Sunday, May 31, 2015

Aqua S

If you are after a pretty looking ice cream to take photos of,  then Aqua S is the place for you. However, if you are after some good quality ice cream to satisfy your sweet tooth, this definitely isn't the place!

I ordered the sea salt and espresso ice cream and a cloud of candy floss as a topping. The sea salt ice cream was slightly salty and sweet and I couldn't figure out if it was meant to be savoury. The espresso ice cream was too sweet and I was left with a funny after-taste. A very generous serving of candy floss but it was tasteless.

Service: :star :star
Quality of food: :star :star
Value for money: :star :star :star

Type of venue: Dessert, Ice Cream

Worth a return visit? No.

Address: 501 George St, Sydney NSW 2000

Click to add a blog post for Aqua S on Zomato 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Mr. Wong

If you are after excellent Chinese you can't go wrong with Mr Wong in Sydney. It serves up beautifully delicious Chinese fare in a classy environment. Our only bug bear was they got our order for a small crab fried rice wrong and didn't do anything to fix it. They still charged us for the beef noodles and a large one at that. We had:

Sichuan style wagyu beef carpaccio with chilli oil and Chinese doughnut (AU$21) - A good upsell by our server when taking our order. Turned out to be an excellent choice as it was simply delicious. Slightly spicy, you can taste everything on this dish. Just make sure to get a little of everything in each mouthful.

Crispy eggplant with fish fragrant sauce (AU$24) - This is how perfect crispy eggplant should be. Beautifully crispy, it is a slightly oily fish but tasty indeed.

King crab and sweet corn fried rice, trout roe and crispy conpoy AU$22) - This is what we ordered but sadly did not get. Rice would have been a better option with the dishes we ordered and the small size would be perfect for two. We did see another table receive theirs and it looked wonderful.
Crispy fried Balmain bugs with spicy salt (AU$38) - Delicious salty bite sized morsels served golden and crispy.

Hong Kong style stir fried rice noodles with wagyu beef,  bean sprouts and garlic chives (large AU$28) - A good version of this but the large size was way too much for two especially with the other dishes ordered. Because it was oily as it should be, it did not go well with the other oily dishes we ordered.

Service: :star :star :star :star
Quality of food: :star :star :star :star  ½
Value for money: :star :star :star :star  ½

Type of venue: Chinese

Worth a return visit? Yes
Address: 3 Bridge Lane, Sydney 2000

Mr Wong on Urbanspoon

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Le Renaissance

One of my favourite cafes in Sydney. Great coffee and macarons. 
Rosewater and mandarin & milk chocolate macarons (AU$3 each)

Service: :star :star :star :star :star
Quality of food: :star :star :star :star :star 
Value for money: :star :star :star :star :star 

Type of venue: French, Bakery,  Dessert

Worth a return visit? Yes.

Address: 47 Argyle St, The Rocks NSW 2000

La Renaissance Cafe Patisserie on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


Butagumi specialises in tonkatsu and is about a 10 min walk from Roppongi Station. The menu is easy enough to follow; just choose based on how rich or flavourful you want it to be and whatever is available is highlighted in green. We had:

Croquette (¥350) - Crispy on the outside and deliciously creamy on the inside as it should be. The price is per piece.

Japanese sausage (¥600) - Certainly a high quality sausage served quite simply with a side of seeded mustard and pickles. Looks simple but tastes amazing.

Kagoshima-junsui-kuro-buta (¥3600) - Rich option from Kagoshima prefecture. It was nice but certainly drier and more steak-like. Required more chewing effort.

Meishan-ton (¥3800) - Super rich option from Ibaraki prefecture. So tender it melts in your mouth. Very rich and flavourful.

All sets come with miso soup, rice, slice cabbage and Japanese vegetable pickles. You also get a small appetiser to share and wonderful service as you do throughout Japan!

Service: :star :star :star :star :star 
Quality of food: :star :star :star :star :star
Value for money: :star :star :star :star :star 

Type of venue: Japanese,  Tonkatsu 

English menu: Yes.

Worth a return visit? Yes.

Address: 2-24-9 Nishiazabu, Minato, Tokyo 106-0031, Japan

#lategram #gastronomicgemsintokyo

Monday, May 25, 2015

Nakamura Tokichi

Nakamura Tokichi located in Kyoto Station is a popular dessert cafe offering plenty of green tea desserts sure to satisfy one's cravings. We had:

Matcha milk zenzai (¥871) - rice flour dumpling and sweet beans. Served in a bowl, the colour of the green tea soup was amazing. Smooth and slightly sweet, the red beans and rice flour were a nice textural element. It also came with a small side dish of pickles which we suppose acts a bit like salt and chocolate, helping to bring out the sweetness.

