazing and extremely filling lunch at Kororo Ramen, Michael and I walked some more in order to check out a few last night minute sights before heading to the airport.

“The Royal Society of Victoria Centenary Monument 1859-1959. This glacial boulder brought from Mawson, Antarctica… has been set up to commemorate the completion of one hundred years of endeavour by the society in its work for the advancement of science, and to mark its special interest in Antarctic exploration and research.”

In other words, we have touched Antarctica!

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Royal Exhibition Building

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And the back of it

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Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to take a tour of the building. Next door was also the Melbourne Museum, which we also couldn’t visit – next time!

Haha, Porsche parked on the grass in front of of the Royal Australian College of Surgeons.

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And our last stop of the day, the Parliament of Victoria.

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Unfortunately, it was already closed to the public by the time we arrived so we simply sat on the steps and enjoyed the passing views.

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And that’s it friends! The last of our Melbourne adventures. After this, we walked back to our apartment to pick up our luggage, hopped on a tram to Southern Cross Station to grab the SkyBus ($30 return) back to the airport!

Had quite a bit of time at the airport so I did get some studying done. Flight home was uneventful and grabbed a cab home from Brisbane Airport.

What a great trip! Melbourne is definitely a city we’d love to come back and visit again when the opportunity arises.

Melbourne: Lunch at Kokoro Ramen

Sunday, March 2, 2014 

Our initial plans of having Japanese ramen at Little Ramen Bar turned out to be a fail since they were closed on Sundays.

Instead, we found ourselves taking a long walk to Kokoro Ramen on Lonsdale St and joining the queue for a table in this busy restaurant!

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As we were a group of only 2, we were able to get a table quite quickly and ahead of some of the groups in queue ahead of us. Thank goodness because we were starving!

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Posters for sale. And I loved the different coloured wood panels on the wall as well.

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Being our first visit and without being given any instructions upon being seated, it took a few minutes for us to realize that we had to go retrieve menus from the front counter and order there as well.

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We took a look around us at the other patrons, and the ramen bowls looked pretty big and filling. Despite a lot of pondering, both of us ended up ordering the same dish. Normally we like to get different dishes as well as a few appetizers to share, especially when writing a review, but not today unfortunately!

There is self-serve water and side dishes, which we helped ourselves to. And then we waited. And waited and waited. Because the restaurant was so busy with quick turnover, it over 20 minutes before our ramen bowls came out.

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But boy, did it look good or what? Tonkotsu Shoyu with pork belly ($10) Thin egg noodles in a thick pork bone and soy sauce based broth served with spring onions, red ginger, black fungi, sesame seed, and ajitama (marinated soft boiled) egg.

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Flavour of the broth was rich and excellent, and definitely not too salty! The pork belly was extremely tender, the egg was cooked just right, and I’m always a fan of fungus.  We didn’t specify while ordering so were given thin noodles. Next time, I would definitely ask for thick noodles as I find the consistency of thicker noodles more appropriate with such a dense and strong broth.

Of course, I’ve never been to Japan so I cannot compare. However, our meals were delicious and extremely satisfying! Would definitely recommend a visit to Kokoro Ramen to anyone who’s interested in delectable Japanese ramen.

Kokoro Ramen on Urbanspoon

Melbourne: Shrine of Remembrance, Botanic Gardens, and more

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Today was our last day in Melbourne, with our flight back to Brisbane at 10pm. After checking out of our serviced apartment, Dorcas, and temporarily storing  our luggage with them, we walked across the street to visit the Shrine of Remembrance.

“Built as a memorial to the men and women of Victoria who servd in World War I and is now a memorial to all Australians who have served in war. It is a site of annual observances of ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day and is one of the largest war memorials in Australia.”

An impressive structure, even from afar

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View of the front

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View from the front

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Two visitors being given a tour. At their feet is the Stone of Remembrance, engraved with “Greater love hath no man.”

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Every year at 11am on Remembrance Day (Nov 11), sunlight shining through the aperture lights up the word “love” on the Stone of Remembrance below.

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You can actually go upstairs and onto the balcony

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View from above the front entrance, looking into the CBD

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The Cenotaph and Eternal Flame to the right of the front entrance

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View from the back of the balcony

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Walking around the side towards entrance to the Royal Botanic Gardens

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Higher up view of the same side

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We then crossed the street to visit the Royal Botanic Gardens, a lovely space to enjoy all sorts of activity.

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While we sat in the park to have brunch, we saw an Asian church group gathering singing songs and playing games, a family with 2 children playing soccer, and 2 girlfriends doing yoga.

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A real life ugly duckling? First time I’ve seen a black swan!

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After a short walk through the gardens, we walked towards the city, stopping to properly visit the National Gallery of Victoria – International. Although we didn’t take any photos, we were quite impressed at the collection, and the fact that it was completely free for visitors – highly recommend!

The Arts Centre is right next door. Perhaps we will see a show next time we are in Melbourne.

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By now, we were starting to think about lunch and passed by Federation Square where they were having Pancake Day! Not wanting to spoil our appetites for lunch, we didn’t participate in the festivities which looked like fun.

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We had already decided to search for one of our favourite dishes, Japanese ramen, for lunch. After finding Little Ramen Bar on Urbanspoon with an 87% rating, we walked in anticipation all the way there only to find out they are closed on Sundays! Our bad for not paying more attention. Where did we end up having lunch? Find out on the next blog! 😉

Melbourne: Dessert at Brunetti

Saturday, March 1, 2014 

After a delicious dinner at Bar Santo, Christine suggested that we have dessert at Brunetti (City Square).

