Breakfast With Ashton Kutcher… @ Three Blue Ducks, Bronte

Date of Visit: August 17 2013

If you are reading this post, because I mentioned ‘Breakfast with Ashton Kutcher’, then I’m sorry – I lied, I didn’t.  I went there because I read that many Hollywood stars had dined here, including Aston Kutcher (goss here)

But if you insist, I did see a well-know chef there – she’s Asian and there’s only a couple of famous Asian female chefs in Sydney, so go figure!

But if you insist still, I have done a few spin sessions at the gym with Nicole Kidman… dined with a movie star (here) and royalties (here)…

Alright, I sound though I’m gearing up for a bragging contest, but I’m really, really not.  The reason, I’m doing this way-overdued post on Three Blue Ducks was my craving for something hot, sweet and filling.  *Blinkers on* I remembered the awesome dessert-ish breakfast porridge I had there.

The black rice, tapioca and quinoa porridge is something very Asian (reminiscent of Thai)  that I can replicate here in Borneo – black rice and tapioca are  easily accessible here and I have brought with me a pack of quinoa from Sydney. Although the TBDs’ recipe called for poached fruit, yoghurt and honey, in my version, I can use fresh tropical fruits, coconut milk and palm sugar!  Likewise, I can also toast some nuts and coconut flakes to make my dessert smelling as sublime!

This is a picture of the Thai-ish, dessert-ish, warm winter breakfast porridge I had – gosh – 3 months back!

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Black rice- tapioca and quinoa porridge with poached fruit-yoghurt and honey (A$16)

Since, it’s a Friday today, this is my plan hatched for the weekend – watch this space for my version!

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But before I sign off for my grocery-run, let me give a brief intro of Three Blue Ducks which opened its doors in 2010.

A super busy cafe – a businessman thinks and a businessman does – expand and acquire the adjoining shop!  So, on this morning, when we dropped in for breakfast,  we sat in ‘quieter’ room which I assume to be the dining room of the cafe with a corner wall heaving with booze.   Now, isn’t this a clever  and versatile restaurant idea?  Caffeine to work through the day and ample of spirits to propagate a jolly night?

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A very hardworking young apprentice (next MasterChef contestant?) busy at the Bar

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Liquours

I especially like the funky rustic vibe in combination with colourful wall murals and raw materials such as timber and bricks.  I was extremely impressed by the colourful duck in flight, but unfortunately, my iPhone could not capture the colours properly.  Well, to be fair, the duck was in full flight and was in a hurry – no time to stop to pose for me!

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Interior: Wall-mural

So instead, I focussed on a more sombre drawing of a man reflecting in black-and-white – who had his attention totally focused at the bar – betcha he’s waiting for nightfall!

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B&W Wall Mural

The other side of the room was lined with timber planks and had bric-and-bracs of household stuff.  The one below had bottles, wooden ruler, box and spindles.

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Bric-a-bracs

Since breakfast is served until 11:30am, we better hurry along to order our brekkie…

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Logo Design on cover of Menu

My 2 sidekicks, Mom and Bro chose Paleo to power up their day…

Bro had  Scrambled eggs with black sausage, dill cucumber yoghurt salad and red currant jam ($21.50).  The black sausage is supposed to be the stand-out dish there.

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Scrambled eggs with black sausage, dill cucumber yoghurt salad and red currant jam

Mom had Coddled eggs with chorizo, pulled pork and cannellini baked beans.  The eggs were awesome,  you can ask for gluten-free sprouted bread here.  Pulled pork and baked beans were rich and sweet to kickstart a perfect weekend!

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Coddled eggs with chorizo, pulled pork and cannellini baked beans

Needless to say, coffee was good – we ordered 2 cups each.

For those interested in sustainable living, TBD has a veggie patch at the back of their cafe, so feel free to take a look.

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Graffiti Alley

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Way out/ way in: Alley between the 2 shops/ rooms

Seeing how gullible I can be, on our way back home  at Bondi Road, in front of Kemeny’s , my Bro shouted “Hey, that’s Russell Crowe!”, he got me all excited, but nah, that fat man can’t be him!