Nakamura's tea (¥481) - 7 blends of tea. Comes with an instruction sheet on how to have sweeter or more refreshing tea. It comes down to the temperature of the water and the sweeter tea (made by warm water) was nicer in our opinion.

Service: :star :star :star :star :star
Quality of food: :star :star :star :star :star 
Value for money: :star :star :star :star :star

Type of venue: Japanese,  Green tea,  Dessert

English menu: Yes.

Worth a return visit? Yes.

Address: Suvaco JR Kyoto Isetan, 2nd and 3rd fl. (in front of the west ticket gate of JR Kyoto Station)

#lategram #gastronomicgemsinkyoto

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Brother Burger and The Marvellous Brew

After coming back from a couple of weeks away in Hong Kong and Japan, we were craving something Western; meaty, rich and cheesy.  Brother Burger and The Marvellous Brew in South Yarra opened recently and we were excited to give it a go. The restaurant itself is quite large with comfy booths and seats with an open kitchen. We had:

Hot stuff (AU$14.80)- 100% Wagyu beef patty, double bacon, cheese, house-made pickles, mustard-mayo and chilli jam - Certainly one of the better burgers out there. The patty was cooked perfectly medium rare, the bacon crispy and it was cheesy and juicy. A few slices of jalapeño on the side was a nice touch.

Royal blue (AU$15.80)- 100% Wagyu beef patty, blue cheese, bacon, house-made onion jam, pickles and ketchup - If you like blue cheese, this burger is certainly for you. Strong blue cheese flavour throughout and again, the patty was cooked perfectly. Delicious!

Thick chips (AU$5.60) - This was the small size and it was enough for two or three people. Very nice chunky super sized chips. Will try the onion rings next time.

Service: :star :star :star :star
Quality of food: :star :star :star :star :star 
Value for money: :star :star :star :star :star 

Type of venue: Burgers

Worth a return visit? Yes.

Address: 560 Chapel Street, South Yarra

Brother Burger and the Marvellous Brew on Urbanspoon

Bo Innovation

Bo Innovation (Three Michelin Stars) is certainly one of the best places to dine in the world. We first ate here in 2011 (after Anthony Bourdain had featured this pl) and even then it was already a pretty special place, full of creativeness. Fast forward several years and it has gained two extra stars, evident by the excellent service and creativeness on offer. We both had the Chef's Menu featuring (Total bill including drinks and coffee: HK$2321):

Typical bread and butter was replaced by a savoury spring onion egg waffle (gai daan jai). Excellent start, it looked and tasted great.

Scallop with Shanghainese "jolo", woba, sugar snap peas, avocado, lemon - A very good first course. Fresh and zingy, the Hokkaido scallops were huge and tasty.

Umami with toro, "wok air" powder, mixed noodles - The glass noodles were seasoned well with the dried shrimp oil. It brought out the taste and richness of the toro.

Molecular "cha siu bao" - Imagine the best bbq pork bun you have ever had, except no chewing required. Dissolves in your mouth and you can taste the deliciously complex flavours.

Foie gras with "mui choy" caramel ice cream, green apple - Extremely rich as you have a generous serving of foie gras complemented extremely well with the slightly salty ice cream and sweetness from the green apple. Extremely well thought out, it is heaven in every mouthful.

Mao tai with hawthorn, lemongrass, passionfruit - A nice aromatic palate cleanser. Quite a fun playful way of serving it in the interesting drinking cup.

Red mullet with yuzu, black bean, black garlic, mullet roe - Red mullet served skin and scales on. Visually appealing, it is crispy and delicious with the sauces really complementing it. The chilli smells spicy but isn't spicy at all.

Langoustine with black truffle, cauliflower risotto, salty duck egg sauce, pickled cauliflower, English mustard foam, duck jus - Not only a pretty looking dish, the langoustine was sweet and went well with the lightly salty duck egg sauce.

Saga-gyu beef with black truffle, "cheung fun" braised with soy sauce, taro - Meltingly tender beef with a deliciously light truffle sauce. The cheung fun was an interesting textural component. 

Dried mandarin peel chocolate fondant, yuzu ice cream, orange "lady's finger", mandarin coulis - Sadly, this was the last course. A nice finish with the slightly citrusy fondant. Nice interplay between sour and sweet.

Service: :star :star :star :star :star
Quality of food: :star :star :star :star :star 
Value for money: :star :star :star :star :star 

Type of venue: Modern Chinese

English menu: Yes.

Worth a return visit? Yes.

