Work lunch #13 – A hot little Korean spot in Little Collins street

  After around 6 months of exploring the CBD streets and laneways surrounding my workspace, I still keeping stumbling across more and more foodie haunts that I haven’t tried yet. By Korea is one of them.

Nestled between a Vietnamese eatery and the organic Japanese Cafe of Brimm CC (see previous Brim CC post here), By Korea provides another Asian option for quick, tasty, cheap meals! The hubby and I had a lunch date here the other day and I’m pleased to report back that he loved it as much as me 🙂

We ordered:
– Original Fried Chicken
– Chicken Bulgogi (chilli)

Ambience:
Lots of corporates here either dining in or grabbing a quick take away meal. Cozy wooden tables and blackboards scribbled with drinks options. It was a little squashy having to walk around all the wooden seats scattered inside but there is also outdoor seating available

Service:
Fast and efficient

The Details:
They have lots of choice on their menu and we just picked from the first few options under “Light Meal $10”. Ummm I don’t know how “heavy” the other meals would be, but we were so full from our “Light” meals that we were really satisfied with the flavours and value for money. Will definitely be back here again, maybe to try the soup/noodle dishes next! (I don’t know about you but I always try to get a quick look at what everyone else is eating when I go to a new place so I know what to try next time!).


By Korea The Urban Ma Melbourne blogger foodie menu 1 Urtbanspoon By Korea The Urban Ma Melbourne foodie blogger menu 2 Urbanspoon By Korea The Urban Ma Melbourne foodie blogger menu 3 Urbanspoon

Warming up the winter days with this beef stew from VicPies

VicPies Cairnlea

VicPies Cairnlea Town Centre
Cnr Furlong Rd and Cairnlea Dr, Cairnlea

When it gets to cold outside and I feel too lazy to cook or drive anywhere, or I simply need some Viet food in my life, the family and I head straight next door to our local! – VicPies in the Cairnlea Town Centre. I’ve posted about this place before where I gushed about their amazing vanilla slice (see here).

Now that the winter chill is upon us it’s got me craving this pot of warm bo kho with big chunks of meat accompanied by fresh crusty bread.

We ordered:
– Vietnamese-style beef stew with bread $12

Service:
Friendly. The regular coffee maker always says hi to us and Mr D 🙂

Ambience:
Casual cafe with indoor and outdoor seating – I wonder when they’re going to take all those Christmas ball decorations down from the ceiling though!

Details:
When you first see VicPies you can be forgiven for thinking it’s just your average bakery selling pies, slices and coffee. As you approach you’ll see menu items posted on the windows and inside behind the counter showing breakfast options like eggs Benedict and popular Vietnamese dishes including pork crackling Viet rolls! 🙂

Vicpies Café on Urbanspoon

A balcony, cozy booths and good, cheap dishes

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Spring rolls, salt & pepper pork with fried egg 

Red Silks, Level 1, 200 Bourke st, Melbourne

I’ve been going to Red Silks since back in my uni days. Perfect for catching up with friends as they have big cozy booths, cheap but tasty dishes and are open ’til late! The menu is extensive and you can choose to share the mains or opt for your own single serve dish. I come here when feel like sharing a meal in a relaxed environment with great company and conversation.

I don’t think Red Silks specializes in any particular Asian cuisine so if you’re looking for authentic nasi lemak then it’s best to go to a Malaysian restaurant. Red Silks, however, offers generous sized meals and my favourites are their nasi goreng, lemongrass pork with fried egg and their salt and pepper dishes! They also serve the flavoured iced drinks with pearls and I like the taro flavoured drink!

IMG_9662IMG_9661IMG_9659IMG_9669IMG_9668Nasi goreng, chicken & cashew with rice, cute twiggy decor, signage outside, sneak peek of their menu

If you’re up for cocktails they also serve Cosmo’s and other alcoholic beverages which you can enjoy on their large outdoor balcony that overlooks Bourke st.

I keep coming back to this cozy little nook as the meals come out promptly and they never kick us out when we get too carried away having a girly catch up session 🙂

What’s your favourite relaxed hang out?

Click to add a blog post for Red Silks Restaurant & Bar on Zomato

Foodie Fridays – Gozleme goodness

The Urban Ma Gozcity Melbourne gozleme

Sick of bringing in tuna for lunch at work, I visited Goz City the other week…two days in a row – addicted! Found in Little Collins street up the Southern Cross end, you’ll be able to spot this lunch time fav by the line of gozleme fans that extends outside the door onto the footpath. Don’t be deceived – the line moves fast.

