Super-Quick Lunch @ Lucques Tavern, Ocean Terminal, TST, Hong Kong

Date of Visit: December 9 2013

People in Hong Kong are always on-the-go, therefore, food must be served fast. Here is an example of a super-fast lunch service – my entire lunch set was served in 10 minutes from the moment I sat down! I could have finished the meal and be out of the restaurant in under 20 minutes if I had not paced myself but of course I took my own sweet time!

Lucques Tavern occupies where the ex-Dan Ryan (on 2/F of Ocean Terminal) used to be, popular for its unlimited refillable bread basket especially the walnut muffins – sadly the quality and quantity deteriorated with time and along it the food, so it was bye-bye Dan Ryan…

I had the option of being seated in the main dining room or at the bar area with high chairs. Since I find high chairs more comfortable, I requested for the latter. Service was very swift, as soon as I was seated my water tumbler was quickly filled and my complimentary bread arrived.

The ciabatta bread and its accompaniments of olives and almonds added a very nice touch, but the bread was over-night bread simply ‘rejuvenated’ by being toasted. I noted in amusement the use of rock salt for the bread (?) ūüėĄ


Ciabatta bread with olives and almonds, butter and salt

I was given 3 menus to order from – drinks, √° la carte and set lunch. It wasn’t too difficult since I only wanted a salad. I chose a Baby Spinach Salad with fresh pear, feta , candied walnuts and bacon. The lunch set (HK$98 ++) comes with a choice of soup (either a lobster bisque or vegetable) and tea or coffee. Within 10 minutes, all my order had arrived, making a pretty cramped table!


Bread, Soup and Drinks

The vegetable soup was a very bland consommé, but on a brighter note, the vegetables were rather fresh, so I finished the vegs.


Vegetable Soup

The Baby Spinach Salad was very mediocre, leaving room for much improvement Рstingy pinch of feta cheese, lots of crushed candies with the walnuts nowhere to be seen. I forgot to ask for my dressing to be on-the-side, so got a very well-dressed salad, where each leaf of the baby spinach was well-massaged with some garlicky balsamic dressing.  (Honestly, any cafe in Sydney can do better Рbut after conversion at A$14 for the lunch set, well…)


Baby Spinach Salad

Overall the service was good and attentive, and I appreciated the complimentary olives and nuts.

Interior-wise, it was bright with walls painted in white; dark timber and beige vinyl upholstery for the furnishings. I like the idea of ‘rivets’ on the beams and pillars of the restaurant, giving it a very ‘inside the hull of a ship’, mariner-feel. The bar area was also opened up to make it more central to the restaurant with a view out to see the harbour, (that is if there is no ocean liner parked there).


View out to the harbour

Lighting-wise, I found the globe lightings in the bar area and the wall lights with adjustable arms slightly mismatched – then again, this is only my personal opinion.


Bar area


View into the main dining room room from where I was sitting

It’s Christmas time! ¬†Naturally all the malls are decked out in the festive cheer! ¬†So, watch this space as I bring you mall-hopping around Hong Kong! ¬†ūüėĄ


A ToyStory Christmas Tree in the atrium of Ocean Terminal Mall

Make-up Palettes and Stop-Over @KLIA, Malalaysia

I have 3 hours to kill while in transit in KLIA on route to Hong Kong. There is no shortage of cosmetics boutiques here – ever a make-up junkie I went through all the cosmetic boutiques here and bought the last colour make-up palette, ‘Princess by Takashi Murakami’ (one of my fav artists) for Shu Uemura. ūüĎćI also bought the cosmetic pouch with mini brushes by him. Unfortunately, the false eyelashes were all sold. ūüė≠ Well, this is only a short update in case you don’t hear from me! ūüėė

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Assam Laksa @ JP Teres, Grand Hyatt Hotel, KLCC

Date of Visit:  November 28 2013.