She claimed it was one of the most popular dessert shops in Melbourne, how could we possibly say no? Actually, it never takes much convincing for me to agree to any form of dessert.

It was already 8:30pm by the time we arrived and the place was still buzzing with customers. (Photo below was taken the following afternoon)

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There was quite a decent selection to choose from, and I imagine there is even more variety during the day.

I found the layout of the dessert area of the shop a little frustrating and not conducive to both the customer and the staff. Customers just crowd in front of the display cases and when they’ve made up their mind, get the attention of one of the staff to put their order through. It would be much more orderly and perhaps quicker to have the cash to one side. That way, whenever anyone has looked at the selection and made up their mind, they can step to the side to order and free up room for someone else to step in and take a look.

We skipped out on gelato, coffee and other drinks but did get a few desserts, which were all extremely delicious!

Christine got a Tre Gusti with dark, milk and white chocolate mousse. The consistency was lovely and light, melting immediately in your mouth.

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Michael and I got the Rum Baba (back) and a slice of the pear and berry cheesecake (front, unsure of exact name).

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The Rum Baba was a delicate cake that had been soaked in rum/syrup. Although we were personally not fans of this one, we definitely appreciated the look and texture of this cake. In addition, it was neither overwhelmingly sweet nor contained too much rum. I’m sure there are many fans of the Rum Baba!

The cheesecake was fabulous. I loved that pear was the strongest flavour I could taste, which sometimes doesn’t happen in baked goods with pear. I remember the crust was neither too thick nor sweet and even had some chocolate chips. Overall, a very generous slice of not-too-sweet but wonderful cheesecake!

Brunetti is a lovely establishment to visit at any time of the day either by yourself or with company. There is a large selection of reasonably priced delicious desserts to choose from as well as savoury items and drinks. Plenty of seating area outside to watch the city go by as well. It’s too bad there isn’t a Brunetti in Brisbane, I would’ve loved to revisit again!

Brunetti on Urbanspoon

Melbourne: Dinner at Bar Santo

Saturday, March 1, 2014

So many restaurants to choose from along Fitzroy St by St Kilda beach, we probably should’ve done a little research before arriving, but not a problem! It was lovely to walk along the street and check out the menus and vibes of each restaurant.

With terrace dining (and not many empty seats), welcoming staff, $5 sangrias, and $20 mains, our decision was easy – Bar Santo for dinner!

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Christine happy to have her MCCEE over with!

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Sangria… cheers!

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As an appetizer we got a plate of calamari with garlic mayo ($12) to share but were too excited to take any photos. Calamari was good but mayo could’ve used a lot more flavour.

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Awaiting mains, which took what seemed like forever to arrive but when they did, they were piping hot. The menu on their website is not current, so unfortunately I don’t have the full names and descriptions of each dish.

For our main courses, Christine got the beef lasagna that came with a salad and chips. She thought it was quite tasty and it was certainly a generous portion.

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Michael decided on a smaller plate of mussels that came with a side of bread. Although the dish was nice, some mussels were quite chewy and he felt the sauce was plain and could’ve used more flavour and some kick.

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And for myself, the eggplant parmegiana, which was piping hot and delicious. However, the dish was a tad too oily for my liking and the salad would’ve been nicer with a little bit of dressing.

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It was overall an enjoyable experience with attentive service and tasty, reasonably priced food.  I would suggest Bar Santo to my friends; however, there are too many other fantastic looking restaurants in the area that I would like to check out before returning.

Bar Santo on Urbanspoon

Melbourne: Street art & galleries

Saturday, March 1, 2014

After our tea/coffee break, Mike and I went across the street to check out Hosier Lane and surroundings, known for it’s vibrant street art.

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Definitely a great opportunity for some photographs! Here are a few of my favourite shots.

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Really liked the boy and girl in this shot

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I can spend hours wandering through alleys like this observing the art and looking for hidden stories.

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Down below and up above, something interesting to see everywhere you look.

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Even garbage bins can be art

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Love him

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We then made a quick stop at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV). It was then we realized that there are actually NGV sites and the one we visited first (closest one to Federation Square) was of Australia.

We didn’t stay for long, but I really enjoyed looking through this room. Visitors took time to sit down and draw their version of Jan Senbergs’ “Show Us Your World”

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We then walked over the bridge, across Yarra River and passing by Flinders Street Station along the way.

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Enjoyed the view by the river and decided we would definitely walk along it later.

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Not too far away was the National Gallery of Victoria – International.

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Unfortunately, what we didn’t realize was the gallery closed at 5pm and it was already 4:30pm. That was alright! We did a quick walkthrough with plans to return tomorrow. I didn’t take many photos, but loved this stained glass ceiling.

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Christine met up with us shortly after 5pm to hang out for the evening. She agreed to a walk along Southbank Promenade by Yarra River, which was lovely with the view and enticing aromas of food from nearby restaurants.

We ended up stopping at Saké Restaurant & Bar to enjoy a drink. Christine and I had the smallest (but tasty) belinis we’ve ever seen while Mike really enjoyed a sake bomb.

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With the first pangs of hunger, we hopped on a tram towards St Kilda beach for dinner… read about it in our next post! 😀