Address: 60 Johnston Rd, Wan Chai,  Hong Kong

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Tai Cheong Bakery (泰昌餅家)

Egg tarts are quite a popular dessert in Asian countries. Although they are easy to find, only a few are worthy of praise. We previously mentioned that the best one is probably from Spice Temple in Melbourne although quite an expensive one at that. While we were in Hong Kong, we tried:

Tai Cheong Bakery (泰昌餅家)  -  biscuity pastry with a slightly sweet egg custard filling. It was ok. Not the best but certainly above average.

Service: :star :star :star :star :star
Quality of food: :star :star :star
Value for money: :star :star :star :star :star 

Type of venue: Bakery,  Dessert

English menu: Yes.

Worth a return visit? No.

Address: G/F, 35 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central

Honolulu Coffee Shop (檀島咖啡餅店)

Egg tarts are quite a popular dessert in Asian countries. Although they are easy to find, only a few are worthy of praise. We previously mentioned that the best one is probably from Spice Temple in Melbourne although quite an expensive one at that. While we were in Hong Kong, we tried:

Honolulu coffee shop (檀島咖啡餅店) - our favourite version in HK so far. Flaky pastry with a wonderful egg custard filling. Freshly baked and eaten with HK style hot milk tea (it was very strong but loved it). Perfect afternoon tea snack.

Service: :star :star :star :star :star 
Quality of food: :star :star :star :star :star 
Value for money: :star :star :star :star :star

Type of venue: Bakery,  Dessert, Breakfast

English menu: Yes.

Worth a return visit? Yes.

Address: G/F & Mezz Floor, 176-178 Hennessy Rd., Wan Chai

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


Located down some stairs off a side street is Nakajima (One Michelin Star). Famous for their sardines, this is a perfect place for sardine lovers and is surely one of the cheapest Michelin Starred places in the world. Come for lunch if you are after something cheap but just be prepared to queue up. As with most places, dinner tends to be more a more elaborate and expensive affair. We had:

Sardine lunch set (¥800) - Quite a small but delicious meal. You get two pieces of fish, miso soup, rice, pickles and hot green tea with your meal. The sardine is prepared quite simply and is wonderfully sweet, oily and rich. Sardine can be a little difficult to eat for the uninitiated so you may choose to have the sashimi option instead.

Service: :star :star :star :star :star 
Quality of food: :star :star :star :star :star 
Value for money: :star :star :star :star :star

English menu: Yes.

Type of venue: Japanese,  Sardine

Worth a return visit: Yes.

Address: 3-32-5 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo


Tamawarai (One Michelin Star) is located in a residential area. We got there just before opening time and were the first ones there. However, some had made reservations and pre-ordered what they wanted so the popular items had already sold out. We had:

Tofu (¥700) - Soft creamy goodness topped with soy milk skin. Quite a simple but tasty appetiser.

Baked Miso (¥600) - Did not know what to expect. Always thought of miso as in a sauce or soup. This version has a charred and crispy outside and baking it brings out a nice aroma and flavour.

Soba Topped With Natto (¥1500) - Simple but very well prepared soba with perfect texture and bite to it. The addition of Natto is not for everyone as it has a slimy texture akin to okra. Simply mix everything together and it is almost like a soba salad.

Soba With Grated Daikon Radish (¥1300) - Again, the soba was simply amazing. Perfect texture and so simple with hot soba "tea" to complete the meal. This version is what most will be familiar with. Just a simple dipping sauce for the soba noodles and you can add the radish and bonito flakes as you wish.

Service: :star :star :star :star  ½
Quality of food: :star :star :star :star :star
Value for money: :star :star :star :star :star

Type of venue: Soba, Japanese

Worth a return visit? Yes.

Address: 5-23-3 Jingumae Shibuya-ku, Tokyo


We had heard about Yoshihashi Sukiyaki (One Michelin Star) a while ago and it was on our to-eat list. We were worried about there possibly being a long queue of eager patrons but thankfully it was an hour or so before closing time (lunch session) and we were pretty much the only people there at the time. It soon filled up with some wealthier Japanese though. Talk about good timing.

Please note that for some reason, unfortunately this is one of the few places where foreigners are not really welcome. We felt a little uneasy when we were greeted at the entrance and are not sure if it is a new policy because of some incident involving foreigners, but we were shown a laminated card that said you must be accompanied by someone who is fluent in Japanese if you wish to dine there. Maybe too many questions were asked about the Japanese-only menu or people were too boisterous/loud or it could even be the usage of phones as there was also a no-mobile phone policy in place.

