These tastebuds are tripping to Somalia – Safari

Safari Ascot Vale interior The Urban Ma blogSafari Somalian cuisine drinks

Safari Restaurant
159 Union rd, Ascot Vale

Knowing that Baby #2 is due in the coming weeks, I’m not one to say no to a dinner invite, especially when it is somewhere I have never been before with people I haven’t met. Those of you that know me would know by now that I love trying new things and chatting with people 🙂

The night’s destination was Safari, one of many eateries on Ascot’s Vale’s Union road but this one, serving Somali fare. I don’t think I’ve tried any African restaurants let alone one that serves cuisine from one of the countries occupying the horn of Africa so I was looking forward to it.

We were in good hands with Kenny from Consider the Sauce picking the venue and the meals for the 11 of us having a dinner catch up that night (Kenny is no stranger to this cuisine – check out his posts here and here). Out came the drinks, soup and an abundance of food.

We ordered:
Vimto (a sweet cordial like drink tasting of a mix of berries – yum! I think this is served free with meals ordered!)

A Somali milk tea drink that was sweet and creamy – useful for washing down any dishes that were too spicy.

A bowl of meat broth soup – it was a hundred times more appealing on the taste buds than to the eyes. I could’ve easily slurped down another bowl of this.

Fadaration plate – a plate with on-the-bone marinated lamb, spiced rice and spaghetti-like noodles filling up the rest of the plate along with a salad. It was a huge serving for $18 and I thought I’d be going home with takeaway but I actually polished off nearly the entire plate! The aromatic rice was absolutely beautiful and so too the lamb which was tender easily came off the bone.

Bright and casual. There were three other tables booked out on the weeknight we were there. I’m guessing the communal sink at the back is used by those who wish to eat with their hands 🙂

The waiter was very accommodating when taking Kenny’s order and we were served with a smile.

Vimto drink at Safari Somalian restaurant The Urban Ma Safara Somalian restaurant The Urban Ma Traditional Somalian soup Safari The Urban MaSafari Federation plate Somalian cuisineSafari Ascot Vale dinner with friends Click to add a blog post for Safari on Zomato

Work lunch #15 – Ramen with friends in Melbourne’s CBD

  Little Ramen Bar
346 Little Bourke st, Melbourne

I ran into a long time friend on the train the other day and her eyes sparkled when she told me all about her recent trip to Japan. I have still yet to visit Japan but it is definitely on the hubby’s list of places to go to in the near future. With sporadic airfare sales my friend was super excited to be going back again in April and it brought us to the topic of food, among other things.

I love Japanese food especially a warm katsu curry for lunch with workmates but I’m not as familiar with ramen as I’d like to be so my friend suggests we try out some of her favorite ramen places in the city. After a couple of changes to our lunch date we finally settle on a day and I enjoy more stories about the beautiful culture, sights and food of Japan and was also introduced to the metal pop phenomenon, Baby Metal as we enjoyed Little Ramen Bar’s authentic ramen bowls.

We ordered:
Vegetarian Gyoza dumplings full of tofu, vegetables, ginger and secret seasonings

Classic Ramen – original Tonkotsu soup rich in porky goodness extracted from over 10 hours of cooking. Topped with seaweed, bamboo shoots (which I omitted from my order), spring onions, & a slice of pork (OMG the pork was so tasty and tender. I ordered my classic ramen with the shoyu (special soy) base).

Chasu Tamago – a classic ramen topped with extra slices of BBQ pork and seasoned egg

We dined at Little Ramen Bar during the weekday lunch rush and got a table after lining up for only a few minutes. There are tables inside and out filled with hungry office workers slurping down their fix of warm broth and slippery noodles. Casual and clean.

We were served our steaming bowls of ramen quickly, and I was surprised that the waitress actually remembered to omit the bamboo shoots from my order. Nice one 🙂

I always love catching up with friends and sharing stories over delicious meals…especially if they’re about travel, food and shopping!

What are some of your favorite ramen places in Melbourne’s CBD?

