Monday, June 10, 2013

Bali is in the North so I reckon it counts :-)

The first few days of a 14-day holiday in Bali. 
Rather than start a whole new blog, I thought I'd piggy back onto this one as all holidays are about food - aren't they???

5th of June
Our first night was spent in Kuta at the Mega Grand Resort and Spa Hotel. We arrived at about 8:45pm so, staying nearby made sense.
Our driver took us to a warung where we could get a bite on the way to the hotel.
Unfortunately, no photos of the food this time but some lovely photos of the hotel room to follow (when we can extract them from the camera).
I've switched to the iPhone now as it is more portable and we can load the photos straight away, thanks to a little shop in Ubud called "Zoom" where we actually got a genuine iPhone 5 accessory!

6th of June
After a beaut breakfast, we thought we'd cross the road to a mini mart and get some bottled  water. OMG! 6 lanes full of traffic with no gaps (bemos, buses, cars, 4wd and many, many motorbikes and scooters). We watched a local step out with his arm raised to the side, palm facing the traffic, making a calming motion. The traffic slowed and he made his way across the whole road that way. We weren't confident and continued to wait.
At some point the locals took pity on us and one of the traffic controllers for the hotel crossed half way and blew his whistle to slow the traffic so we could cross.

At 11am, we were collected by Nyoman, a local man from Ubud who drove us from Kuta to the Ananda Cottages Hotel where we were to stay for our first three days in Ubud.
The photos of the food from the first 2 days were taken on the camera, so same story as before. 
We had a beautiful bungalow with an open-air bathroom. 
The bath was big enough for two :-)
There was also a spacious balcony where we ate breakfast each day. Some photos:

King sized bed and couch
our balcony

a bath for two

and a rice paddy view!
I'll pop some photos of the food we had a the restaurant here later.

7th to 9th of June
Some photos of breakfast at Ananda cottages Hotel. 

breakfast is usually included with your room in Bali and always includes a plate of fruit and tea or coffee
nasi goreng with a fried egg was a favourite for us

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Java Spice Cafe Emporium

What a treat this place is!
It has become a firm favourite now.
I decided to inquire about a high tea for mum's 70th. At $35 per head it was very good value as it included bottomless espresso coffee as well as hot chocolate, chai latte and leaf tea.
The food comprised sandwiches for the savoury element, a birthday cake topped with rose cupcakes, mini tarte tatins in apple & sultana as well as quince & slivered almonds. There were also chocolate fudge brownies. The table was decorated with strings of pearls, tealights and pink bonbonieri.
As usual upon arrival, each guest was given water and a cool damp towel to refresh themselves.

an overview of the lovely table and food

the birthday cake
rose cupcakes!

mini tarte tatins and fudge brownies with triple-decker sandwiches below
As a friend reminded me, you need to choose somewhere special for such an occasion. When I called to confirm, Moya told me that she had made the quince tarte tatins especially for mum's birthday tea. The birthday cake was not ordered, it came with the tea and the staff, after finding out my mum's name first, sang happy birthday to her.
The staff were attentive but not intrusive and a good time was had by all.
My only feedback would be - stronger leaf tea and a little more variety in the savoury elements of the food.

Roma Bar

Well, I haven't been to the Roma Bar in years.
It was once one of a handful of places in Darwin where you could get good coffee and the food was pretty good too.
My mum turned 70 the other day so we had a day long celebration starting with breakfast here.
Mum had the vego breakfast 

while her friend had the eggs royal

and I had eggs benedict.

The coffee was great and the service friendly. Funky music in the background and the space is light and cool. Great value for money too, I'll be going back :-)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Cove

No pics, sorry.

Went to the new restaurant at the Casino's new resort on Monday the 7th of January.

I found the atmosphere a bit lacking - bright white lighting and angular furniture; and the french doors were closed so there was no view of the lagoon pool - just reflections.

The menu has a good variety of protein choices and an interesting vegetarian selection - including one dish with mushroom "soil". The food was either very good or a bit mediocre.

My sister had the pork cheek ravioli entree followed by the beef entree. The latter looked like a stir fry despite there being no mention of noodles on the menu and tasted of keens curry powder. 
My Mum had the prawn cocktail with mango jelly, avocado and pumpernickel & smoked salmon bites. 6 large prawns were the feature. I'd like to try it if I go again.
You can order different oysters individually, the kilpatrick were ordinary - some sort of "kilpatrick sauce" (?) was used. 
My partner ordered the chowder - or should I sat WOWder! It was lovely and creamy but felt light and fresh at the same time - delish! 

