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In this post, I would like to introduce you to the Ikea meets David Jones Food Hall of Germany: Dinea, located at the Galeria Kaufhof department store. But better…
There were quite a few stations, each with a different cuisine type. Many of the dishes on offer looked super tasty, and it took us a good 10 minutes of walking around to figure out what we wanted to order for lunch.
J.ma’s pumpkin soup, served with bread.
After my ten minutes of walking and thinking, I ended up at the Thai station. Here, customers can select the veggies of their liking, making each curry unique.
The veggies were first stir fried, before the addition of a curry sauce (satay or green curry). With a dislike for most things peanut, I opted for the green curry…
… which turned out to be a fantastic choice, because the flavours were spot on. The curry sported a great balance to spicy to sweetness, and the veggies were well-cooked. The rice that it was served with also tasted just right. Phew… we all know how rice can sometimes be screwed up…
It’s a shame that we’re now so far away from Heidelberg (currently in Rome)… I could really do with another green curry - I’m starting to miss Asian cuisine, and there’s not many places that can cook rice out here, let alone dish up a good Asian dish.
Dinea im Kaufhof
Bergheimer Str. 1, 69115 Heidelberg, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany
While I used to visit Oriental Spoon on a frequent basis back in my BBmed days, my last visit took place well over two years ago. Much has changed in that time, and not just with me! The restaurant itself has also undergone a major revamp, and if I’m not mistaken, it has also been expanded.
The interior’s look is now much sharper and brighter than what it used to be, and highlighted the lively and bustling environment of the restaurant. Speaking of bustling, there must be quite a flurry of activity in the kitchen because the food started to come out in what seemed like no time.
Pork bulgogi - finely sliced pork belly and pork neck, marinated in [their] hot chilli paste, cooked with vegetables, and served on a sizzling plate.
WOW, the pieces of pork were so tender that it was impossible to distinguish between the fatty bits and the actual meat! The marinade and sesame added a sweet flavour, before shifting to a lingering spiciness. Perfect with rice, this was a dish that I could not fault.
Chicken Tang Su Yuk - sweet and sour vegetable sauce, poured onto fried chicken strips.
I took one bite, and a familiar flavour came over my taste buds. It took me a while to put my finger on it, but I finally managed to work out the source of familiarity. Or rather, ‘sauce’! It tasted VERY similar to Maccas’ sweet and sour sauce. The batter on the chicken was even somewhat similar to the nuggets! The pieces of pineapple, onion and capsicum were a familiar sight, but the addition of apple slices added a unique factor.
Seafood soft tofu jigae - assorted seafoods, with soft tofu and seasonal vegetables, in a hot and peppery soup.
Not lying about being hot and peppery, the soup actually packed enough spice to leave a trail of its spicy warmth down to my stomach. An underlying sweetness added to the overall rich flavour of the soup. The tofu was silky soft, and the seafood bits were contrastingly a bit too chewy. This was another dish that went hand in hand with the rice.
Kimchi jeon - pan fried Korean kimchi pancake.
While all of the other dishes came out soon after ordering, they ended up forgetting about our pancakes. After alerting a waitress, the pancakes came out 10 minutes later. Perhaps it may have been better if the dish never came… the crispiness was lacking, and as a result, the pancake tasted very soggy and heavy. The kimchi flavour was evident from the get-go, but the spiciness was too minimal for my liking.
While its appearance has changed, the quality of the dishes served at Oriental Spoon remains largely unchanged. With mostly hits and a few misses, it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re after a quick Korean feed at a decent price!
Just another reminder: the giveaway of two single passes to any one of David Jone’s Talk & Taste sessions ends tomorrow night (Sunday 3rd November, 6pm AEST). To enter, click here.
254 La Trobe St,
Melbourne, Victoria, 3000.
(03) 9654 9930
After seeing photos of Jeannie’s (THE Goddess of Scrumptiousness) vibrant red and delicious-looking spaghetti and spicy meatballs on my dashboard, cravings for meatballs immediately kicked in. So I caved and ended up whipping up a batch of my own!
500g pork mince
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley (plus extra to serve)
2 teaspoons chopped rosemary
250g cherry tomatoes, halved
1 red capsicum, sliced
800g tomato passata
Grated tasty (or parmesan) cheese and toasted ciabatta bread slices to serve
1. In a bowl, combine the mince, garlic, chilli flakes, parsley, rosemary and egg.
2. When thoroughly combined, roll the mince mixture into meatballs (with a diameter of around 3 centimetres). Cover with cling wrap, and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
3. When the meatballs are ready to cook, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat in a frying pan. When oil is heated, add the meatballs.
4. Cook the meatballs until well coloured on all sides.
6. To the same frying pan, add the cherry tomatoes and capsicum. Stir and cook until the capsicum slices start to soften.
7. Add the tomato passata, and allow to simmer until the sauce is heated.
8. Serve the meatballs with a sprinkle of grated cheese and fresh parsley over the top, and a few slices of toasted ciabatta bread on the side.