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You have got to try the kaya bread at this new Malaysian joint – Makan Place

Makan Place Pacific Werribee Urban DinerMakan Place interior design

Makan Place Shop RE10, Pacific Werribee
Cnr Derrimut Rd & Heaths Rd, Werribee

An impromptu visit to see Nanna on the weekend led us from Bunnings to the new part of Werribee Plaza or should I say Pacific Werribee’s Urban Diner area. The $370 million redevelopment sees 15 new restaurants open in June this year and a great new space to hang out and enjoy a meal and some entertainment with friends.

Nanna and Aunty told us to meet them at Makan Place, a Malaysian restaurant with authentic Malaysian cuisine with a long menu filled with Malaysian favourites like nasi lemak and aromatic curries.

We ordered:

– Prawn wonton soup (it also came with prawn crackers)
– French toast with Kaya and Peanut butter (this was a perfect combination of super soft bread with a nice blend of kaya spread and peanut butter – totally ordering this again next time!)
– Fried Kway Teow
– Nasi Lemak – Malaysian, Indian -spiced fragrant rice served with homemade sambal, acar (pickled vegetables), crispy anchovies, peanuts and a half a hard boiled egg
– Fried rice, Nasi Goreng Kampung, Spicy fried rice served with sambal prawns, chicken wing, chicken satay and topped with a fried egg (the sambal had a real spicy kick to it, the chicken satay skewer was cold and dry but I really enjoyed the fried rice and the fried chicken. They’ve got to do something about that chicken satay skewer though…)
– Teh Tarik (hot)
– Milo (cold)
– Mango special

– beautiful and clean decor, lots of different options for table seating and also family friendly with high chairs. Mr D liked the bicycles displayed and the patterns of tiling were quite pretty.

– there was a long line when we got there but we were seated within 10 minutes and the scrumptious looking photos on the menu were very enticing. The dishes served up to us weren’t exactly like the ones in the photos but were still very filling that we didn’t have enough room to order cendol for dessert! We ordered our meals by using the self serve sheets of paper and even though I had written that I wanted my egg well done, it was still runny in the middle.

The Details:
Make sure you order a creamy drink from the extensive drinks menu if you are going to have anything with sambal in it as it is very spicy but also very tasty. Overall we liked the food and will be back next time to try the desserts and also have some more of that smooth, delicate kaya bread.

Makan Place entree menu MalaysianMakan Place menu nasi lemakMilo drink Makan Place Malaysian restaurant MelbourneTeh Tarik Makan Place WerribeeMakan Place fried rice Nasi Lemak prawn wonton soup  Makan Place Noodles kaya bread Makan Place Pacific Werribee  Makan Place Urban Diner Werribee Makan place interior kitchen    Urban Diner Werribee  

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  Feeling brave? – Tina’s will surely heat things up for you 


Tina’s Noodle Kitchen – Level 1 Highpoint Shopping Centre, Maribyrnong

After coming back from interstate travels, we felt like going somewhere familiar to shop and eat so we headed to Highpoint. I knew it was the Electrix Fields opening weekend but we were nicely surprised when heading down the escalators we were welcomed with wide open spaces. 

An urban feel with an array of new Asian eateries, this area of Highpoint felt a lot different to the rest of the centre and we were starving so we had hit the jackpot.

After wandering around checking out fried chicken, dumplings and ramen offerings we obviously had to try the most unfamiliar to us and so we sat down to peruse Tina’s Noodle Kitchen menu – it’s always an adventure with the hubby because he likes to try new things and hopefully our 2 year old grows up to be just as curious!

“The Masters of spicy surprises” Tina’s Noodle Kitchen has things on their menu not for the faint hearted – pork liver, lamb tripes, blood curd, kidneys, duck web and chicken gizzards were just some of the choices we had! There were also a lot of plant based dishes with exotic mushrooms for those who are vegetarian.

With my reflux never-ending these days I had to opt for a non-chilli dish even though I really wanted to try the Beer Duck with Konjac cake…there’s always next time! Daniel and I enjoyed the huge bowl that was presented to us with mountains of rice noodles in chicken stock soup with a variety of fillings and the hubby happily ate his way through his soup with beef and pickles. Hopefully next time we visit we can dig into the more interesting fillings.

My dad loves spicy food so I can’t wait to take him here and in turn try some of the other combinations.