What’s the 7th best food in the world? ¬† According to a CNN Poll conducted in 2011, it was¬†Penang Assam Laksa! ¬†Lusciously described as ¬†“Poached, flaked mackerel, tamarind, chili, mint, lemongrass, onion, pineapple ‚Ķ one¬†of Malaysia‚Äôs most popular dishes is an addictive spicy-sour fish broth with noodles (especially great when fused with ginger), that‚Äôll have your nose running before the spoon even hits your lips”

Wow! ¬†Assam Laksa even beat the world famous Thai spicy soup King –Tom Yum Goog –¬†which¬†came in at the 8th spot.

Admittedly, this is my first time eating a bowl of Assam Laksa, a basic street food in Malaysia of Peranakan¬†origin – and the irony is that I am eating it in the up-market air-conditioned comfort of a 5-star hotel.¬† Nonetheless, with a tissue ¬†in ¬†hand, ready to wipe my runny nose, ¬†let’s dig in! ¬†


Assam Laksa

My assam laksa arrived with fresh red chili peppers and a calamansi on top of the noodles.  Other toppings on the soup included the obligatory cilantro, shallots, fresh ginger, cucumbers and a  sliced hard-boiled egg.

Assam laksa is a chowder made from shredded mackerel in a lemongrass-infused broth thickened with tamarind and served with thick rice vermicelli noodles. The key ingredient of the soup is tamarind (or assam in Malay) which is used generously in the soup base.  Garlic, onion, ginger, pineapple and fish paste or belacan are also used in the broth as garnishes.


Assam Laksa

The shredded mackerel was evident floating on top of the noodles as a mass of thick brown mass.  I mixed everything up in the bowl and after tasting the broth, which has a complex taste of a mixture of sour-citrusy-fishy, I added a squeeze of the calamansi and extra  fresh chillis, simply because I love my hot and spicy amped up with a bite!  The noodles itself, were very chewy Рlike udon noodles.

It was overall a very stout bowl of assam laksa. ¬†The broth was as good as I have had, and well worth returning to – and I am definitely a return customer, my previous visit sampling other local fares¬†here¬†– another strong point about this broth is that it is NOT EVEN OILY! ¬†¬†ūüėö

Ah yes, the tissue did come in handy!

A Casual Shared Lunch @ 4Fourteen, Surry Hills

Date of Visit: November 20 2013

4Fourteen is another restaurant by chef Colin Fassnidge of Four in Hand (my review here and here) with Carla Jones as head chef .¬†¬†It opened last year and was the talk of ‘Twitter-town’ – in essence, Fassnidge had alerted the world of the imminent arrival of his new venture on April 6 by tweeting over 8000 times to his 4000+¬†¬†followers.

The stripped-raw high-ceilinged warehouse space with industrial downlights was efficiently divided into an open kitchen backed with green tiles, white marble island bar, timber wine cave at the back, red vinyl banquettes along the right side of the open-plan room and bentwood table-sittings.   Coupled with brisk and warm service makes this a very smart casual diner.

Since it was a busy restaurant and practically full every night the last couple of times we dined there, we decided to try our luck without a reservation today .  As luck could have it, we got our table and were the lone diners there, thus receiving plenty of attention from the friendly waitstaffs!


Raw ‘edgy’ vibe of mottled walls, industrial downlights and exposed timber rafters


Retro-industrial meets downtown-chic


Pop of colours for the mottled walls: Canvas paintings and Red vinyl banquettes (also fantastic space saver!)

The restaurant menu was designed with sharing plates in mind – ‘Something to nibble; Small plates; Large plates; Salads and starches’. ¬† This is modern comfort food with generous hearty portions. ¬†¬†We ordered 2 small sharing plates and 1 large sharing plates to start.

The House¬†Smoked Mackerel ‘Rillette’ came first, it was drizzled generously with ¬†a very green coloured pesto oil and accompanied by a watercress and sliced radish salad. ¬†The rillette was a very soft and smooth, spreading easily on the chargrilled sourdough bread. ¬†Although rather oily, ¬†it was delicious and make a fine appetiser.