Alternatively, these meatballs can also be served with pasta.
Behold, the solution to dealing with the wintery cold hand we have been dealt: Oriental Teahouse’s ‘Fire in a Bowl’ experience. While the bowl itself isn’t actually lit on fire, nor will it set you alight, the heat in this spice-laden bowl will have you peeling off the winter knitted layers in no time. I was recently invited to attend a lunch to sample the dish, and I would like to thank Oriental Teahouse and Harvey Publicity for the invitation.
The ‘Fire in a Bowl’-dubbed Szechuan hot pot is a recent addition to the yumcha-based menu at the Melbourne Central Oriental Teahouse restaurant. *Note. the Szechuan hot pot is only available at the Melbourne Central location.
David Zhou’s Oriental Teahouse restaurant chain is not only renown for their yumcha (particularly because it’s the ONLY restaurant that continues to serve yumcha after the sun goes down) but also for their extensive selection of teas. And if anyone should know about tea, it’s the man behind the making of the restaurant and its menu. The very friendly and charismatic David Zhou joined us for lunch on the day, and I was given a brief lesson on teas whilst tossing up between a few different ones. Wow, free lunch AND a tea lesson. Going by his recommendation, I ended up with a very fragrant white tea.
Onto the most important aspect of this post: the Fire in the Bowl. The dish is available in three different levels. Well four, if you decide to leave out the spice altogether. All bowls are made up of pork and chive dumplings, sweet potato noodles, tofu skin, black fungus, cabbage, pieces of fish and chicken, and varying amounts of hua jiao Szechuan chilli peppers.
Exhibit A: Level 0.
No signs of red = no spice.
Exhibit B: Level 1.
Exhibit C: Level 2.
Possessing some tolerance for spice and feeling somewhat daring, I decided to go with the midrange amount of spice. My eyes almost popped out when I saw the amount of redness in my bowl!
It’s a shame that no one ordered the level 3 dish; I would have been interested in seeing both what the dish looked like and the consumer’s reaction to the spice…
It’s hard to avoid slurping when it comes to eating noodles, but I learnt the hard way that the move is a no-no with this dish. The chilli oil from the peppers swept through the soup, and slurping will lead to spice going up the wrong pipe… The szechuan spice was subtly numbing at first, resulting in a pleasant tingle, but continued to grow as more of the dish was consumed. Spice factor, tick. The best part of the dish easily came in the form of the pork and chive dumplings. The skin was perfectly gelatinous and yet delicate, and the sweet pork filling was well-flavoured from the ginger and chive additions. The lusciously tender pieces of fish were also quite enjoyable, and provided a welcome distraction from the fiery, spicy presence.
Some pointers I picked up in dealing with the spice:
1. Ask for the chilli peppers on the side, and then add the amount you wish to add.
2. If the chilli is already in your bowl, there’s no shame in conceding defeat and fishing out the chilli. I may or may not have resorted to this strategy…
3. Have a nice cold and refreshing drink on standby to douse out the fiery hotness. This raspberry cordial-like ice-cold tea was a godsend…
Whether you’re interested in playing ‘spicy chicken’, a fan of spice, or just after a tasty, CHEAP (a mere $12.50 for such a large serving) and hot bowl of soupy noodles to combat the cold, there’s something in every ‘Fire in the Bowl’ for everyone.
Disclosure: the opinions expressed in this post are based entirely on my experience and observations made during the time of my visit.
GD 068/69, Melbourne Central Shopping Centre
(Closest to the corner Elizabeth St, La Trobe St entrance)
Melbourne, Victoria, 3000.
(03) 9066 0208
I would like to start off this post with a Happy Birthday shout out to Pamoooola, otherwise more affectionately referred to as Pam Pam by many in our friendship circle. The occasion was marked with a dinner for 14 people at The Kodiak Club. Like many who attended dinner, I was no stranger to the food on offer at TKC. Featuring an American-style menu, it’s their buffalo wings that keep us returning, and not surprisingly, the reason why Pamoooola selected TKC as the venue for her birthday dinner.
Fitting right into the Brunswick St scene, TKC is first and foremost a bar. More specifically, they pride themselves on being Melbourne’s only bourbon bar. Although for us, we associate TKC with awesome buffalo wings rather than bourbon drinks!
French fries - crinkle cut potato chips
No deep-fried, greasy menu would be complete without chips! Their version was very tasty, possessing the perfect amount of crisp crunchiness to tender potato flesh. I particularly enjoyed the trappings of salt/flavour and bonus crunch arising from the crinkle cut. I noticed afterwards whilst reading their menu that there is an option to serve the chips with MELTED CHEESE AND GRAVY… did someone say POUTINE?!
Jalapeno bottle caps - Jalapeno slices, filled with cream cheese and honey, coated in a seasoned batter.