At the time of review, Three Blue Ducks scored 79% out of 282 votes

Three Blue Ducks on Urbanspoon

Dining with The Silver-Haired Set @ Georges at Piccadilly, Sydney

Date of Visit: August 20 2013

Today I was introduced to Georges at Piccadilly in Sydney CBD by my family auditor (called George). One doesn’t get taken out to lunch by an accountant often, so I was curious to see where an accountant eats.   Georges sits on the ground floor of a shopping centre, doing brisk business with silver-haired patrons.  The hearty traditional menu is similar to the menu at Cosmopolitan Cafe in Double Bay I was told and they used to belong to the same owner.  (FYI, Cosmopolitan is a rather posh  cafe for the Double Bay set to rub shoulders when I was still at school, ‘whoever was anybody’ dines there).

Owner Leo, ever hard-working was  on his feet making sure everything is in order.

Georges menu are traditional casual lunchtime fares consisting of  sandwiches, melts, salads, steaks and seafood. Sandwiches and toasties are popular for the older ladies whereas the gentlemen preferred their heartier steaks or huge plates of fish and chips to go with a glass of vino.

I ordered Moussaka with a side salad. It was huge slab of minced meat and eggplants sandwiched between a potato base and the creamiest, thickest layer of belchamel cheese. It was slightly spiced, however leaning to sweet which I assume to cater for the older tastebuds.   It was lovely nonetheless.   With the temperature taking a sudden nose-dive today,  the pipping hot moussaka was  moreish, I guiltily finished it all.

Coffee, though was a tad weak and very milky to cater for its set of clientele.

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Moussaka

At the time of review, Georges Cafe Piccadilly scored 55% out of 9 votes!
Georges Cafe Piccadilly on Urbanspoon

The Swimmers Club, Rose Bay

Date of Visit: August 18 2013

It’s a beautiful sunny Sunday and the plan was for a drive to Rose Bay for a lunch at The Sailors Club. I guess we were not the only ones with the same ideas as the restaurant was fully booked.  So without a booking we were asked whether we would like to put our names down for a 3:30pm sitting (a 3 hours wait) or to go downstairs to The Swimmers Club for coffees and more casual fares.

The Swimmers Club is a revamp of the old Rose Bay kiosk.  It has been done up very nicely, a sleek shed with motorised shades to block out rain, and sittings along the dining bench along the deck. It was packed, but we managed to get seats at the dining bench.

It was very idyllic sitting under the sun –  catching warm sea breezes, watching activities on the sea and checking out people walking along the shores.   Occasionally a sea gull would swoop in to perch on the balustrade, probably looking for a bite.  All-in-all, a fantastic place to while away the hours – however, not if you are hungry and waiting for ages for food to arrive!

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The Swimmers Club kiosk

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Rose Bay Marina

When food finally made their appearance after a very patient 40 minutes wait, I am sad to pronounce it ‘subpar’.

The omelette was more like a fritata with potato and extremely salty. The lamb pie was a ball of tough pastry with  only a tiny chunk of lamb in it, and very sweet with sautéed tomato/capsicums/onions  mix – incidently also cameoing as a side.   The bread and butter pudding slice was quite inedible and the worst I had ever tasted – I couldn’t comprehend the taste, except it’s custard-ly sweet, doughy, not fresh and topped with oily stale bread chunks with a sprinkling of icing sugar for deco.

Nevertheless, the saving grace was the coffees and the views.  I won’t say never, but if I come back next time, it will only be for coffee.