For the main we both had the "Sea & Earth", yes, you guessed it, the surf & turf option. Eye fillet, prawns and bearnaise sauce. The steak was cooked very well.

Desserts ordered and sampled were:
the "floating" pavlova with lychee jelly and white sangria sauce - boring except for the basil and lime sorbet which was FABULOUS!
the prune pudding - aka sticky date pudding-like thing, very yummy.
ginger bread brulee with rhubarb compote, rhubarb sticks and glass biscuit - quite delectable and delicious and I'd have it again. The rhubarb was so nice and tart. Not sure where the glass biscuit was unless it was the sprinkling of white sugar powder on the rhubarb "sticks"?

The wine list had some nice offerings of each variety and we had Salinger by the glass to start with; which I followed with a Temperanillo from SA. 

Atmosphere          5/10 (maybe nicer for lunch?)
Wine list               7/10
Food                     7/10 (some of it was 4/10)
Value for money    7/10
Service                  7/10

Monday, January 14, 2013

the rest of 2012

Ok to wrap up the last year and start fresh here goes:

Buzz cafe's Barra in beurre blanc sauce was moist and delicious :-)
Not sure about the atmosphere here these days, needs a bit of a revamp/spruce up.
The service was pretty good.
Can't remember the wine list.
Oh, any one else hate main courses with no sides? Seems to be the thing these days, I just find it fussy and annoying - as well as more expensive!

Christo's seafood is still very good. Darned hard to find the restaurant though! It's tucked away at the back of the shops at Tipperary waters. Outdoor dining on a breezy boardwalk. I had the battered jew fish and my dining buddy had the marinara. Both dishes were delicious. The batter on my fish was light and crispy and the marinara had large tender pieces of seafood in it. A nice simple wine list and excellent service - old school stuff by the young woman who is the head waiter there.

Did I ever mention my love of Cornucopia? For breakfast in particular. There have been occasions of late where the food hasn't met all of its high standards - I guess that's due to staff changes and not renewing leases etc. Anyway, the morning I went it was all good. The location is wonderful and the atmosphere's really nice. The eggs and mushrooms were cooked beautifully.

I also went to two of the Vietnamese restaurants here - Ruby and Saigon Star. At both places I had noodle salads. At Ruby (on the left) I had the beef noodle salad with lemongrass and ginger; and at the Saigon Star I had a noodle salad with crispy pork. The small bowls did contain yummy stuff to pour over the salads - I forgot to take a photo before doing that :-). Ruby is better value for money with a much larger meal for only $2 more. Oh, and the salads at Ruby are only on the lunch menu.

And of course, the Cool Spot and what it does best! The iced milk drinks and the excellent, locally made Lo Castro ice cream :-D

An extra note about the Cool Spot, I think they may have a new chef as the food has gone from being consistent but mediocre to consistently very good. Not one rotting salad leaf and the barramundi, chips and salad meal is fantastic!

I won SECOND prize for my chocolate cake at the Darwin Show in 2012 :-) 
Now for FIRST!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

May 2012

Well, with the Royal Darwin Show fast approaching, I have realised that I haven't blogged for many months now. As the deliciously juicy and tender beef "sartee" at the show 2 years ago prompted me to begin, perhaps I'll hitch my blogging little red wagon to that event again and get re-inspired!
I'll also be entering my chocolate cake in attempt to capture the elusive first prize - having attained a third last year (photo below of my trial run for this year).

I have quite a few photos from dining experiences over the intervening months, perhaps I'll do a mega post to finish those months off and start fresh....

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Il Piatto - pizza, wine and the sunset

On Friday the 24th we went to Il Piatto with the sole purpose of enjoying what they do well. That is pizza, ambience and a view of the sunset.
The wine list had some nice selections on it so we had Jansz schparkling and 9th Island Pinot Gris to follow. Both were delicious.

We had one of each of the 5 pizzas on offer between the 6 of us and that worked really well. We also had some desserts.

The bases of all of the pizzas are light and crisp and obviously made on site.
The quattro stagioni, or 4 seasons was perhaps a favourite, the ham was moist and had really good flavour.

The margherita was divine in its simplicity. Fresh tomatoes, basil and cheese.

We also had the quattro formaggi (4 cheeses). Some delicious goat cheese and three others made a really luscious pizza topping.