I can think of no positive outcomes that arise from eating these; the bottle caps combine spice and dairy with a deep-frying. But while my GI tract might not be thrilled with that combination, my taste buds on the other hand had a blast. Underneath the batter layer, which resulted in a delicate crunch, the subtle sour spiciness of the jalapeno paired perfectly with the gooey cream cheese filling.
Mac N Cheese - penne noodles smothered in a creamy cheese sauce, topped with garlicky breadcrumbs.
It’s amazing what difference some breadcrumbs can bring to the humble Mac N Cheese dish. Standard Mac N Cheese is already quite tasty, but the addition of the aromatic garlic flavour takes it to the next level. The breadcrumbs also brought a crunchy texture that complemented the tender and soft pieces of penne noodles perfectly. Highly recommended - it was one of the first dishes to disappear!
Shattered onion - shards of fresh, sweet onion, tossed in [their] special house-seasoned flour, and fried until crispy. Served with honey-chipotle mayo.
The Kodiak’s famous buffalo wings - crispy fried chicken wings tossed in American hot sauce, with celery sticks and [their] homemade blue cheese sauce.
To sum up the dish precisely: perfection on a platter (once you take away the celery sticks). Like previous visits, the wings were cooked perfectly. The wings/drumsticks remained succulent and tender, while the exterior possessed a softened crunch. The finger-licking tasty hot sauce and creamy blue cheese sauce formed an addictive flavour combination. Some greens were definitely required to balance out with the heaviness and oiliness of the wings+sauce, but I couldn’t bring myself to keep eating the celery after one bite. ECK! A few friends who have had the privilege to visit America AND try buffalo wings over there will swear up and down that the wings served at TKC come close to the real deal.
Pretty sure we’ll all be paying a visit to The Kodiak Club before Pamoooola’s next birthday… Going by past experience, buffalo wing cravings should be kicking in within 1/2 months!
The Kodiak Club
272 Brunswick St,
Fitzroy, Victoria, 3065.
0431 947 910
It’s been on my to-eat list for quite some time but I can finally cross off Longrain. The opportunity to try it out arose a few weeks back when it was my turn to pick a restaurant for dinner with TMF. Bookings for dinner are limited and are only offered for dining parties comprising of 6 or more people. We had our fingers and toes crossed that we would be able to secure a table upon arrival. No luck. A wait of 1.5 hours was anticipated and with our eyes on the time, we left our contact details behind and wandered around to kill time. We received a call that a table was available 20 minutes earlier than planned and promptly returned to the restaurant.
The restaurant was much larger than expected and possessed three different seating areas: a bar, two long tables offering a shared dining experience and individual ‘private’ tables. We were seated at the shared table and while TMF wasn’t a fan of this arrangement, I was overjoyed about the comparatively brighter lighting (for photo snapping) and the opportunity to look at the dishes ordered by other patrons.
The interior itself was very much old meets new, modern meets classic. The brick walls, concrete ceiling and pillars were a contrast to the swanky decor and dim lights.
The table setting.
Our feast - we may have gone a little overboard when it came down to ordering. We had assumed that the dishes would be quite small but the large share plates… were very substantial. We should have checked with the waiter.
Chicken and prawns simmered in coconut cream, with rice cakes and cucumber.
First impression: a very aromatic dish. A potent curry-like aroma was immediately detected as soon as the dish arrived at our table. Taste: the flavours reminded me of a curry laksa salad, with a sharp lemongrass and spiciness that gradually kicked in. The rice cake was very crisp. Bland when eaten solo but worked very well with the salad to help counter the at-times-potent flavouring. The cucumber further helped to balance the spiciness.
Salt & pepper silken tofu with fried eschalots and garlic.
The tofu dish possessed all the attributes of good tofu: delicate, silky (akin to egg tofu) and with an exterior that tasted like soggy fries (Ok, so that last feature doesn’t sound so great on paper but it was delicious!).
Eggnet with pork, prawns, peanuts and caramelised coconut, with a cucumber relish.
As soon as I laid my eyes on this dish, the words egg overdose came to mind. Surprisingly, the egg presence was quite minimal and easily overpowered by the bean shoots. The dressing was slightly sweet and vinegary with strong hints of lemongrass and lemon juice.
Salad of seared duck breast with pomelo, chilli, tamarind and roasted rice.
We weren’t the biggest fans of the last dish, although this could have been due to the both of us feeling quite full at this point. The duck was chewy, firm and not as tender as I had expected. Similar to the first dish, this was a sweet salad with the spiciness setting in a few seconds later. The flavouring was quite intense and the dish also possessed a strong mint presence.
Thai Jasmine white rice.
In regards to getting to a comfortable level of fullness, the rice shouldn’t have been ordered. BUT despite it being super filling, it was necessary to help break up the intense flavours from the salads and eggnet dish.
If you’re in search of a place to satisfy your Thai food cravings, then Longrain is the place for you. With the strong Thai presence in most of their dishes (lemongrass and spiciness), you’re bound to walk away completely satisfied.
44 Little Bourke St,
Melbourne, Victoria, 3000.
(03) 9671 3151