House Smoked Mackerel ‚ÄėRillette‚Äô, Lemon Curd, Grilled Bread ($16)

The next small plate was Charred Lamb’s Tongue. ¬†We’ve had beef tongue often enough and decided that a lamb’s tongue will make a nice change. ¬†There were 4 slices of tongue to share together with cos, sliced radishes (again), and a long strip of char-grilled sweet pickled cucumber ¬† The toasted baguettes could were as hard as stiff cardboards, cutting the ¬†roof of my mouth –¬†ūüĎé . ¬†Nevertheless, my dining companion and I enjoyed the charred ¬†and smoky lamb’s tongue which were tender to the bite. ¬†This is also a very moreish plate rendered by ¬†tahini dressing and the very refreshing mint-cucumber jelly- going well with the smoky charred tongue and pickled cucumber.

I liked the idea of vinegared mint-cucumber gelée and no doubt, I shall be making these at home as cool-me-downs during the hot sweltering summer!


Chargrilled Lamb Tongue, Sweet Pickled Cucumber, Cos, Mint ($19)

Our main was the ¬†Roast Skate Wing Bouillon. ¬†This is a full-flavoured ¬†broth dish, the¬†ham hock imparted smoky saltiness whereas the mussels gave the sweet freshness reminiscent of the ocean – kinda of land and sea collide! ¬†ūüėú ¬†The skate wing was slightly under-cooked so the flesh did not flake off the bone. ¬† All forgiven – no worries – as the soup was delicious.


Roast Skate Wing, Ham Hock Bouillon, Mussels ($34)

Although we were rather full, we could not resist the temptation of dessert…


Dessert Menu

It was tough decision but in the end we chose Roast Pineapple, Coconut and Yoghurt¬†which was ample for 2¬†to share. ¬†I am not a fan of fresh pineapples, but roasted pineapples is another story – the pineapple was sweet and juicy sans the acidity. ¬†Under the lime sorbet was the creamy yoghurt panna cotta. ¬†Other supporting items to the dish were thick-cut roasted coconut flakes, flaxseed tuile and¬†strips of cucumber -which I normally won’t associate with dessert! ¬†Still, they came together beautifully – taste and presentation-wise!


Roast pineapple, coconut and yoghurt ($16)

It was a fantastic lunch. ¬†The lunch bill came up to around $130 (+1 glass of wine + sparkling water +tips), on par with fine dining prices in the City and not exactly ‘casual neighbourhood prices’, could price be the reason that we were the 2 lone diners in the restaurant that day – perhaps it gets busier for dinners and over the weekends. We shall see!

At the time of posting, 4Fourteen scored 74% out of 235 votes

4Fourteen on Urbanspoon

A Local KL Breakfast @ Restoran Win Heng Seng, KLCC

Date of Visit:  Numerous Рmy local KL breakfast place

This post is for my friend who will be visiting KL next month with her family. She asked me about good local eats in KL, so I am recommending Restoran Win Heng Seng at the junction of Jalan Barat and Jalan Imbi, near Bukit Bintang in KLCC.  It is close to the majors hotels e.g. Westin, JW Marriott, Ritz Carlton as well as Pavilion where I stay. This is also where I go for my local breakfast when I am in KL Рtotal spend of under RM5 for a bowl of wonton noodles and a drink!  Cheap!

How do one get there from Pavilion Mall…


Liuligongfang crystal bowl fountain

Cross Jalan Bukit Bintang and walk into the street between the Sephora and Uniglo.

I am perplexed as how this funky deconstructive building received its development approval seeing that one of the sharp corners of the building pokes out into the pedestrian pavement. ¬†A¬†wee bit dangerous, one would think, nevertheless, ¬†I am unperturbed since I like Sephora because they stock ¬†some niche make-up brands including Stella, Too Faced, Urban Decay, Kit, etc…


A Daniel Libeskind copy

Keep walking until you reach the end of the street.


Star Hill Mall on the right – where Debenhams department store is located

You will have arrived at Jalan Imbi when you see a green coloured corner lot in front of you. This is the restaurant. Take care to cross the busy road (the pedestrian lights do not work)


Restoran Win Heng Seng in green

This cafe is as local as it can get – one can mingle with the taxi drivers, office workers, families alike.

There are many stalls selling a myriad of hawker foodstuffs from fried noodles, soup noodles, tofu, rice (including nasi lemak РMalay rice delicacy) and pastries.  The local tea and coffees are very nice.  I always order Kopi-C Kosong Ais РIced coffee with evaporated milk, no sugar.  Take care if you order Teh-tarikMalay pulled milk tea which is extremely sweet!

