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

Ambience:
– 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.

Service:
– 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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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

So wrong but oh so right! – Sweetwater Inn

The Urban Ma at Sweetwater Inn

Sweetwater Inn – 1/60 Bray street, South Yarra

Just off Chapel lies this place I really need to visit again, Sweetwater Inn. I cannot stop thinking about the heavenly gravy or those beautifully beer batter chips that are so wrong yet oh so right (I’ll walk it off later I promise!).

I couldn’t believe I’d never been to this place before and thank goodness for the recommendation from one of my gorgeous Rewind ladies, we chose this place for a sunny Saturday catch up session. And I think it will become one of our staples.

Sweetwater Inn The Urban Ma blog Rissole sandwich

We ordered:
– Rissole Sandwich: Wagyu rissole with melted cheese dipped in gravy, served with chips and salad
Smoked Potato Croquettes: Fluffy smoked mashed potatoes with jalapenos and caramelized onions, crumbed and fried served with spicy aoli
– Calamari Salad – Chilli and herb marinated calamari, lightly fried or char grilled, served on a seasonal salad with herb aoli

(Wow, just typing out that menu made my mouth water! Note to self: reserved a date in the diary to visit this place again and try the Chip Bottie next time!)

Service:
Lovely staff

Ambience:
“A little bit of country hospitality in the not so country South Yarra” – a rustic type shed with wooden furnishings, a kinda cowboy feel, mini beer garden and lovely Saturday morning sun shining through. I can imagine it can get quite noisy and entertaining!

Details:
Most things on the menu offer a vegan or vegetarian alternative and the staff are happy to help make any alterations where needed. Great place for drinks and a good hearty meal.Sweetwater Inn The Urban Ma blog details

Sweetwater Inn Melbourne bars The Urban Ma blog

Sweetwater Inn on Urbanspoon

Longrain with my mamma girlfriends

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Longrain Melbourne – 44 Little Bourke street

Sometimes all you need is to get away for dinner and drinks with your girlfriends to talk, vent, relax, listen and unwind.

People who understand what its like to be run off your feet trying to juggle the demands of family, household, full time work and a marriage and still try to look appealing and energetic…

Seems like Thai is always the go-to cuisine for catch ups as I remember going out to one of the Thai restaurants down Keilor Road and observing that about 95% of the patrons were made up of females catching up with their girlfriends, mums, daughters etc! Lol!

It was my first time at Longrain and we ordered the banquet menu with an additional dish.

Favorite dish:
The caramelized pork hock, five spice, chilli vinegar

Service:
Attentive

Ambience:
Loved the interior of this place. I remember thinking as soon as I walked in that it would an awesome venue to hire out for a 30th birthday or some sort of occassion. Long communal tables for groups and smaller tables next to the windows for a group of 4 like us.

Details:
Our banquet menu was $65 and required a minimum of 4 people. Good sized dishes and a great tasting plate for dessert!

Downside:
Bookings for dinner are only for larger groups. As were we weren’t in any rush, it was actually nice to take a seat at the side bar which served good drinks a yummy starters and we were able to chatter away. However if you are the type of person that likes to make reservations for dinner just come in early when it opens and you’ll be sure to grab a table. They fill up pretty quickly though!

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If you want to check out some great Thai eateries you can find some more blog posts here, here and here!

Longrain Melbourne on Urbanspoon

The Fat Duck experience – Melbourne

The Fat Duck Melbourne Cheers The Urban Ma blog

The Fat Duck, Level 3 Crown, Melbourne

It was 6 months ago that we found out we were going to be dining at The Fat Duck in Melbourne while Heston’s Bray location was renovated.

With an appreciation for all things food, whether it be a Michelin-starred restaurant, the local noodle house down the road, or papa’s comforting and delicious home cooked meals, I could not wait to experience Heston’s highly acclaimed mutli-sensory phantasmagoria.

And sharing this experience with a group of friends, staying overnight at Metropol so we could fully enjoy the night, was a perfect way to start off a long weekend (we all took Friday off work!).

With a plethora of articles and write ups about The Fat Duck already over the net (this one is one of the quite detailed posts including videos thanks to Libby from Filled With Food blog!), I didn’t take my camera in and just took a few quick snapshots with my iPhone, spending more time in conversation with good company.

The Fat Duck The Urban Ma blogSome of the dishes we devoured. 

To give you even just a bit of an idea of how our night started and panned out, I’ll start off with the entrance. We arrived early and once it was time for us to be ushered into the restaurant we found ourselves walking down a long, dark, floor-lit corridor that seemed to get smaller and smaller as we reached the end where there were chefs rushing around doing their thing on a small screen. Our Alice in Wonderland slash Heston experience had begun.

We were pressing on the walls all excitedly trying to figure out how to get out, when out of nowhere a door on our right slid open and we were greeted with smiling faces of the people who would be guiding us through the 16 course menu that night.

Walking to our tables (we got a lovely table right next to the windows where the Crown flames periodically lit up our night!), I was so pleasantly surprised at how intimate the space was. Dark interiors with around only 50 seats per sitting during the 6 month pop up.