Quick service and delicious layers of thin pastry filled with minced meat, or spinach and cheese or the special of the day will have you coming back with your colleagues. There are a few seats inside but it’s best to get your gozleme in a handy takeaway box to enjoy in the sun or in the nearby foodcourt at 530 Collins.

What are your work lunch hot spots? 

 

Foodie Fridays – A bite at 8bit

8bit header The Urban Ma8 Bit friendly staff
A Bite at 8bit.

Our grey and dreary afternoon last week was totally turned around by our first time at 8bit. Bright colours, awesome tunes and happy staff and customers greeted us as we scrambled from the carpark in the pouring rain. As soon as we saw the menu line up of milkshakes, burgers, hotdogs and cheese and bacon fries we were sold.

We came in just in time to grab a table and just before the evening crowd. Daniel the arcade machine around the back and we loved all the little touches from the window decal to the table number holders. Memories of playing Gradius, California Games, Robocop 2, Alien 3, Mario Bros etc on our NES got me feeling a bit nostalgic as we basically inhaled our meal it was so good!


8bit. on Urbanspoon


The Urban Ma daddy and son ootd 8 Bit burgers The Urban Ma blog 8 bit Footscray The Urban Ma8 Bit table number Jacqfruit
8 Bit salted caramel milkshake The Urban Ma JacqfruitBoys and Cars 8 BitThe Urban Ma and Styling Daniel at 8 Bit8 Bit exterior

Thai in the Western Suburbs


Caroline Thai The Urban MaCaroline Thai decor Caroline Thai duck curry

 Caroline Thai
Shop 9/218-222 Caroline Springs Blvd, Caroline Springs

Along with Yim Yam in Yarraville, Caroline Thai family favorite time and time again (see previous post here). We booked a last minute reservation last Saturday night as we felt like keeping it local. The place has expanded from one shop to occupying the space next door and even with the extra tables Caroline Thai still draws a full house so it’s always a good idea to call ahead or order take away.

We ordered the following and loved every dish except the papaya salad was so spicy (we ordered it mild) that we had to gulp down some Thai milk tea with every mouthful! I’ll have to remember next time to make sure it’s not too hot. The waiters were accommodating in getting us a high chair and also presented D with plastic plates, cups and cutlery. Toddler D loved it! – another Thai food fan I see 🙂

We enjoyed:

Golden Nest – Stir fried chicken with king prawns with red wine in chef’s special sauce with cashew nut on a golden nest of deep fried egg noodles
Seafood Tom Yum – Spicy Thai style sour soup with seafood lemongrass, lime leaves, mushroom, baby corn, tomato and chilli
Red Duck Curry – Thai style roasted duck in red curry with tomato, pineapple and vegetables
Som Tum Pu – Traditional North Eastern paw paw salad mad from mixed paw paw, carrot, bean, cherry tomato, garlic, peanut, shrimp with secret salad sauce (we ordered the
Thai Milk Tea
Banana fritters and ice cream
Coconut pudding and ice cream

Caroline Thai Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Caroline Thai Golden Nest The Urban Ma papaya salad The Urban Ma banana fritterCaroline Thai The Urban Ma dessertWe were too quick to tuck into the tom yum soup for me to take a pic!

The Urban Ma Urbanspoon

Hit with Pho Fever!


2014 Melbourne Food and Wine Festival
Sunshine Pho Fever – 10th-13th March, 2014
Sunshine Business Association

It was a sold out event last year and luckily this year Kenny (Consider The Sauce) reminded me to get my pho fever on! Sunshine Pho Fever was again part of the Melbourne Food and Wine festival and this year we joined other guests on a walking degustation tour of the Vietnamese eateries that boast the drinks and soups Sushine is renowned for.

From the placemats with interesting facts printed on them to the goodie bags we were given at the end of our evening, it was a very organised event in which the hosts and restaurant owners’ love for this district’s cuisine was evident and contagious. We were charmed by Simon and Phong who hosted the two separate groups that night – they did a fabulous job showing us around.

Pho fever was a great night out where I learnt all about the origins of pho, how it is cooked, met the people behind the scenes and also met other interesting diners. Networking and pho – I’ll be back next year pho sure! (Sorry I had to do that!).