I recommend sitting alfresco if you are early, before the sun gets too hot (around 7:30am – 8:30am) because it can get a bit stuffy and smoky from the woks inside the restaurant. You will be hassled by beggars, hawkers selling lottery tickets and charitable organisations seeking for donation – please check the charity workers’ ID tags since it is compulsory that they carry it!

I always have fish-skin wonton noodles soup. The wonton skins are made from fish paste and filled with minced pork. The soup base has ikan billis (anchovies), parsleys and bean sprouts – and a LOT of MSG! ¬†Very delicious, but still, ¬†don’t drink the broth!¬†


Fish-skin wonton noodles soup


Accompaniment to the noodles: Light soy with green chilies for extra kick!

There is also a  stall selling mini pastries baked fresh on the premises Рegg tarts (or princeling tarts), siew bao (pastry ball stuffed with BBQ meat), pineapple tarts, apple tarts, tuna pies, etc. This stall is apparently very popular among the locals.  (Psst…they misused 1 Chinese character, since when is a tart=tower?)


Mini Egg Tarts fresh from the oven (about $0.70 each?)


Princeling tarts, apple tarts and pineapple tarts

After breakfast, it’s back to Pavilion Mall for window-shopping. The mall only opens at 10am though.


Entrance to Pavilion Mall: The LINE android app mascot saying ‘Hi’!

I reckon the Christmas decoration in Pavilion Mall is the best in KL! There are lots of activities, meaning it is very noisy which drives me KRAZY!


Christmas Bazaar in the atrium inside Pavilion Mall

More furry friends on the top floor. ¬†Let’s be naughty – let’s give ’em a good rub to turn them black! ¬†OK, because we are adults, we say it’s for Good Luck then! ¬†ūüėĚ


Larger-than-life furry friends

Staying Awake For A Nice Long Dega Dinner @ Oscillate Wildly, Newtown

Date of Visit: November 7 2013

Oscillate Wildly¬†is only a short skip opposite Newtown Station, facing the Local Courthouse and next to Black Star Pastry which is very famous for its signature ‘strawberry watermelon cake with rose scented cream’.

To get to Newtown, Side-Kick Nana aka Side-Kick Chica from here Рbut read on why we felt our age in this dinner!) and I caught a train from Wynyard.   I have not been to Newtown by public transport before, so we arranged to meet at Wynyard station to catch the train together.  Lots of talking, and paying no attention meant that  we jumped into the limited express train which did not stop at Newtown, we went all the way to Strathfield and had to take over a good half hour to detour back.

We arrived right on the dot at 6:30pm, nevertheless!


Interior shot

The restaurant is cosy, ¬†servicing 20 people max on the ground floor, but on our date, the restaurant was packed with a ¬†private function upstairs. ¬†We were seated under the stairs. ¬†I took care not to look up whenever someone is going up/down the stairs to block the thoughts of sprinkling dust. ūüė≥

Service was polite with excellent introduction to each course and water constantly refilled.

To amuse us, we were served 2 Snacks 


Pic #1

Followed by something stuck in a bowl of ice.


Pic #2

Any takers for what they are?  *Hint*  These are 2 iconic aperitifs Рserved solidified!
Given up?  OK.

Pic #1 looking like stiff wrinkled plastic wrappers is dehydrated¬†Kir Royale(!). ¬†It was made of potato starch, flavoured with cassis and blood plum and tasted like the Chinese haw flakes on edible rice paper. ¬†James, who looked after us told us not to worry about making a mess on the table since it was quite delicate and crumbled when bitten. ¬†Now, I am not sure about you, but I ¬†love haw flakes which is a very common sweet snacks for the Chinese people – it purports to have blood-presure lowering properties. ¬†I surfed the net to find more info on the haw flakes and found that many non-Asians find this a ‘weird and awful tasting’ snack – so many silly postings on YouTubes on it – even a haw flakes eating challenge (which I won’t bother on linking here). ¬†If you are curious as to what haw flakes taste like, check out this link by Mel Eats Weird Stuff where she and her friend attempt to give an accurate description

Pic #2 is the classic GT or Gin Tonic Рcompressed in sugar cane Рno description needed!