The Low Down

1. Aerated Beetroot (such a delightful start to our meal. I wanted more! Wouldn’t mind having a dozen of these to take home!)

2. Nitro Poached Aperitifs – Vodka and Lime Sour, Gin and Tonic, Tequila and Grapefruit (Disappearing as fast as the Cheshire cat, this was coolness on my tongue and was made beautifully in front of our eyes)

3. Red Cabbage Gazpacho – Pommery Grain Mustard Ice Cream (This brought back memories of L’Arpege, Alain Passard’s restaurant in which the hubby and I shared our first Michelin-starred meal together as husband and wife with one of our dearest friends, Noel – we had mustard ice-cream there. Oh the memories…!)

4. Savoury Lollies – Waldorf Rocket, Salmon Twister and Feast (Presentation, taste, perfection – loved this)

5. Jelly of Quail, Marron Cream – Caviar Sorbet, Oak Moss and Truffle Toast (Homage to Alain Chapel) (Such an entertaining dish with so many components. I really did feel like we took a stroll in the cool woods)

6. Snail Porridge – Joselito Ham, Shaved Fennel (This was a hearty dish that at first I enjoyed, but it got really salty, a bit too salty for my liking)

7. Roast Marron – Shiitake, Confit Kombu and Sea Lettuce (a satisfying seafood dish)

8. Mad Hatter’s Tea Party – Mock Turtle Soup, Pocket Watch and Toast Sandwich (One of the quite theatrical dishes of the night. Ticking pocket watches were presented to us with our waitress questioning us as to how they were fixed in Alice in Wonderland. We dipped them into the liquid, they dissolved and we poured this broth into our teacup creating our Mock Turtle Soup.)

9. “Sound of the Sea” – salty sand, seafood including abalone and an array of seaweed (Listening to the sound of crashing waves and seagulls as I ate the “beach” – such a creative culinary masterpiece.)

10. Salmon Poached in a Liquorice Gel – Endive, Vanilla Mayonnaise and Golden Trout Roe (I didn’t think I’d like the liquorice part but I actually really enjoyed this dish – a nice texture with flavours that went really well together!)

11. Lamb with Cucumber – Green Pepper and Caraway

12. Hot & Iced Tea (Mindblowing. Enough said.)

13. Botrytis Cinerea (I know it doesn’t sound very appetizing but this bunch of “grapes” was a beautiful dessert! Both to the eye and in the mouth)

14. The Not-So-Full English Breakfast (A box of Heston cereal with a puzzle piece inside, scrambled eggs and bacon on toast like you’ve never had it before! I wanted to take a box home of the cereal made up of dehydrated vegetables and popping candy it was so moreish.)

15. Whisky Wine Gums (You could taste the strong alcohol. Presented on a framed map of where the whiskies originated.)

16. “Like A Kid In A Sweet Shop” (Such intricate details on the Queen of Hearts card, aerated chocolate with mandarin jelly, apple pie caramel enclosed in an edible wrapper and the a block of wagyu nougat with Guinness and beef caramel – goodies to take home with us!)

The Fat Duck Hot and Iced tea The Urban Ma blog

Favorite dish of the night:
You’ll probably find this odd for me to say but I think one of my most favorite dishes for the night was the hot and iced tea! It tasted so good and I just couldn’t get my head around it – how could it be hot and cold at the same time!!!? Genius! Felt amazing in my mouth!

If you don’t want to count that as a “dish” then I’d have to say the Savoury lollies were my other fav! I particularly loved the middle one – the Salmon Twister. Brilliance! Oh and the salmon in liquorice gel was an unexpected fav of mine!…I loved the how all the flavours went so well together; toasted coriander seeds, pink grapefruit, vanilla mayo and the tender, tender salmon just melted in my mouth. it reminded me of a foie gras dish I had at L’Aubergade in Pyumirol, France way back in 2005…take me back!

Favourite sweet dish was the grapevine like Botrytis Cinerea. My kind of dessert. Texture, flavour, sweet and a little sour. Superb!

Most memorable moment(s):

For me it was all about the good food and company and, apart from enjoying each and every single dish in different ways, the thing that stood out to me most was the detail. All the little details in everything from:

– the little bookmarks with snippets from the Alice in Wonderland story giving us further insight into our mock turtle soup to,

– the way our plates were swiftly placed and taken away by what I would call “table choreography” (our dance friends would appreciate this one!) to,

– the little puzzle pieces that drew our eyes to the huge mosaic (8m x 2m consisting of 19,500 puzzle pieces!) behind us of Heston, giving us a chance to leave our mark to,

– the way certain dishes seemed to be presented in a certain way ie. snail porridge presented with an exclamation mark as the lid was lifted (ie. “Snail Porridge!”, waiter lifts lid) LOL! You get what I mean Susie and Chloe! 🙂

– all the details on our cereal boxes and our scented lolly bag menu cards, the caramelized pancetta and pain perdu accompanied by the jar of maramlade with an edible lid, down to the luxurious feel of the envelopes with the Fat Duck seal that held our menu for the night.