We cooled down afterwards with some dessert bowls at Dessert Story also found on Level 1 which I can’t believe I only tried for the first time a few weeks ago thanks to a friend craving dessert.

This new section is now open 10am til late for you to explore the Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Malaysian cuisines.


Work lunch #14 – Lunch date with Mr Nice Guy


Mr Nice Guy Healeys Lane, Melbourne

Only a few weeks left until I start parental leave so the hubby and I decided to have a lunch date. After exploring the area with a friend yesterday, I wanted to check out more of Healey’s Lane so we met up there.

There are quite a few eateries to choose from with Korean, Thai and Vietnamese options well represented, although some were closed opening only during dinner time.

We settled on eating Thai at the place with the colorful door – Mr Nice Guy.

We ordered:
Chicken Pad Thai (the hubby said it was nice and saucy! Almost liked it as much as our fav pad Thai dish from Yim Yam in Yarraville)

Khao Kra Pao stir fried minced beef, green beans, brown onions, chilli, basil leaf, garlic and fried egg. The mince was super tasty and the green beans crunchy. Great dish!)

Jasmine tea

Busy with the lunch time crowd, this place makes good use of colour and texture with its cheerful decor. We arrived there at 12pm with the place being pretty empty but within 30mins all the tables were full with people also eagerly placing their take away orders

Fast and on point – I asked for them to cook the yolk well done and they served it up just right fully cooked through

We’ll definitely explore more of Healey’s lane in the coming weeks 🙂


Your guide to 11 Filipino restaurants found in Melbourne!

I always get a lot of questions about where to find Filipino restaurants here in Melbourne and I always wish that I could just recommend my parent’s or all my aunties’ kitchens as I absolutely LOVE their cooking!
Below I’ve put together a quick guide for you on where to find Filipino cuisine. For those of you who have never tasted it before, come with an open mind and ask questions at the counter so they can explain to you what’s in some of the not-so-appetizing looking dishes because they may not look like a Masterchef dish but they are still just as delicious!
Shop 2, 243 Franklin st, CBD, Melbourne
Grills are their specialty and their cripsy pata meal is delicious. Other traditional Filipino dishes like sinigang are available upon request and make sure you pick up a jar of their atchara (pickled papaya). It is a great condiment with meat dishes. Check out my earlier post here to see what we ordered!
 gjs-grill-beef-tapa1 gj's grill atchara gj's grill melbourne
50 Errol st, North Melbourne, VIC
 The newest addition to Melbourne’s Filipino restaurant scene, Reynaldo’s serves their dishes straight from the kitchen and have a variety of Filipino and Western options on the menu. Of the Filipino choices, make sure you try the Adobong Manok sa Gata (chicken adobo with coconut milk) and the kare kare. Friendly service and I liked that their dishes not only had rice on the side but also some veggies.
Kare Kare Reynaldo's Filipino Restaurant Adobong manok with gata Reynaldo's Filipino Restaurant Melbourne
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475 Ballarat rd, Sunshine, VIC
11/53 Synnot st, Werribee, VIC
Try their chicken and garlic rice. The lapaz batchoy (pork noodle soup with pork offal and crushed pork crackling on top) is a nice winter warmer and can be bought in a meal with siopao on the side – very tasty and very filling! And it’s also cooked at the back and not just served straight from the bain marie 🙂
Chadz Chickenhaus The Urban Ma blog
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Markets and Events, various locations
Currently they can be found at the Night Winter Market at Queen Victoria market and the Night Noodle Markets along Brisbane’s Southbank and attract attention with their suckling roast pork rotating on the spit. Lines can be long so best to get in early.

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5. Happy Hut
85-87 Oakwood Road, Albanvale (close to Brimbank Shopping Centre)

I didn’t even know that this place was open until my cousin told me they had visited it before and were impressed with the freshness of the dishes here compared to some other locals. Since our first visit we’ve been back to get the dinuguan and fish for dinner! So yummy! Great to see they also stock GJ Grill’s atchara here too.

