Gontran cheered me up

I guess there’s no better indication that you have a new favourite cafe than finding yourself gravitating there 3 times in the past 5 days…

I was so excited when I found out a new French bakery was open just footsteps from my apartment. I even bought a beret for the occasion! (Just kidding, the beret was on sale). I love Gontran Cherrier’s pastries in his bakeries in Singapore but I wanted to see if they tasted different down under.

Here’s the run down:

The pastries are great. The croissant and pan au chocolat have a unique finish that set them apart from the usual. Visually, the pastries are matte, not glossy. But they are surprisingly crispy, and not greasy like pastries usually are. Toasted or at room temperature, they still taste amazing! If craving something more substantial, have it with ham and cheese *drool* 

The baguettes are also to die for – best toasted! Ask for some jam and butter on the side. You won’t regret it.

Brunch items! The squid ink burger with sriracha mayonnaise, free-range bacon and fried egg  was a interesting and creative twist to the classic breakfast burger – loved it. I also enjoyed the duck cassoulet with thick-cut bacon, fried eggs and toasted soughdough because it tasted like a french-infused version of baked beans/eggs.

Here’s the down side. The coffee isn’t great. I’ve tried their lattes, cappuccinos, mochas and chai lattes. They lack flavour almost as if they were watered down. Also, if you’re getting your drinks to go, be prepared to wait. I’ve noticed they only have one barista to attend to the dine in and takeaway orders.

That’s all for now!



It’s all about the bucket

Some people have a bucket list. I have a bucket dream – a dream to sit hugging a bucket full of fried chicken in front of the telly, eating my heart out and wearing the bucket like a crown of glory on completion. 

I blame America’s obsession for all things fried and the promulgation of American pop culture. One particular reference comes to mind, being the scene in Friends where Joey exclaims that he is going back to eating his bucket of fried chicken (skin – the meat was up for grabs).

So when a friend of mine said she had a hankering for comfort food and suggested we head to Belle’s diner in Fitzroy on Friday for dinner, I replied with a big fat yes.

We expected it to be crowded but for some reason (maybe the rain) that night there were 2 booths free at 7pm, We slid into one, ordered a couple of bevies and a side of macaroni and cheese (which was a special item that day), as we waited for our third.

Between three people who don’t have a preference for cut of chicken and a desire to make our money travel a bit further (and of course to fullfil my aforementioned dream), the obvious choice was the Baller Bucket, which includes 16 pieces of wings, 4 sides and sauces. Confident that we would be able to easily conquer the Baller Bucket, we tucked our napkins into our shirt collars, rubbed our hands together and waited eagerly. 

A glorious bucket of crispy, wonderfully seasoned, battered fried chicken was presented to us shortly after with the promised accompaniments. The tender chicken meat oozed a Tabasco like vinegar-ish chilli oil/sauce which cut through the fatty oily fried goodness. For those who are sticklers for the maintenance of chicken crispiness, you will be pleased to know the bottom of the bucket has a moisture absorber (opposite to Ross’s Moist Maker – yes I’m a Friends fan) to prevent such finger licking sauciness from causing sogginess. 

The sauces and the sides, in my opinion, are nothing to rave about. Which in my books is a good thing as they do not detract from the main event but are good enough for a little variety.

In full disclosure we did not finish the bucket: we only managed to get through a bit more than half the bucket (three each) so there was no crown presentation coronation style. If you are thinking, how big can chicken wings be? I’ve got a decent appetite, better than the three girls who only got through half the bucket, I’d smash that mother, think again. These chicken wings are big and filling. The Baller Bucket is a damn good deal for any group of 3-4 people.

Good value, good chicken. What more can you ask for? 


Kimcheese me

Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I feel like I this was big milestone in my “foodie development”. I have been in an apprenticeship under my older sister – who I consider to be the biggest foodie I know – since I moved to Melbourne two years ago. I diligently study her food choices and critiques, sometimes, she even lets me take charge. However, my meek efforts could never match up to her natural talent. But not today, today  I graduate.

Although by pure luck, I stumbled upon a photo on instagram of what looked like the perfect cross between a korean hot pot and a cheese fondue. It took my breath away, literally, I’m pretty sure I choked a little bit. I was determined to get my hands on this (excuse the expression) “cheesy jizz pot” in the middle of swotvac. #priorities amiright???

On a side note, I should probably give my boyfriend some credit here. He was actually the one who coined the term “cheesy jizz pot”, so if you found this slightly (or very) crude or offensive or impressed by how wildly accurate that description is, I will send all feedback his way.