– And just when we thought our night had ended, one of the waiters heard us whispering on the way out “I wonder what the kitchen looks like!”. Without hesitation we were asked if we’d like to be taken into the kitchen. Everyone was so friendly and the chefs had just started to clean up the savoury part of the kitchen with only desserts left for remaining tables. The “Chefs table” that was part of the ballot was nicely placed to have clear view of the dishes being prepared. Hospitality at its finest and service at its finest.

I could go on and on and my intention for this post was to be short and sweet but of course here I am rambling as I remember more and more.

The Fat Duck the details The Urban Ma blog

  Was it worth it?

Totally worth it! We made memories that will last long after the meal ended!
The set menu was $525 not including drinks and for our table of 6 the bill ended up being just over $3400. Still not that most expensive meal (which was at Le Pre Catelan on our honeymoon in 2005). As I worked it out, when we found out in October that one of our friends was a lucky winner of the ballot, it would only cost around the price of a coffee a day from that day on leading up to our April dinner date!

So glad that we could stroll back to our hotel rooms for the night as the dinner was around 5 hours long. It felt like it went by so quickly and leaving the restaurant space I felt like we had just gotten off a ride for all the senses. It really was an experiences that “stimulated all the senses” using “smell to generate emotion” and “headphones to introduce the dimension of sound” to our dishes.

Thank you for a beautiful evening Heston and staff.

The Fat Duck The Yuan Family The Urban Ma blog

Fat Duck on Urbanspoon

Sunday family time – Pt 2: Toys & Crepes

The Urban Ma at Becasse Banoffee crepeThe Urban Ma Becasse menu
Becasse, Melbourne Emporium
Level 2, 287 Lonsdale street, Melbourne

With a full tummy from my sister-in-law’s yum cha birthday celebrations, we decided to take a stroll down to the shiny new Emporium for a bout of shopping and to check out if any more new retailers had finally opened their doors. Victoria’s Secret was open but with a line just to get in so we decided to come back later and make our way to Myer Kids Emporium. Toddler D again fell into the lure of the Thomas the Tank Engine wooden table and train track set, and easily spent what felt like an hour with Percy choo-chooing around the railway! I absolutely love watching him concentrate so hard with his eyebrows furrowed and his lips pursed. There were quite a few amazing bargains in the kids clothing section and I found myself scoring a few Bonds items from $2 – $6 each (there was 30% off already reduced marked prices!). Daniel walked away with some Crayola markers, Edward the train and a Cars playset! The spacious wide aisles of level 4 made shopping a breeze and enjoyable even though there were lots of kids and parents around the place.

After spending time lots of time with the toys we searched for somewhere to take a break before heading back to the car. We found ourselves at the elegant Becasse Bakery on level 2. With clean white walls and rich dark accents, we were immediately seduced by the ambiance and the pretty, little, sweet treats in the window. Smooth saxophone riffs played while the hubby devoured his salted caramel milkshake topped with toffee popcorn and a soft macaroon. I had the banoffee crepes…oh the caramel sauce! Drool!

Bécasse on Urbanspoon

The Urban Ma Becasse kitchenIMG_1627The Urban Ma Becasse Salted caramel toffee popcorn milkshake The Urban Ma Becasse urban spoon The Urban Ma Emporium Melbourne Becasse The Urban Ma Daniel ootd

The Urban Ma Myer Kids EmporiumThe Urban Ma Thomas the Tank Engine
The Urban Ma at Myer Kids Emporium
IMG_1640The Urban Ma daddy and sonThe Urban Ma Russell street Melbourne

Sunday family time – Pt 1. Yum Cha lunch

The Urban Ma visits Crystal Jade Palace MelbourneThe Urban Ma yum cha treat

Crystal Jade Palace
154 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

It was a happy birthday celebration that brought us all together for Sunday lunch at Crystal Jade Palace. First time here and it was bustling with happy chatter and trolleys full of tasty dishes ready for the taking. I never know what to order when going to yum cha and because I eat anything (except for the chicken feet!) I gladly tried out the different pickings of the day including eel and tripe! Daniel loved it and ate everything we gave him, even sipping the tea when he got thirsty. We were seated towards the back end of the first floor restaurant and it was perfect being next to the large windows as Daniel was able to watch he cars below driving down Russell street after he finished eating. With $10 all day parking a few steps away, Crystal Jade Palace is conveniently located in the middle of all the action.

Crystal Jade on Urbanspoon

The Urban Ma sticky ribsThe Urban Ma foodie yumThe Urban Ma yum chaThe Urban Ma blog Crystal JadeIMG_1566The Urban Ma blog windowOOTD: H&M knitted jumper, Target plain black leggings and Freshly Picked moccs
IMG_1596Daniel and his yeye 🙂
The Urban Ma Forever new vestCuddles with baby Will
IMG_1587The YuansThe Urban Ma blog window
Looks like an ad for City Mini! – seriously love this pram! We’ve taken it all over the place including overseas and it is so easy to maneuver, fold and push along (I’ll have to write up a separate blogpost on it!) 
The Urban Ma Melbourne Little Bourke street yum chaAll rugged up with a nice big coat to protect him from the chilly Melbourne winter day