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: 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! 😀

Melbourne: Chinatown, Alleys, & Federation Square

Saturday, March 1, 2014

After a filling and delicious lunch at Shanghai Street, we took a leisurely stroll through Chinatown.

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A few weeks ago, a friend told us about a neat bar he stumbled upon in one of the random alleyways off Chinatown. He couldn’t tell us what is was called or where it was, but he said it was a cool ‘nerdy’ bar that’s set up similar to a science lab with drinks being served out of flasks and test tubes. He also said it’s at the end of the sketchiest alleyway you might find and that we should definitely try to find it.

So this was the first random alley we decided to check out…

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Love the art, although there was not another soul in sight

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Turned the corner to what looked to be a dead end

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And what do you know? We found it, called The Croft Institute! Haha, what a coincidence. Unfortunately, it was still too early and wasn’t opened yet.

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Really liked this

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Leaving Chinatown to head into Federation Square!

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Liked this view of the tram and old architecture

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In the atrium at Federation Square. Little sales going on and cafes to take a break at.

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We headed into the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI)

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Fun going through the history of moving image!

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Outside, Federation Square. Many people passing through, hanging out, visiting nearby attractions

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Now middle afternoon, we took a quick break in the atrium at In a Rush Espresso to recharge before continuing on 😉

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Portugese tart, iced tea and fresh fruit juice

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The adventure will continue in the next blog, thanks for reading! 🙂

Melbourne: Markets, Boats, & Books

Saturday, March 1, 2014

With the MCCEE behind him and after 24 hours of crummy viral gastroenteritis, Michael was luckily feeling much better. Finally going out to see Melbourne!

Started the day with some coffee before hitting Queen Victoria Market. Hey handsome 🙂

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The market was very large with a lot of produce and products, however, we both found it lacking in character.

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One of our favourite markets is Eumundi Market and we were hoping it would be more along that vibe. We weren’t interested in shopping, so I’m sure there are many people who would like this market a lot more than we did. It would also be a different story if we lived in Melbourne, because we’d definitely buy our fruits and vegetables from here.

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However, we enjoy markets for their sights and smells, especially for the food. There were a few shops within the market and a small food court off the main market. We ended up enjoying some dutch pancakes for late breakfast ($9.50, a little pricey). Didn’t eat much because planning on having lunch soon!

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Would we visit Queen Victoria Market again? Don’t think so, only if it was to buy groceries!

We then hopped on the free tram and headed down to Melbourne Docklands to walk along the marina and check out the surroundings.

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A lot of development going on in the area, I particularly liked the purple windows of these new buildings.

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Wouldn’t it be nice to own a yacht? 😛

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It was morning so many of the restaurants weren’t opened yet, but would definitely love to come back down here during the evening and have a meal by the water!

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Melbourne Star Observation Wheel just a few minutes away

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We were soon back on the free tram and headed back into the CBD. Our next stop was the State Library of Victoria, we loved it!

What a great atmosphere. People hanging out. Red beanbags scattered across the lawn.

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The architecture was beautiful, I would study so hard in a library like this.

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The facilities were great. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a library packed with people of all ages – studying, browsing, hanging out, on the computer, etc. There’s even a chess room!

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There were also a number of galleries to check out. And the best part? Free for everyone!

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Aaand time for a lunch break! Read about it in my next post, thanks for visiting!

Melbourne: Quest on Dorcas

Mike and I were in Melbourne for the MCCEE on Friday, February 28th. Poor Mike got gastroenteritis the night before his exam and wrote it in horrible discomfort. As for myself, the MCCEE deserves its own blog post, which I will be writing at a later date.

During our time in Melbourne (Feb 26 – March 02), we stayed at Quest on Dorcas, serviced apartments right off St Kilda Rd by the Shrine of Remembrance. And we highly recommend!

Well equipped, lovely, and clean apartments. Quiet, comfortable, and close to the tram station with everything we needed nearby. Staff were hospitable and we were actually upgraded on arrival. We had absolutely no complaints regarding our stay, however, it would be nice to have free wifi and/or newer TVs so we could load watch own entertainment via USB. Thank you Dorcas for a great stay! We will definitely choose you again if ever in Melbourne!

Here are a few photos of our apartment:

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Stayed in the first couple of nights in order to focus on studying. Right after we checked in, we walked to the nearest Coles in order to stock up on groceries and the apartment had everything we needed to make our meals. Our only suggestion would be to have better knives please, it’s hard to cut veggies and fruit with serrated knives!

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The view of Eureka Skydeck 88 from our apartment

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And the lovely night view of CBD

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We didn’t actually go out to see Melbourne until the weekend, those posts coming up! 😀 Thank you for reading and definitely keep Dorcas in mind if you are looking for a place to stay. It is also extremely walkable to the CBD and all attractions 🙂