The salami on the siciliana really stood out as a quality ingredient, it was tender and had a nice amount of garlic in it.

I didn't have the frutti di mare (seafood) one but it was all really big pieces of seafood - mussels, clams, prawns and fish - with no cheese just lots of fresh tomato sauce.

The desserts were delicious as well. I didn't get photos of all of them but the almond parfait and the three scoops of home made ice cream were real winners! I would also recommend the pistachio panna cotta with strawberry sheets, caramelised pop corn and saffron anglaise. The stand out dessert for me, however, were the the lemon curd donuts.

Caf Parap

On the 10th of June my work colleagues and I did our yearly team-building cycle. This year our destination was Caf Parap for brunch.

I'd not been there before, it's on Parap Road near where the old Tai Hung Tol was.

I'd heard it was very small, but we got there to find they had recently expanded, so our group of twelve fit well.

The menu has a great variety of sweet and savoury breakfast/brunch dishes. They make all of their own pastries, bit of a French influence going on. Their coffee is good and they serve loose leaf tea in pots for one, two or three.

The dish that was highly recommended was the french toast and it didn't disappoint! It is served with banana and mango. The toast itself is fruit toast, so the combination of the spices in it with the warm fruits was really lovely.

I had the short stack of pancakes with berry coulis and creme anglaise. To my delight, the berry coulis also had some lovely tart rhubarb in it.

There were also some fabulous club sandwiches that a couple of colleagues couldn't finish they were so generous. I suspect that if we hadn't been cycling back to work, those sandwiches would have done for lunch too!
There were so many options with eggs, from fancy eggs like eggs benedict to eggs how you want them with an enormous range of add-on sides.
One colleague chose haloumi, tomatoes and spinach to go with hers.

Another colleague went totally vegan with her choice of a combination of sides, including farmhouse potatoes, mushrooms, avocado and spinach.

The ambience was a bit bright and noisy, but the food is awesome! I'm looking forward to working my way through the menu :-)

Friday, June 3, 2011


Last Sunday I went to Hom. It's across Mitchell Street from the Tap bar.
The restaurant has lovely soft ambient lighting combined with wood patterned laminated tables. The menu offers a good variety of dishes, but I must admit, I was there for one thing only, the Nasi Goreng. I had heard it was just like they serve it in Bali.
I was not disappointed, it was delicious! It came complete with a fried egg on top. You can choose what meat you'd like through it, I had chicken in mine and it was tender and well-cooked.
They have a small selection of wines by the glass, I had a tasty Sauvignon Blanc.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Wild Oats Wine Maker's Dinner at Bogart's

On Wednesday the 25th of May I went to a wine maker's dinner. There were 8 courses and 7 wines. Phew, hard work but someone's got to do it!

To start the evening off, we had a glass of Semillon Sauvignon Blanc.

Ok, the first two courses were queen bouche and eggplant caviar, they were served with a Sauvignon Blanc.
The queen bouche comprised a pastry casing filled with capsicum marmalade topped with grilled goat cheese. The rich sweetness of the capsicum marmalade was well combined with the creamy, slightly salty goat cheese. The eggplant caviar was a delicious mix of eggplant, garlic, cumin and olives - it had a lovely smooth texture.

The next two courses were prawn tartare and spanish mushroom. They were served with the Rose and the Pinot Grigio.
The prawn tartare was marinated in lime juice, coconut milk, red onion and green chilli. It was tender and slightly spicy and went very well with the Rose. Corn chips and prawn tartare = winner combination of texture and flavour.
The spanish mushroom was really delicious, there were seared red emperor slices atop a field mushroom with chorizo cream (and a bit of mash!). The flavours in the dish went really well with the pinot grigio. We all agreed that the Pinot Grigio would stand alone as a quaffing wine too!

Courses 5 and 6 were an eye fillet carpaccio served with Temperanillo and cajun lamb cutlet served with a Cabernet Sauvignon.
The carpaccio had black pepper and capers with it and a generous amount of good olive oil. The slices were wafer thin and wonderfully tender. The Temperanillo was a lovely surprise, fruity and light, another very good quaffing wine!
The cajun lamb fillet was absolutely delightful, tender and juicy and lightly coated in a delicious mix of spices. It came with a yoghurt sweet chilli sauce on the side.

Course 7 was dessert! A creme brulee topped with Grand Marnier, served with a Traminer. The brulee was gorgeously silky and the wine had delicious fruit, they went really well together.

The last course was the cheese course, served with Shiraz.