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omelete

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lamb pie

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lamb pie

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bread and butter slice

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Rose Bay promenade

 

The Swimmers Club:  594 New South Head Road, Rose Bay, NSW

Hits and Misses @ Bills Woollahra, Sydney

Date of Visit: July 31 2013

Even though I am back in Sydney for a few weeks of R&R, work still travels with me. Yesterday, I had a meeting with an associate who is training for the Blackmores full marathon in September. I had also signed up for the half-marathon, but since I can’t see myself to be back in Sydney for the marathon, I had eased back on training. Moreover, with the cold chilly weather and working on the computer reading up and replying litigation emails to idiots – seriously, dudes if you ever engage lawyers don’t let them make you out to be such morons – had made me too lazy to go outside for a run. So, starting August 1 (tomorrow), I am going on a diet…

Better still, why not start today since Mom suggested a light lunch at Bills? She wanted to have their Tuna Poke, but unfortunately, the tuna poke she fancied was no longer on the menu. So, here is a piece of iPhoto memory – a bowl of red translucent tuna sashimi slices, avocado, tomatoes, parsley, samphire (those tiny salty crunchy green veggies that grow along the coastal line which ones has to forage), sesame seeds which has barley underneath and seasoned with soy sauce.

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Tuna Poke

Bills is a busy cafe, where most of the patrons are ladies (of leisure). The outdoor sitting area with heaters is a fantastic spot to catch some sun. With the wind chills and spot of drizzle, we opted for indoor seating instead, for that, we had to wait for 20 minutes, so we went shopping.

Woollahra is a leafy shopping village with quite a few fashion boutiques (international labels includes Akira, Collete Diningan, et al), organic grocers (e.g Whole Foods, Simon Johnson), home furnishings, antiques dealers and galleries, besides the usual cafes of course.

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Al fresco dining in Queens Court

A quick twenty minutes later, we are back, with our shopping in tow…

Mom ordered Ocean Trout Salad which had rice vermicelli under the salad of sugar snap peas, watercress, mint and coriander. The grapefruit imparts a sweet tanginess that tarted up the perfect ocean trout. The dressing was a simple dash of fish sauce.

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Crisp Ocean Trout, Ruby Grapefruit, Coriander and Chili Salad ($22.00)

As for yours truly who is staying faithful to her ‘diet plans’, I ordered the healthy anti-oxidant superfood of Quinoa Salad. There were a lot of sunflower seeds mixed with the quinoa, the wedge of lime did wonders to furnish sourness to beetroot and carrot shavings on the salad. Overall, a satisfying and appetising salad that hope to replicate at home!

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Quinoa, Sprouting Sunflower, Beetroot, Chilli and Feta Salad($19.50)

My Bro who joined us for lunch had the more hearty Veal and Pork Ragu Pappardelle. No doubt it was hand-made in the house by the look of the thick unevenly cut pappardelle. It looked small, but was absolutely filling.

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Veal and Pork Ragu, Pappardelle, Tarragon, Lemon and Parmesan ($24.50)

I like going to Bills for light salads which are easy to assemble at home and I often learn a thing or 2 from dining there.

More iPhoto memories from past visits…

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Raw Green Salad with Feta – beans, feta, zucchini,mint and parsley

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Vitamix quickie – Chilled tomato and cucumber soup

A busy cafe has its off-days, and here is a pic of my Raw Green Salad looking totally sub-standard, with 1 piece of chopped bean (yes, I counted!), bits of veggies and simply tossed up!  If one is not a regular, I suppose this is the last straw!

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(Sub-par) Raw Green Salad with Feta – beans, feta, zucchini,mint and parsley

An astute businessman, he has his latest cookbook ‘Easy by Bill Granger’ on display. I am at odds whether to get it.

His cookings are quite Asianised, little wonder since he was co-owner/founder to Billy Kwong which chef Kylie Kwong later took over. The kimchi rice is very popular and whenever I have visitors from overseas, I would suggest they order this spicy rice dish (with comes with a bottle of Sriracha chilli sauce – the one with a picture of the rooster – and this is pushing the authentic button). However, it was the corn fritters and truffled eggs that made Bills’ name, and they are available in the all-day breakfast menu.

Bills has 3 cafes in Sydney and expanding overseas. I often wondered at Japanese tourists who trekked to Woollahra for lunch in his cafe. It only clicked when I saw his one of his cafes in Tokyo. He is one heck of an global entrepreneur indeed – who’d think one can launch an empire from cooking eggs?

