Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Espresso & Matcha's Saporous Expedition - Sydney: Noodle Night Markets


Not gonna say too much in this post, but rather wanted to share some of the photos I took of the noodle night market in Sydney when we last went. Unfortunately it had rained most of the day, so that impacted the environment a little bit. It also didn't help that we went out just before it was due to close because my afternoon nap went a little too long...











Chicken skewers from Hoy Pinoy were as good as always, sweet with glaze and sticky with honey. Made for an excellent start to our meal.



Satay chicken wraps had a surprising amount of veges in them, and were far more refreshing than I had anticipated. The satay was wonderfully nutty, and the chicken was tender. I liked the doughy pancakes that they were wrapped in.



Although we could get them in Brisbane too, there is no substitute for hot chips on a cool night, so we settled for some extra long fries from harajuku gyoza. The fries were no doubt long, but tasted very processed (as expected), but were still crunchy and satisfying, especially when topped with kewpie mayonnaise.


Fries = Love





 

Perhaps next year I'll get to hit up the Melbourne markets too...

Monday, 15 January 2018

Revisit: Golden Lane - Sunnybank


Was recently invited by Golden Lane to try out their Yumcha offerings with The Tomcat Family. With my sub par experience last time, I thought it would be a nice opportunity to see if their standards had improved.


Our first concern for the day was the apparent lack of organisation. Despite receiving written invitation from the owner, staff were not informed of this, which resulted in considerable confusion and also a very long wait for a table on our part.


At the very least, I was able to be distracted by watching the chefs making the dim sim dishes.




After a considerable wait, we were finally given a table. Like last time, the table cloth didn't get changed upon our arrival, but at least they had a fresh, clean piece of paper on top.


Trolleys were kept to a minimum, so we ordered via tick sheet. After last time, I noted that the variations were substantially increased and a lot more standard fare was included in the menu.

 

As usual, there were also options for larger dishes of rice or noodles when something more substantial is required.


Kicked off the meal with a pot of Jasmine Tea. It was boiling hot, but the fragrance was still lacking, even after sitting for a while.


First to arrive from our orders was the steamed dishes.


This was the Siu Mai. It came sprinkled with crab roe on top. Presentation was somewhat deficient, but the flavours were reasonable, and the crab roe was quite crunchy.


Next up were prawn dumplings, which I found to be a little overcooked, and the skin erred on the thicker side.


We also had a serve of custard buns. Unlike the steamed dumplings, they weren't as warm as we would have liked, and the buns could have been a little fluffier, but the custard was reasonably smooth and sweet.


Next up we had a dish of roast duck. Sadly this was a bit disappointing, in the fact that it came cold, and was mostly just bony parts of the back, without any thigh or breast fillets, nor was the skin crispy at all. 


Fried foods and pastries came up next, and we had hoped this would be better.



Started off with one of my all time favourites, deep fried taro dumplings. Bit into it to find the dumpling merely lukewarm, and the fillings to be quite lacking.


Next up was Tomcat's favourite, deep fried eggplant with gravy. Whilst it was deepfried, the batter wasn't overly thick, but nor was it crispy. The gravy had a good texture though and clung to the eggplant to give it the needed flavours.


Next up were the pan fried dumplings. They were caramelised quite well, not overdone and not underdone, but the skin was very thick, and the fillings lacked the prerequisite soup. 


Next up we had the deep fried prawn tofu wraps, served with the standard fruit salad and sweet mayonnaise. The serve was pretty standard, tofu skin was thin and reasonably crispy. Sauce was as always a little too sweet for me, so I brushed most of it off, but it was reasonably enjoyable.


Last but not least of the pastry dishes, was the ever popular egg tart. From the sinking of the custard, you can already tell that these were not freshly baked, as they usually puff up or at least lie flat when they come out of the oven. I found them to be a little underdone, as the pastry needed a little more browning, but texture and sweetness levels were sufficient.


Next up we had a dish of stir fried turnip cake. It was definitely different from the usual pan fried serving, being considerably larger, and spicier. In fact it was so spicy that I found it covered the taste of turnip and meats in the turnip cake, but I have to admit, the crunch was a novel touch.


After the novelty of the stir fried turnip cake, we wanted something more traditional, so we got the rice paper rolls. 