12 Victoria square, St Albans, VIC
I’ve heard the halo halo (a Filipino iced dessert with various toppings like beans, jackfruit and leche flan) here is pretty good. You can choose your dishes from the bain marie such as pancit (noodles) and dinuguan (stewed meat in a spicy dark gravy of garlic, vinegar and pigs blood). Click here for fellow food blog Consider The Sauce’s visit to Lasang Pinoy and some of the dishes Kenny tried out!
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Shop 21-23, 100 Furlong rd, Cairnlea, VIC
5/49 Synnot st, Werribee
Dishes sit in the bain marie from menudo (stewed pork meat with tomato sauce and cubed potatoes, carrotsand liver) to fried tilapia and longganisa (Filipino sausage). Bring a Filipino friend to help explain the different choices to you.
Unit 2, 275 Foleys rd, Deer Park, VIC
Try their freshly made vegetable rolls – lumpiang sariwa garnished with sweet sauce and crushed peanuts. They also have an ihaw-ihaw platter consisting of a variety of grilled meats and seafood complete with soup and gulaman (sweet grass jelly type beverage) drinks which you need to book for in advance. Service is a bit slow. Check out food blogger Mon’s Adventure for her experience at Jasmine’s here.
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With the following Filipino cafes, I haven’t actually visited them so if you have and have any comments or suggestions, please feel free to comment below!!
Marriott Waters Shopping Centre, Lyndhurst, VIC
Breakfast, coffee and a few Filipino items like chicken adobo with rice on the menu.
129 Walker st, Dandenong, VIC
Breakfast items include tapsilog while other dishes that can be found include paksiw na pata and lechon kawali
548 Whitehorse rd, Mitcham, VIC
Mostly Thai dishes at this place with a few Pinoy meals scattered throughout the menu.
12! Eduardo’s Kitchen! 😉
No matter how near of far I go to get my fill of tasty Filipino dishes, nothing fills me up with more goodness and comfort than when my own papa and relatives cook a meal for us! If you’re lucky enough to have a Filipino friend, make sure you get an invite to their place for dinner so you can experience the warm hospitality and fresh flavour of Filipino cuisine – including all the noise and conversation that accompanies a Filipino meal.
Let’s eat! – Kain na!
Eduardo's cooking
Pictured above is the epic kamayan/boodle fight table we put together for Papa’s birthday last year! Thanks to Kenny from the popular food blog Consider The Sauce for documenting the whole day we spent preparing this special meal for Papa! I will try and put up a separate post to list out all the meat and veggies included in the photo above so you too can hopefully put together a spread like this for a special occasion and enjoy a kamayan feast(eating with your hands). Tag your photos #kamayanyum so I can see and share!
For some other Filipino-themed blog posts check out here and here! 🙂
What Filipino dish is your favourite or would like to tryout!?

South Side Diner at Southbank, Brisbane


South Side Diner
Shop B8/B9 168 Grey St, South Brisbane

We wanted to have dinner seated down by the river so walking past the Night Noodle markets where we later had some dessert, we found South Side Diner after a lovely little stroll. One look at the enticing menu had us hooked and it didn’t take us long to order our meals. If only we had room in our tummies to order the jumbo prawn thermidor and mac n cheese! Oh well there’s always next time.

We ordered:

– Crispy fried duck with toasted waffle, roast pumpkin puree, candied apple and shallots
– Twice cooked beef brisket with smoked mushrooms, blue cheese and potato crush
– Kansas City baby back lamb ribs with smoked tomato chutney, and potato crush with fennel salt
– Char-grilled New York steak with seasoned kipflers, salsa verde, golden fried onion rings and duck fat aioli
– strawberry milkshake
– Dr Pepper

A fun and relaxed atmosphere with cool wall prints and neon lights. A retro American diner where you can enjoy milkshakes seated on the bar stools or get cozy in the big booths with wooden panelling – this place seems to be suitable for both families and couples on dates 🙂

Friendly service even towards the end of the night when they were probably wanting to close up!

The Details: 
Loved the beautiful stroll along the river to get to this place. The archways covered in vines that lined the pathway made our night time stroll even prettier (the ferris wheel and lights from the Night Noodle Market were already a treat!). The ribs had quite a bit of fat on them so much so that hubby left almost half his meal on his plate which, isn’t normal. He totally had dish envy with my delicious crispy fried duck!  Southbank Brisbane South Side Diner

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