At the time of review, Bills scored 79% out of 157 votes

Bills on Urbanspoon

Sweet Deception @Melur & Thyme, Suria KLCC, Kuala Lumpur

Date of Visit:  June 9 2013

The last time I was at Harrod’s Cafe at Suria KLCC, I noticed that there was a new bistro opposite serving Malay food.  Melur & Thyme it was called, but somehow, I couldn’t help getting the name confused with ‘Melur & Telur’ , I guess ‘Telur’ rhymes better with ‘Melur’.   To those non-Malay speakers out there,  ‘melur’ means ‘jasmine’ and ‘telur’ means ‘egg’.

As we had just landed in KL from Hong Kong.  I wanted to check out the Diane Von Furstenberg shop here.  In particular, I wanted to buy the silver beaded top shown in the SS13 catwalk collection which was sold-out in Hong Kong.  As luck went, no luck for me, I couldn’t find it in the shop,  I did notice that the DVF here is more expensive by probably 20% .  No bargain for me, since I can get 10% off all tax free DVF stock in HK.

A couple more shop hops later, we turned up at Melur & Thyme for lunch.  (FYI, Ladies, KL fashions are far more colourful than the boring office wear for the OLs aka ‘Office Ladies’)

Mom and I ordered Mint Kombucha which we saw advertised on the blackboard on our way in. What arrived were 2 very sweet drinks, tasting like Sprite and can be passed off as Sprite. Isn’t Kombucha a probiotic tea drink, so it should at least look a teeny-weeny brown? Moreover, there was no hint of mint and this left me puzzling whether I got the wrong order… and  whether the scrounge on a sprig of mint?

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The menu is lengthy mix of Western and Malaysian.   I skipped through all the ‘Western’ selections of eggs, pasta, grills and settled on the ‘Eastern’ local delights.  This is after all Malaysia, and I should try improved Malaysian food right?

My Nasi Lemak is one-dimensional. One word – SWEET.   Earlier, I saw the waiter taking a parcel wrapped in leaf from the bar counter top, presumably, my nasi lemak to zap in the microwave.  But it was not warmed up properly, a tad cold, another disappointment.  On top of my nasi is half a hard-boiled egg hiding some peanuts at the bottom.  Also accompanying the nasi were cucumbers and 2 sambals; the sweet sambal ikan bilis and sambal cuttlefish.  My mom liked the cuttlefish sambal and reckoned its been rehydrated from the dried cuttlefish.  The nasi was fine, but didn’t tickle my fancy much.

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Mom ordered a bowl of Grandma’s Hokkien Mee which is a huge bowl of rice noodles with shredded chicken, veggies, bean sprouts, prawns, fish balls, fish slices, a hard-boiled egg as well as other condiments.  The comment that I got from her was ‘the broth is very flavoursome but simply too sweet’.

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My brother ordered Curry Mee.  Again, it’s huge.  It had the same ingredients as  my mom’s big bowl of noodles, but had the extras of  fried tofu pieces and snake beans.  The soup looked very thick and smelt nice.  I presume that it uses coconut milk.  It came with 2 types of noodles, pretty unusual for us…

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Round yellow noodles

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Rice vermicelli noodles

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Looking around, I noticed the other patrons at the next table ordered pasta.  I like the look of big juicy tiger prawns, but the amount of gravy that came with the pastas would be too much for me.  In hindsight, after reading other foodie blogs, I realised that Melur & Thyme’s speciality is duck, and I should have order a duck instead, oh well, next time…

I actually liked the interior of this bistro more than anything else. It’s very very cost effective and simply done using white tiles as backdrops for the metal wrought filigree of a sketch of caricatures eating out at a bistro.  This gave an interesting twist and instant quirkiness to the interior.

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If you look closely at the photos, you see the bottles at the bar sitting on glass shelves.  Again metal lattices were used to give a 3-dimensional visual layering of the wall as well as presenting the ‘presence’ of an actual drinks-shelf without the heaviness.  Even the timber ceilings have metal swirling clouds to give a visual interest to an otherwise boring ceiling.

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Unfortunately, the use of hard surfaces on walls, floor and ceilings made the side-walk cafe to be overbearingly noisy.  With uncontrollable screaming children dining at the other end of the bistro, I had a rather miserable evening with ringing ears.