So it turns out the actual name of this dish was a molten cheese pot. The main attraction is the tender american-style BBQ ribs and melted cheese (my guess is mozzarella). It comes with four side dishes – sweet potato mash, corn salad, Korean steamed egg and rice sticks. The ribs were cut into little bit sized pieces with beautiful tender meat (and cartilage!) that fell off the bone. The cheese wrapped around the ribs and surprisingly complemented the bbq flavour very well. I thought the sides offered a good variety of flavours, but they stood as separate entities rather than integrating with the mains. Lastly, after the ribs and cheese were devoured, we were served kimchi fried rice that was cooked in the same dish to mop up all the left-over cheese and sauce.

Arguably, it was not worth $56, but it was definitely a new dining experience if you’re getting bored of traditional korean food and bbq’s. Would I come back? Yes! Probably not on a regular basis, but when I’m feeling like I need a #treatyoself day.

It was only after I posted my dinner on snapchat, did I realize the magnitude of this discovery. Instead of the the usual “oh look, it’s Fran being annoying and showing off what she’s eating again”, I got genuine inquiries about what/where I was eating so they can get some asap! If I say so myself, this created some major hype on my snapchat of modest followings.

I believe a foodie in top form does not only dine at well known establishments, but also finds hidden gems in the most unexpected places – just like this deer-themed korean fusion cafe in a back alley in the cbd.

*virtual hugz*

My good friend Marion

Marion, being by the same people as Cutler & Co and Cumulus, was immediately placed on my must-try list when I heard of its opening.

Once I moved into the area, I knew I couldn’t face myself if I held off going any longer. Self pride on the line, I sauntered down to Marion one cold Friday night (you will notice most of my gastronomic expeditions celebrate TGIF moments) with my beloved mum and auntie.

It was a small and slightly noisy place, but intimate and low key – perfect for a Friday night wind down.

Side bar – I have a good friend named Marian, to whom I unsurprising exclaimed one day: ‘Marian we have to go to Marion!’

She had already been to Marion at that time. Nonetheless, here are the top reasons why Marion is my good friend:
Marion has on offer an impressive wine list (as expected of a wine bar). She will patiently wait as you peruse the list, offer advice when solicited, and pass no judgment if you streamline for cheapest bottles.
Marion is a grounded friend – she makes all dishes to share because she knows sharing and enjoying food with your loved ones is really what food is all about.
Marion is classy – She knows that a great housemade flat bread with dip, fresh thinly sliced duckfish ceviche, textured steak tartare with bursts of pickle and a side of crispy fries, perfectly medium rare wagu steak, falling off the bone duck paired with poached fruit and a wonderfully uplifting citrus radicchio salad – is all you need as simple food is good food.
And finally, Marion will be there for you till the end – she will serve a rhubarb stack with thin crisps and custard and a warm pot served pear pudding to make sure you leave on a high note.

So I invite you to join Marion for a good D&M over a bottle or two, with a few nibbles to facilitate that kombaya moment.


Anada hit da spot

Disclaimer: the following post is straight forward because it is no laughing matter how amazing anada is – its food speaks volumes and the only way for me to do it justice is to tell you to go and try the food yourself!

It was a Friday night. And like all Friday nights, no matter how tired you are, you feel like a fking celebration. And what better way than to have a Spanish tapas dinner with dear mummy. We ordered a bottle (it was a cold night… also, did I mention it was Friday?), perched ourselves up on a high table, and feeling like queens of the world, we ordered our hearts out. Scallops with something delicious and warm and crumbly sprinkled on top came first. Fresh and full of texture.
Eggplant with sherry vinegar and honey next. Crispy on the outside, velvety smooth and creamy on the inside.

Followed by octopus with potato crisps. Tender protein matched surprisingly well with mandoline-cut crispy fried potato

And the main event: Squid ink seafood paella. Wonderfully aldente, sea-to-plate freshness, earthy and warm and indulgent.

Dessert: Churros. Above average and deserving as the final act to wind up the savoury courses that preceded.

Having polished off the wine, we rolled out of Anada in blissful contentment.

An absolute must-try. Bookings essential. Perfect for an intimate meal.

Anada, I’ll be back.



What the Squid Ink Paella would have looked like if we didn’t eat it so fast… 

Source: http://www.goodfood.com.au/good-food/cook/recipe/prawn-squid-ink-and-bacon-paella-20140901-3enop.html