So without further ado below were the 4 stops that those of us in Group 2 enjoyed last week!:

Cafe #1:
Sao Cafe 3/308 Hampshire Road, Sunshine (9312-0546)
To start the evening off we were welcomed with a red carpet and our choice of refreshing drinks. Wes and I enjoyed ca phe sua da (Vietnamese iced coffee) and taro with some pearls. Mmmm yum.

Cafe #2:
Pho Hien Saigon 3/284 Hampshire rd, Sunshine (311-9532)
We love this place! Being a regular weekend lunchtime favourite, something new we experienced was a meeting restaurant owner Cung and hearing about how his workers and himself prepare their delicious pho and the hours it takes to get it right. Cung explained that his pho is in the making from 9am to 9pm each day . In the evening they take out the ingredients and let the soup rest overnight. It is then ready to serve the next day after Cung himself comes in the morning to season it with his secret mix of spices and herbs.

Cung explained that his uncle originally from the south of Vietnam, now living in California gave him a recipe for pho except Cung felt it had too strong a taste and aroma so after trying pho from different places he tweaked it to his taste, and ours! – I finished my chicken pho even though I thought I should’ve been pacing myself for the rest of the night. It was too good not to! Pho Hien opened 7 years ago and recently expanded its floorspace to accommodate their adoring patrons.

We had the chance to sit next to Kenny and Lauren (Footscray Food Blog) and it was great seeing the different “routines” people have when seasoning and eating their pho (I’ll have to write that up in another blogpost if you’re interested).
If in Sunshine or if you just want to try somewhere new you must try Pho Hien Saigon’s pho, combination rice vermicelli, crispy fried chicken and rice, pork and broken rice and their amazing avocado smoothie!! – ok basically everything they serve here is drool-worthy 🙂

Pho Vien

Cafe #3:
Thuan An 253 Hampshire rd, Sunshine (9311-1119)
Next up the beautiful Julie welcomed us with a candlelit table and the ingredients of her pho displayed along the table runner – star anise, cumin, cinnamon, coriander seeds, cardamon, and rock sugar. Julie explained that their pho broth takes 18 hours to cook and that it is compatible to suit the tastes of those people from both the north and south of Vietnam. Julie informed our group that the spices must be put in at the right time or it will make the soup too light or too dark in colour.

I opted for the combination pho this time which included strips of tripe, sliced beef, meatballs, tendons and brisket. It had a strong flavour and I liked the different textures however I was quite full from my chicken pho that I couldn’t finish it no matter how hard I tried! Or maybe I was just too excited to get into the kitchen and check out their 240 litre pots of broth. The kitchen staff were very friendly and happy to have us in their space.

Our fellow table folk this time were the lovely Tracey (SBA’s new marketing manager and Malcolm from the Academy of Design). We got to chatting about everything from pho, arts, youth, council and area development. Keep an eye out for big things happening in the area! 😉

Cafe #4:
Nhi Nuong 2 Sisters, 255 Hampshire rd, Sunshine (9311-6522)

We were welcomed, fed and serenaded by the talented sisters Yen and Elizabeth at our last stop on our Pho Fever adventure – Nhi Nuong. It was a colourfully decorated cafe and I was glad to see fresh fruits, crunchy spring rolls and beef in betel leaves. I was so full I doubt I could have finished a third bowl of pho – again props to the organisers for taking on feedback from last year’s event!

The first thing we were asked to do was to smell and taste the tea and guess what it was made of. The tea on our tables was warm and fragrant and had a calming effect. We were informed that it had pandan in it and could not be brought in stores – it is specially made in a country town in Vietnam and imported to the restaurant for $80/kg! The betel leaves that enveloped the scrumptiously marinated beef was $45/kg and came from Queensland where the weather produced good quality leaves. We were also served tall glasses of refreshing sugar cane juice flavoured with cumquat and with a guitar and beautiful singing voices, we listened to a traditional Vietnamese children’s song about a child having sugar cane whilst waiting for her mother to finish her grocery shopping. What a night!

If you’re after a night of good food, great company and passionate cafe owners committed to serving you, then Sunshine’s annual Pho Fever is a must visit in Melbourne.

In the meantime if you want to experience more of the area’s food and talent – this weekend is the first year of MaDE in Brimbank (Music And Dance Event). This Sunday March 23rd from 12pm-8pm, come and grab some lunch or dinner from local stalls or an array of food trucks. While you eat, you will be entertained by talent from locals and also XFactor guests and the twins from My Kitchen Rules! For more info check out: Brimbank’s MaDE.