We suppose we managed to get in and be served as we were not rude in any way and were quick to point out that we were there for only one thing (showed her photo of sukiyaki set on phone). The waitress was most polite and even though she spoke to us in Japanese, helped us out in the end. The service was definitely top notch but the earlier incident at the entrance did put us off a little. We had:

Sukiyaki beef lunch set - You are served a small serving of pickles, a small bowl with a raw egg in which to use as a dipping sauce, steamed rice, miso soup and a copper pot filled with thin slices of beef, chrysanthemum greens, tofu, mushrooms and onion. It was very generous, extremely tasty and very good value for such a wonderful upmarket establishment. The beef was succulent, meltingly tender and full of flavour. Everything was prepared and cooked beautifully. However, if you don't speak/read Japanese, it will be most difficult for you to order anything else. Time to learn Japanese?

Service: :star :star :star :star ½
Quality of food: :star :star :star :star :star
Value for money: :star :star :star :star :star 

Type of venue: Sukiyaki,  Japanese

English menu: No.

Worth a return visit? Yes (If we can master Japanese by then.)

Address: 1-5-25 Motoakasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Uoriki Kaisen Sushi (魚力海鮮寿司)

Uoriki Kaisen Sushi (魚力海鮮寿司) is a small sushi bar located on the "food hall" floor of the Shibuya Tokyu Department Store. You may be tempted to get something from the various stalls in the food hall but trust us, Uoriki Kaisen Sushi is a must try and rates very highly on some of the best sushi we have ever had. Besides, you can always buy some fresh mochi for dessert after. We had:

Large boiled conger eel (¥500 each) - Large it is. Tastes amazing, succulent and meltingly soft.

Fatty tuna/otoro (¥500 each) - Such good value. Simply divine and so meltingly soft that chewing isn't really necessary.

Horse mackerel (¥160 each) - Nice colour on the skin, bluish green and good flavour to it.

Abalone (¥500 each) - Again, simple and delicious. Served with a small piece of the gonad on top.

Boiled octopus (¥160 each) - No idea how the octopus remains so tender. So simple and yet a nice subtle flavour and not much chewing required.

Uni (¥300 each) - Fresh and so deliciously creamy and sweet. A must try for those who haven't had it before.

Service: :star :star :star :star :star 
Quality of food: :star :star :star :star :star 
Value for money: :star :star :star :star :star

Type of venue: Japanese, Sushi 

English menu: Yes.

Worth a return visit? Yes.

Address: B1 Tokyu Department Store, 2-24-1 Shibuya

Friday, May 8, 2015

Tim Ho Wan

Tim Ho Wan in IFC has no queues unlike the original outlet which had since closed however service here is average and the bbq pork buns did not look perfect. Just tick off what you want to have on the order form and it is promptly delivered to your table. We had:

Baked bun with BBQ pork (HK$20) - their signature buns are crispy and biscuity with a slightly sweet bbq pork filling. Quite delicious and is served piping hot.

Steamed rice rolls stuffed with pig's liver (HK$21) - Pillowy soft and smooth, the metallic taste of the liver isn't overpowering but there is certainly no mistaking what you are eating. Quite nice if you enjoy offal.

Osmanthus and goji berry cake (Hk$12) - Chinese style jelly that is cooling and refreshing. Quite sweet but not sickly.

Service: :star :star ½
Quality of food: :star :star :star :star
Value for money: :star :star :star :star ½

English menu: Yes.

Type of venue: Yum Cha, Chinese

Worth a return visit? Yes/Maybe

Address: Shop 12A, Hong Kong Station (Podium Level 1, IFC Mall) , Central, ifc mall

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Yat Lok Restaurant

This was our second eating stop of the evening. We are debating whether to put up number 3 as Mrs doesn't like the photo. It was basically a Triple O's burger from our favourite food hall in Hong Kong, located in Pacific Place. 

Anyway, Yat Lok Restaurant (One Michelin Star) was our second stop after just landing in HK 2 hours earlier. Famous for its roast meats especially the goose, it draws in a steady stream of patrons. They had just run out of the famous goose drumstick noodles so we had:

Goose on rice ($50) - Not all the pieces had crispy skin but the goose was tender and delicious, with the seasoning and sauce really complementing it. One of the best goose versions out there.

Barbecue pork on rice (HK$50) - Slices of salty sweet tender pork that will certainly be one of the best you will have in your life. Mouth watering goodness indeed.

Service: :star :star :star :star ½
Quality of food: :star :star :star :star 
Value for money: :star :star :star :star

Type of venue: Chinese

English menu: Yes.

Worth a return visit? Yes.

Address: G/F, 34—38 Stanley Street,  Central,  Hong Kong