First up was the beef rice paper rolls, and although the skin could have been a little thinner, there was a certain homey comfort to eating them. The beef was well seasoned and tender, and the skin whilst thick was still reasonably soft.


Next up was the pan fried rice noodle. Compared to the steamed one, this clearly lacked the element of softness, and there weren't enough toppings in it to provide sufficient taste to the rolls.


From the rice and noodle menu, we had two dishes, first up was the signature Golden Lane Fried Rice. The portion size was considerable, and we were impressed, but toppings were a little limited, but supplemented by dark soy sauce. We all agreed it erred on the oily side.


Last dish in the meal was the wanton noodle soup. The wantons were in itself quite good, and filled with meat and prawns, with a thin egg based skin. Unfortunately though the noodles were overcooked and quite soggy.

Pochana - Brisbane CBD


Readers who go frequent the CBD or social media a lot would not have failed to notice the opening of Pochana, along Elizabeth Street near the new cinemas. Created by the owners of Kinn Thai, we were assured of the standard that it would set and so I made plans with my much respected food reviewers, Brisvegustation one lunch to try it out. 


Having previously watched as the place was in a state of construction, I already noted the street food vibes and the neon hawker signs on the side. I had (incorrectly) hoped that this would be like a miniature 8 street with multiple vendors, but the setting was similar although there was just one vendor.


As usual, I opted to arrive before the lunch rush at a prompt 11.45am before the crowds started to fill up. We were able to easily find a table, but by the time we left, there was a considerable line out the door.



Menus and plates were already set on the table at our arrival. Chopsticks were noticeably absent though.

 

The drinks menu was surprisingly extensive, comprising of quite a few alcoholic concoctions, traditional Thai drinks and standard soft drink and juice options. In the absence of our favourite alcoholic Tomcat, Brisvegustation and I settled for far more sensible, responsible options like the adults that we were that had to go back to work after the meal.

 




The food menu was just as extensive as the drinks menu, and I found the comic book theme to be very cute. It covered a wide range of options, not limited to rice, noodles, salads and mains. Being the super organised foodie that he is, Brisvegustation and I had already perused the menu the day before and so making our order was quick and sweet.

 

Sitting at the table next to the bar meant that we were able to get a good look at our drinks being prepared, but what we were super impressed with was the very large vase sized concoctions which were also being served. No doubt something that Tomcat or Iron Fist would be able to down solo, but for us mere mortals, coffee and tea will do.


Which is exactly what we did. Brisvegustation got the Thai Iced Milk Tea, whilst I got the Thai Iced Coffee. Having made enquiries about sugar and ice level we learned that both were already pre fixed, so we couldn't alter it. As such, my coffee, although quite strong and refreshing, was served a little sweeter than I would have usually enjoyed. The condensed milk was rich and creamy, but very sweet.


After a short while, our food came.


First up was the MK Ped Yang, a Roasted duck in gravy with Chinese Veges. This was my favourite dish of the day. The duck had a wonderfully crispy skin, and was served tender and boneless. The sauces were soy based and moderately sweet, but didn't make the skin go soft. The duck itself was quite well seasoned, and the flavours permeated well in to the flesh, and we really enjoyed it. For the price though, I don't consider the portion to be good value for money.


Our second dish was the grilled pork salad. Not being familiar with Thai salads, I was expecting something along the lines of Vietnamese girlled pork salad, with the usual sweet and sour fish sauce, but this couldn't have been further from my expectation. The dish was extremely spicy (by my not very spice tolerant standards), and really pushed the boundaries of my heat tolerance. The pork was well grilled with a caramelised exterior and strongly peppered exterior. The lime gave it some extra sharp bite which I found very refreshing and invigorating.

 

As the duck and salad didnt have any rice or noodles to go with it, we also ordered a serve of sticky rice to share. It was served in a woven basket with the rice wrapped in cling wrap. We found it to be a little concerning that the whole thing appeared to have come straight out of the steamer, as the wrap had started to melt, which posed a bit of a worry to us. As for the rice, it was very sticky and fragrant, but the texture was decidedly very hard, which wasn't too appealing for us.


Price Range: $15 - $30pp


Taste: 7/10
Value: 7/10
Service: 7/10
Environment: 7/10

Pochana by Kinn Thai Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato