Monthly Archives / April 2009
After lunch at Red Silks in Chinatown, like most people who has nothing better to do, we look for a cup of after meal coffee and a place to chill out. We headed up north a couple blocks to QV (Queen Victoria Building), a rather popular hangout area that houses several restaurants and a couple grocery stalls
Max Brenners at QV
Coffee drinking is actually quite a big thing in Australia. The annual coffee business amounts to some $3 billion, that is plenty of coffee for a population of some 21 million people. The market is a lot more mature than KL, with plenty of privately owned businesses and a few international chains.
In Malaysia, you’d go to Starbucks or Old Town, but in Melbourne, the defacto choice is Max Brenners (although you can find Starbucks, and actually even Old Town Kopitiam!), it is just convenient that there is an outlet located right in the middle of QV with a nice outdoor seating area that is sheltered from sun and wind.
milk suckao and cappuccino
The place is almost perpetually full, we actually had to wait for a couple minutes before landing ourselves a table. Since I was basically a tourist and Max Brenners is famous for their chocolates, Mell ordered a Milk Sukao for me, and from their website:
Suckao is the espresso of the chocolate drinks. It is a small, dense, concentrated shot of rich chocolate. The term “Suckao” is made up of two words that describe the utensil and the unique drink it contains: Suck – to draw the dense liquid through the metal tube. Kakao – the Spanish word for cocoa beans from which this rich chocolate drink is made and which determine its quality.
It is basically fresh milk (refillable) warmed by an aroma therapy size candle with chocolate chips on the side to mix. The quality of chocolate was rather high and I really liked it, not bad at all for $6.
latte, KY, milk chocolate
Mell got herself a milk chocolate ($5) that comes in a “HUGMUG”. The cocoa used is originated from Venezuela, creamy and tasty. The hugmug is specially designed for chocolate drinks at Max Brenners, to be used for hugging with both hands, perfect for the rather chilly weather when we were there.
Carol, Margaret, and Mellissa with her hugmug
Carol and Margaret got themselves Cappuccino and Cafe Latte ($3.30 each), and both the drinks were better than the same offered by the likes of Starbucks or Coffeebeans in Malaysia. Part of the reason being that the milk used here is so much fresher and tastier.
We ended up going to Max Brenners a few more times, meeting up friends and sampling different types of drinks along the way (the coconut + lychee drink was awesome, and the magic waffle balls very interesting). It was sort of a meeting point for Mell and her friends there, for obvious reasons. Good drinks, nice environment, affordable prices.
Max Brenners is located at the heart of QV
Max Brenners has over a dozen branches in Australia, a couple in New York, Philippines, Israel, and there’s even one in Singapore at Esplanade Mall on Raffles Ave.
Queen Victoria Building
25-27 Red Cape Lane,
Level 2, QV Square,
210 Lonsdale Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel: +61 3 9663 6000
During the 2nd day of my visit to Melbourne, Mel and I met up with Pinky who left Nuffnang Malaysia to continue her study at Melbourne. Pinky has always been one of my favorite persons who is very hardworking, efficient, and humble; which is probably why she is now Nuffnang Australia’s very first expat, in part time basis anyway.
Mell, Pinky, Kah Kit, KY
We met Pinky and her boyfriend Kah Kit’s at their apartment a couple blocks away and together we walked to Cafe Notturno in Lygon Street, also known as the Little Italy of Melbourne. Total walking distance was about 1km, very managable under the comfortable autumn temperature.
Cafe Notturno, meat lovers pizza
Cafe Notturno is quite a popular place among the students as the food here is pretty cheap in Melbourne standard. Almost everything in the menu is priced under $20.
I ordered a steak with pepper sauce, Mell got the seafood combo, Pinky and Kah Kit a fettucine bosciola, and we also shared a medium meat lover’s pizza.
steak, fettucine bosciola, seafood combo
The steak ($19.80) was prepared medium rare and actually tasted quite nice. The portion was rather large and perhaps not a very good idea for brunch but I finished it nonetheless. I liked the salad with balsamic vinegar too.
Seafood combo ($14.30) was very worth it, prawns, scallops, fish fillets, and squid rings deep fried in batter and served with tartar sauce, fresh lemon, and the same salad.
The fettucine bosciola ($12.70) was very sumptuous too; but I find the meat lover’s pizza ($10 – medium) a little too salty and not very crunchy. Pinky insisted that they had an off day and the pizza usually tasted better.
Mell actually drew this map! AMAZING isn’t it?
Cafe Notturno certainly offers some very decent food with very affordable pricing, perfect especially for those who doesn’t want to break the bank for an authentic Italian meal in the city. Of course, the brunch session was awesome with the great companies.
179 Lygon St, Carlton,
VIC 3053, Australia
Tel: +613 9347 8286
On the first day at Melbourne, Mell and I met up with Margaret and Kerol. Margaret is a dear friend who came to Melbourne more than two years ago to study and was last seen on this blog on the pudu Mongolian Steamboat place we went for her farewell.
It has been over a year since we met in KL, I think I still had a different (and some said very tragic) hairstyle then.
KY, Mell, Kerol, and Margaret at Red Silks, Chinatown @ Melbourne
Chinatown at Melbourne is located at Little Bourke Street from the intersection of Swanston (the busiest street) to around the intersection with Exhibition or Spring Street. Red Silks is technically not really in Chinatown anymore as it is located in a little mall at Bourke Street half a block away.
The closest tram stop to the place would be Swanston/Bourke.
braised preserved vegetable with pork belly, eggplant, clay pot tofu with seafood
The restaurant offers quite a wide variety of Chinese foods; from noodles to single serving vegetable-on-rice to the more common “tai chau” style dishes, they have it all. As a licensed bar, they do serve beer & wine too.
For lunch, we ordered 3 dishes to go with steamed rice for the four of us.
lemon honey tea & iced milk tea, glorious fatty pork belly
I of course, ordered the braised preserved vegetable with pork belly (mui choi kao yok). While slightly too salty to be eaten alone, the dish goes very well with steamed rice with its fatty pork belly. If only they had chili padi..
The eggplant with minced pork was quite a strong tasting dish that goes well with steamed rice, I do find it a bit too heavy after a while though.
The clay pot tofu with seafood came with good size prawns, cuttle fish, scallops, crab sticks, green peas, and a generous portion of Japanese tofu in classy yummy gravy. This dish was as good as I’ve had from anywhere else.
Bullens Lane is at the heart of Chinatown
The portions were quite large and we actually did not manage to finish all three dishes. The bill came to about A$17 per person, still rather affordable in Melbourne standard. Other dishes in their lunch specials menu goes from $8 to $10.5 and like most other places around here, water is free.
Red Silk Restaurant and Bar
101, 1st Floor
200 Bourke Street
Tel: +613-9663 9922
Mell and I just had Vietnamese pho at Mekong a couple blocks away (will blog about the place and other restaurants for sure) at Swanston street, and I decided to process pictures taken in the last two days and share some of them here.
Melbourne City night view, taken from Franklin/Swanston
I stay at the Verve apartment with Mell. The building is located at the corner of Swanston and Franklin, the edge of the busiest part of the city. At 20 odd floors, you get to see pretty much the whole city. It is rather magnificient, especially at night.
The city is very well planned, roads are relatively wide with very pedestrian friendly side walks that are, at places, wider than the roads for automobiles. Walking is pretty much the main mode of transportation here, every intersection is equipped with pedestrian traffic lights that not only blinks, but beeps too (for the blind). Very handy.
a typical Melbourne city tram
Crisscrossing the city are the electric trams. You can get on the tram for $3.70 (valid for 2 hours). Most of the trams stops at the middle of the road, unless it is a one-way street, like the one on the photo above. The trams are pretty much like the LRT without the elevated tracks, and running on a much slower pace.
State Library of Victoria
Architecture of the city is a mixture of old and new. You have the State Library of Victoria on Swanston that was opened way back in 1854 sitting right next to the QV Village that was opened in 2003.
Queen Victoria Village – QV
There are also dedicated cycling lanes in most roads, I guess cycling works best during this time of the year when temperature hovers around the low twenties and mid teens.
the ceiling of Melbourne Central
To travel to the suburbs or further, the train stops at Melbourne Central, which is doubles as one of the larger shopping complexes in the city. There’s cinema, restaurants, shops, and an office tower. Interestingly, the Melbourne Central railway station used to be called Museum.
a mini cooper at the intersection
While cars are a lot more affordable, it is quite a bitch to find parking spaces in the city without breaking your bank. Since public transportation is very good in the city anyway, there is virtually no traffic jam in the city.
a restaurant by Lygon Street
The city is pretty much overrun by Asian. I did not see any whites at all on the first night. The sidewalk of Swanston street (the busiest street in Melbourne) is basically 80% Chinese.
Lygon Street, however, looks more like the Australia I expected. We had lunch with Pinky and Kit and actually were the minority. The place is littered with many Italian restaurants, and appropriately referred to as Little Italy of Melbourne.
Chinatown in Melbourne
Little Bourke Street is a little one-way road that is the whole Chinatown of Melbourne, which, incidentally, is also the oldest Chinatown in Australia. Like most Chinatown in the world, there are plenty of Chinese restaurants everywhere. We had lunch at a restaurant called Red Silk on Sunday and it was actually rather delicious.
I’ll attempt to create a food map for this city (as much as I can anyway), so watch this space!
It is 2:20pm, 11th April, 2009 and I am on a flight, somewhere over South China Sea on the way to Australia, ETA 11:30pm local time.
Mell bourne, Melbourne.
The date is rather interesting as it also mark the third month of our relationship that began on relatively innocent date where I conned her to help me out on an advertorial. It was 11th of January, and we had brunch at D’Italian at Jaya 33.
To commemorate the occasion, I’m going to attempt to do the great couple meme first read at Su Ann’s, then at Mell’s (yet to finish), and lately Tim & Aud’s.
Tell us about the first time you met and your first impression of him/her:
A tricky question to answer. Technically speaking I probably met Mell about 3 years ago when I went to her place to collect a pair of beautiful Kohaku & Showa her dad gave me when I lost a koi fish. However, there were very little recollection of her at the time. The first meeting with any interaction was the Kakiis Event at Euphoria last December, and I told myself, whoa I must get to know this beautiful and classy girl more!
What’s a weird habit or quirk that s/he has?
I think there are a few, but one of them would be her OCDness in not having wrinkled fabric. She just spent ½ hour ironing her pillow cases and bed sheet while we were skyping
What makes him/her happy?
She’s not someone who is hard to please, just give her the sparkly pretty things she wants.
What makes him/her sad?
This is tough, she’s usually a pretty cheerful person, ah.. emo movies make her sad!
What makes him/her angry?
Inefficient and/or stupid people makes her go mad.
What excites him/her?
Receiving emails announcing sales of sparkly pretty things, and cupcakes (I used that to full advantage to get her out for the first date, heehee)
Tell us something funny about him/her
This would be the exactly same incident she described here, except from a slightly more tragic vantage point. She was buying some hair conditioners at Guardian prior to our Bangkok trip and wanted me to smell it too. The only problem was that she pressed the bottle a little too hard (by accident?) and squirted the hair conditioner on my nose. The funny thing about her though was that she kept laughing for 10 minutes before doing anything about it. :/
Other than that she can also be quite bimbo in funny ways at times.
What’s s/he like at home?
At Melbourne I think she became a very homey person and everyday we’d spend quite a number of hours on skype. She’ll usually wear her singlet or t-shirt depending on the temperature.
What’s s/he like at work/school?
She is very good at multitasking. We would be chatting or talking over skype and she could still get a couple TiC articles done while I struggle to chew gum at the same time.
Describe his/her room
Her room can be very messy with piles of cloths everywhere (according to her description), but when her OCDness kicks in, they can be very neat and tidy too. She was cleaning her room last night, so I’ll see how it is like when I get there in another few hours time.
What’s his/her best friend like?
I’ve met Zehan, Mrina, and Jun Wei. They’re all very friendly, smart, funny, and bimboistic at the same time. If her other friends in Melbourne at like that too then I foresee we’ll all get along very well.
Do you know who s/he hates the most?
I doubt she really hates anyone with a passion, dislike, perhaps.
Have you met his/her exes?
Not yet but I think I will very soon
Do his/her parents like you?
Considering the fact that the father gave me 2 Japanese koi 3 years ago before I know her, I think I have a pretty good head start in this department. But honestly speaking, I haven’t really had a meal with her parents yet though.
What’s the first thing s/he would do or say if s/he fell down and scraped their knee:
“Fuck this shit!” or “Babyyyy, Helpppp” depending on her mood.