Amused by the Amuse Bouche?! Hope you were!

Bread-rolls and butter were served next, accompanied by ribbons of super-salty lards that you can eat sandwiched with the roll or do what I did – eat no bread –¬†snack on pigs’ fat all by themselves!


Bread roll, butter and luxurious ribbons of lard


Ribbons of lard (+ details in the background picture: Butter dotted with salt-flakes)

Course #1

Slices of sashimi trumpeter (from Tasmania) on rice paper crackers signals the start of our degustation.  The fish has beautiful firm white flesh without  a very strong taste, so that was probably why it came with salty smoked butter.


Trumpeter, Butter, Rice

Before the 2nd Course was served, we were given hand towelettes to wipe our hands – the ever popular tablet that magically ‘grows’ and turn into towelettes when one pour water over it.

Course #2

A compact goodie of freshly-planed cauliflower and Jerusalem artichoke chips stuck into the creamy foie gras custard and garnished with crushed macadamias and hazelnut powder.


Foie Gras, Artichoke, Macadamia

Course #3

A faint smoky-salty aroma wafted through the room as this dish was brought out. ¬†Here, we have Job’s Tears – commonly known as¬†Chinese pearl barley – with saut√©ed Chanterelle mushrooms on sweet black garlic custard and bits of Appenzeller cheese. ¬†The foam of Appenzeller, a Swiss washed-rind cheese, was the ‘smelly’ culprit.


Job’s Tears, Chanterelle, Black Garlic

Course #4.1  (Additional add-on for $20)

The waitress had us sold when she told us that the kitchen had received some white truffles and recommended us their special for the night:  White Truffles and Polenta Sweetcorn.  I found the polenta and sweetcorns very custardy and overly sweet, whereas Side-Kick Nana found it to be too cheesy for her liking.  We also have a  slice of percorino cheese for the extra sharpness  to go with the polenta.


White Truffles and Polenta Sweetcorn

Course #4.2

This is SO pretty. ¬†Whenever I see fronds, it conjures up Toad from my favourite novel ‘The Wind in the Willows‘. ¬†Here, we have pan-fried Murray cod plated up with roasted young almonds (still jelly in the middle) on a bed of potato, drizzled with chive oil.


Murray Cod, Potato, Almond

Course #5

Saddleback pork belly sitting in duck broth and crowned with thin crispy crackling.  Eating the crackling by itself was bland, but dunking the crackling in the duck broth comprising mustard seeds, onions and parsley really elevated it. (The original version has prawn floss, but since I am allergic to shellfish, mine did not have any).


Pork Mustard, Parsley


Pork Mustard, Parsley

Course #6

The final savoury course is tender charcoal-grilled Wagyu beef from Victoria, combined with bitter water-cress and refreshing discs of radishes. ¬†The sous-vided-almost-set egg yolk gave a blokey’s touch of steak-and-eggs to fill one up, if one is not already-surely not!


Beef, Radish, Yolk

Because we have been sitting and eating for 3 hours already, when enquired whether we would like to order a ¬†pre-dessert of Cheese on Toast (+$10) – a signature of Oscillate Wildly‘s, we had to decline as it was getting very late and we were both very tired -SideKick Nana is sliding off her chair and I am trying my best to keep my eyes open!

Course #7

Our first dessert arrived in a white bowl with smokes blowing off it -a rather impressive entrance.  Here, we have coconut shavings on lime sorbet (very tart), under the sorbet we have the tiny pearls of tapioca and kaffir limes Рinfluenced by Thai dessert perhaps.  Nice, but not smitten by it!


Lime, Coconut


Lime, Coconut

Course #8

Our finale is a quenelle of Chocolate sorbet on Eucalyptus-infused¬†mascarpone covered with chocolate soil and topped with a crunchy chocolate caramel shard. ¬† A refreshingly ‘light’ minty dessert sending us home with a high-note into the dark of the night.


Chocolate, Eucalyptus

I must say that I have enjoyed the remake of classical dishes with a touch of molecular gastronomy designed by head chef Karl Firla .  This is a spectacular degustation dinner at $100 per person.  The only low-point is that the meal pacing was uneven and it took us 3.5 hours to finish dinner!

At the time of posting, Oscillate Wildly scored 84% out of 267 votes

Oscillate Wildly on Urbanspoon

Epilogue: ¬†Overly tired, I took the wrong train home and had to make another detour to get home…

$69 Lunch Deal @ est., CBD Sydney

Date of Visit: November 21 2013

Thought I’d spend a nice day at home packing before I take-off again tomorrow but that was not to be… a last minute call to show up in the City for a meeting came at 9am, so off I went to the City – but before that, a quick call to make a reservation for lunch at est.!

est. is a 3-hat restaurant in the city, head-chefed by Peter Doyle – is he related to the famous Doyles fish and chips joint in Watsons Bay, I don’t know. ¬†All I am sure of is that at this moment, they are running a $69 2-course lunch deal. ¬†est. is a firm favourite with the suiters crowds, set in a heritage room with highly decorative ceilings supported by luxe corinthian colums.


Dining room


Marble bar at the back


My seated view

As soon as we were seated, a champagne trolley was wheeled over to take our champagne orders – which we declined.

With our lunch order taken, a bread sommelier showed us a tray of breads, there were choices of sliced linseed bread, rye or sourdough dampers.  I chose the sourdough damper which was somewhat disappointing being cold.   I am sure I would have enjoyed the bread and finished it if it was warm!


Sourdough damper


Sourdough damper

A bowl of chips as starters! ¬†Hot and crunchy with fluffy insides, perfect accompaniment to my¬†2010 Niepoort ‘Sempar’ from Douro Valley, a Touriga wine varietal from Portugal. ¬†This is a medium-bodied, plummy-tobaccoey, dry tannic wine which opens up after decanting.

I’m an adventurous wine drinker and ¬†tend to order exotic foreign wines that I have not heard of, as part of my continuing professional development (CPD) in wine education! ¬†Moreover, I can always get ‘Ossytrayian’ wines from the bottle shops! ¬†(I did do a quick wiki on what touriga¬†is before I ordered, apparently this is the finest varietal from Portugal and used to make ports. ¬†The current trend however, is to use it to blend with other wine varietals)


Chips ($11)

This is seriously the best wagyu sirloin I’ve came across – meltingly soft-tender-fatty beef from Tassie! ¬†Paired with the beef is an assortment of 4 very delicious grilled mushrooms. ¬†The 2 deep-fried crumbed sticks were turnips, I presume‚Ķ the shiso leaves added both colour and a bitter kick.


Robbins Island Wagyu scotch fillet, grilled mushrooms, caramelized shallot


4 Mushroom accompaniments.

As always, dessert is a highlight.

My dining companion chose est.’s signature dessert, the¬†Passionfruit¬†Souffl√©. ¬†It was very, very sweet – too sweet to finish. ¬†A pity since it had risen up to a perfectly formed souffl√©.


Passionfruit souffle, passionfruit sorbet

I, on the other hand, truly enjoyed my dessert Рbittersweet valrhona chocolate with sour cherries.  The chocolate fondant was bitter and had kirsch cherries hidden inside, the sorbet was sour and paired with fresh firm cherries and  chopped up nuts and coca nibs. (The tart sour cherries went well with my touriga too!)


Bittersweet valrhona chocolate and griotte fondant, sour cherry sorbet

We finished with coffees and complimentary petit fours.  I enjoyed the malt-rye macaroon and the crunchy sea-salt peanut cookie, not sure about  the green-colured gelée and the chocolate (which had fennel seed gelée in it).  All-in-all, a perfect and very satisfying lunch!




Petit Fours

At the time of writing, est. scored 88% out of 471 votes (+ an extra 1 from me!)

Est. on Urbanspoon

Well, with my review done, I am going back to finish my packing now.  Do you find that half your luggage is always taken up by computer cables?  Anyway, if I forget anything, there is always online shopping!

The Key to Looking Good is Vanity!

I know, I know, I promised to update on my Body Transformation Projecter, nearly 3 weeks ago??  Gosh, time really flies when one is super-duper busy!