What would s/he do in an emergency situation with other people involved?
She would start to think of who to call to get more help.
Which shop would s/he spend the most time at in a shopping mall?
Places that sells pretty sparkly things. But honestly speaking we both like the quieter malls like Bangsar Village, Plaza Damas, and Tropicana City where parking is easy to find and you don’t have to go fight with the waves of people.
What would s/he have for a typical breakfast?
We’re both not breakfast people, and she is very easy going when it comes to food, so long as they taste good and are not made from pets. However, she did introduce me to plain yoghurt with cereal in Bangkok and I really liked it!
Where would s/he want to go for dinner?
We are both very alike when it comes to dinner: anything that is yummy! However, during CNY season she would want to go to anywhere as long as they serve yee sang.
What kind of movie would s/he choose at the cinema?
Our taste in movie varies quite a bit. She’s into bimbo movies while I usually like something a bit more serious/cool. But we do give and take, so in Bangkok we ended up watching both Confessions of a Shopaholic and the Wrestler in different days.
Describe his/her taste in music:
Britney, Taylor Swift, and Mariah Carey dominates her playlist. Our taste in music are very different and her Taylor Swift CD was in my car audio player for the longest time.
If s/he wasnt going out with you, who would s/he be going out with?
Nonsense, I do not answer things that will never happen.
What item in his/her wardrobe would you like to burn:
I haven’t actually seen her wardrobe, but I don’t think she’ll take it well if I ever think of donating anything of her cloths on her behalf, let alone burning them.
What is s/he good at?
She said she’s good at minesweeper and would beat my super awesome score of 62s in expert mode, but we’ll have to see about that!
She’s also very good in writing, multitasking, and handling people.
What is s/he totally horrible at?
Pee management. When she needs to pee, it is usually “baby I need to go really bad!” It is always an emergency.
What’s something about him/her that is annoying/infuriating?
There isn’t anything that is annoying/infuriating about her, maybe the whole inability to agree on a DVD part can be annoying sometimes, but then again we usually couldn’t finish a DVD without getting distracted or fall asleep, so…
What’s something that you two fundamentally disagree on?
That I need to finish this meme now! =X
What’s something that you two agree whole-heartedly on?
That we are both in this relationship for the long haul, and will end up together no matter what. The idea of religion, taste in sports cars, food, and a whole lot more.
We also both said we’re not the lovey dovey romantic type but somehow we ended up saying “I love you” to each other dozens of time a day. =/
Is s/he possessive?
Of course, but she likes to think otherwise. heehee.
Why would s/he succeed in life?
The things she wants, she gets, one way or another.
What is the coolest gift that s/he has ever given you?
What is this gift thing you’re talking about? Ahem..
What does s/he avoid at all costs?
Me missing flights. She will not let that happen, especially this one that I’m on.
What does s/he spend the most money on?
Buying sparkly pretty things, and on holidays.
Describe his/her typical sunday:
When she’s in KL we would usually spend the morning and afternoon together, and she usually goes to her grandpa’s place for family dinner.
In Melbourne (when I’m in KL), we would do our separate things during the day time and go on skype at night.
Why would s/he be dangerous?
Cos she might walk into mirrors thinking it’s another stairway, and don’t get me started on the whole squirting chemical on people’s nose bit.
What’s something about him/her that would surprise all of his/her friends?
Public display of affections and the whole saying “I love you” to each other more than a dozen times a day. =P
What do you love most about him/her?
I love her confidence, her bimboness, her ability to handle/work with people, her affections, our chemistry, and above all, the way she loves me.
The biggest lesson you have learnt from loving your soulmate:
Being with Mell makes me believe that we could overcome all obstacle there is to throw at a relationship. All my previous exes became exes due to the same reason – distance. I swore to have to get into long distance relationship again, then Mellissa came into my life and I (we) just couldn’t help it. Tersayang already what to do?
But to be serious, sI am (and we are) convinced that we would make this work no matter what, and we are two very determined people. We already made plans to build her walk-in wardrobe anyway. Sorry Rachel, it involves taking over your room. =/
It is a little less than 5 hours before I touch down at Melbourne and I can’t wait! I love you baby!
and this was taken at the lift to her apartment after I reached Melbourne!