So, Q: What have I been up to since my declaration of body transformation 3 weeks ago?

Well, on the work front, my task in Sydney wrapped up last week – we won the test case in all points which was really a morale booster for us going forward when we start our other cases in Malaysia and secondly on a more personal front, my residential project finally got a DA approval – it’s on a conservative heritage-y site in the Lower North Shore, and I have to think about financing moving forward‚Ķ

Because I had not had a good sleep for a long, long time in outback rural Malaysia with the incessant barking and howling dogs throughout the night, so yeah, I have been doing a helluva lot of sleeping since I back in Sydney!  Plus, the chilly weather made snoozing even more blissful!

BTW, do you know that one of Karl Lagerfeld’s tips on losing weight is by sleeping? ¬†Sleeping also burns calories by making the internal organs work harder. ¬†Read the freebie online roundup of his diet here or buy the book he penned, ‘The Karl Lagerfeld Diet’¬†here

To be honest, I have been bummed the past 3 weeks ¬†since I’m back in Sydney – rolling out my bed and heading out to the City for meetings then back home to sleep. ¬†I didn’t go to gym, but did some stretching to prep for workouts to come – for a hyper mobile person, I’m finding difficulty in touching my toes! ¬†Moreover, I have very low energy level (no exercise means a drop in endorphin, making me lethargic all the time!)

Nevertheless, I did some thinking. ¬†I gave some thoughts as to¬†WHY with all the motivation I have in the World to workout hard in the gym, I never get the change I wanted. ¬†It could be that I am¬†happy with the way I am and not vain enough! ¬†What do you expect of ¬†a chica who rolls out of bed and ready to head out the doors in 10-minutes flat? Surely, that’s not vanity!

Vanity is the excessive belief in one’s own abilities or attractiveness to others. ¬† Without vanity, one is complacent with one’s present self and see no need for change. ¬†Thus, the status quo remains. ¬†In order for a catalytic change, one needs to play the vanity game, hence the Vanity Project¬†–”

Before I ramble on, I like to show you my¬†street cred from University of Sydney! ¬†(This is the peacock in me waving a piece of paper in your face!¬†ūüėú)


This is how desperate I am in losing weight!

The Vanity Project Framework after my many years of ‘research’:
1.   Play the mind game!  Torture yourself with fashion mags of sickly thin models in dresses you like Рperhaps in our case, engross ourselves with the supertoned fit healthy models from fitness mags!

2.   Practise mindful eating but never ever under-eat! You never win the battle from hunger! Fill up with protein, vegs and water.


Cape Grim 300g beef ribeye steak, mixed leaf salad and roast kipfler potatoes

Sometimes, I slip a little. ¬†For example I had a seemingly healthy lunch today at North Sydney Harbourview Hotel – kale salad with pomegranate,¬†steamed vegetables and a piece of roast beef…


Buffet plate

But got carried away at dessert… A big No, NO!


Orange poppy seed cake

3. ¬† Keep yourself occupied. ¬†My favourite is watching¬†food porn. ¬†This helps to trigger your brain that you had some of it and is satisfied. ¬†¬†Writing a food blog is a great distraction from food too – like blogging on! ¬†If you are not a blogger, give me a Follow! ¬†Salivating over food is apparently a fantastic idea!!¬†¬†ūüôąūüôČūüôä

4. ¬† Lift heavy weights!¬†I have scrutinised the web for physique transformation advises and tips – of which I must admit, it’s a jungle out there! ¬†I have been enamoured by¬†Fighter Diet for a while now and have bought a handful of her ebooks which I shall be using in my Vanity Project aka Body Transformation Project.


My friend’s (in bikini) first show in Singapore where she came #1!

Lastly Body Transformation = Psychological Mind Game = Vanity Project (for me)

Lagerfeld emphasised appearance and looking good as a reason to embark on his diet. ¬†Taking his cue, I applied the¬†1st Principle of Vanity Project by getting a facial peel last week ($200). ¬†With a smoother more¬†porcelain-y skin, perhaps I get a boost in confidence. ¬†Can I declare myself vanity ready? ¬†Well, firstly, I need more beauty sleep seeing that I am not getting enough and that I’m flying off again end of this week. ¬†In any regards, I shall update! ¬†


My 2nd Liebster Award

Check out Happy Yuan’s answer to my Qs!

My Fun Life

I received a comment from outforalonglunch right after I came back from Hawaii.    She nominated me for the Liebster Award!   This is the second time I got this award.   Thanks a lot, outforalonglunch.    Her blog is filled with interesting stories and pictures of food.   Why don’t you take a look!   Out For a Long Lunch    I’d like to join the award and answer her questions. The logo is different from the last one.


Let me quote the rule from her blog.

‚ÄúLiebster¬†is an loving German term and that mean ‚Äėsweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome‚Äô.

The Liebster Award is kind of a pay-it-forward blogger award. The rules are: If you receive one you must answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who awarded it to you, list 11 random facts about yourself, and then come up with your own 11 questions for the 11 bloggers you choose to bestow…

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A Dieter Goes Lunching @ Bistro Moncur, Woollahra

Date of Visit: November 14 2013

Dining out when one is on a pseudo-diet is kinda hard. How do one choose what to eat from the long list of deliciousness? E-A-S-Y! That is, if one has a checklist of what one can and cannot eat – i.e. a limiting factor as a guidance to make choosing off the menu a breeze.

Today I am going high protein, so no carbs for me‚Ķ although I did cheat with a glass of buttery cold chard from Western Australia‚Ķ c’mon, it’s been quite a stressful day, a glass can do not harm, right? ūüėČ Nevertheless, this is my survival story…


Crusty sourdough for my eyes to feast on…

Sitting through Starters, watching and smelling one’s dining companions’ foods can be a torture, but with the right mindset, watching people enjoying their food and being able to participate albeit only by watching is priceless (no weight gain!) One can play the part of the interviewer querying, “How’s the food? How’s the taste? You like?”

The French Onion souffl√© smelt very good, exactly like the french onion soup except in the pudding/ souffl√© form and surrounded by grilled cheese. Totally decadent‚Ķmmm‚Ķ but of course my mind started berating: “Do you want to jiggle like the souffl√©?” My strategy was to satisfy my inner cravings by inhaling deeply ‚Ķommm, namaste!


French Onion Soufflé

Same goes for my strategy on my other dining companion who had Chicken Liver Pate with the accompaniments of melba toasts and 3 cherries. I used the visualisation cue – imagination.. And that’s what I did, I imagined myself in my companion’s shoes, spreading the thick malleable creamy chicken liver over the charred melbas‚Ķ


Chicken Liver Pate

Finally, plates were cleared, our Mains arrived.

Sirloin steak and shoe string fries for the gentleman. Thank Heavens, I was busy with my own food that I did not even attempt to nick a fry! Good self-control by way of a pre-occupied mind! (See my dish below)


Sirloin steak and shoe string fries

Salmon for the other lady companion. Now, remember, people are often very generous with their food and will offer you a tasting bite. Say: “NO! Thank You!”



Unfortunately, the translucent potato chip piqued my interest. Check out the ‘fossilised’ parsley! So, I let my guard down and took one‚Ķ Anyway, no point in beating oneself over the gluttony, as the saying goes, “start afresh, tomorrow is another day!”


Potato Chip

My ‘pre-occupation’ was in the form of the delectable Pork Belly & Pork Loin paired with baked apple, walnuts and braised savoy cabbage. I practised mindful eating at this point – slowly devouring and savouring each mouthful of the perfectly cooked and very succulent pork. You know what? Baked apples is so much more filling than apple sauce, and it was nice to be cutting up the apple and spreading it on the meat!


Pork Belly & Pork Loin

Since I took a rather long time to polish off my meal. We were not tempted by the desserts – the limiting factor here was the 2 hour car parking – we did not want a ticket from the parking ranger!

As you can see, strategic planning by arming oneself with limiting factors such as what one can or cannot eat, not wanting a parking ticket; the right mindset; cueing with visualisation and eating mindfully played an important role over my lunch today. Practise it often, and one can survive a darn good lunch!

(Past visit at Bistro Moncur here)