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.

        

Back for more…this time it’s bun reiu – Co Do, Sunshine 

   When last Co Do (see post here) we bumped into a friend as we were leaving and she recommended we try the bun rieu so last month we did just that!

We ate at Co Do on a Saturday afternoon around 1pm and we were lucky we didn’t have to wait for a table. We were seated straight away near the window which enabled Mr D to car-watch while we waited for our meals, which didn’t take long at all to arrive.

We ordered:
– vegetarian spring rolls

– a bowl of bun rieu

 – a bowl of banh canh pork soup

Ambience:
Compared to some of the other cheap eats along Hampshire road in Sunshine, Co Do is fitted out with dark, rich colours making it feel just a little more special.

Service:
Fast and abrupt

The Details:
You can find street parking nearby and if you’ve never been to Co Do before their BBH (bun bo hue) is their specialty. The menu is extensive with lots of variety from soups to rice dishes to pancakes.

I liked the flavour of the bun rieu – it reminded me of a Filipino noodle dish called palabok. It had all the same flavors as palabok except the bun rieu was in a soup form! It had a lot of filling and even Mr D liked it!

Click to add a blog post for Co do on Zomato

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

Love never fails

 

Corinthians The Urban Ma blog

 Friendship and coffee in Hoppers

20 years ago was when it started. A friendship between high school friends going through everything from the deb ball, VCE exams, uni, finding ourselves and our first jobs, through to 21sts, engagements, weddings, and now babies. It only seems fitting then that along a row of shops across the station back in the suburb we met in high school stands Corinthians.

You’re probably well acquainted with the verses from Corinthians as it is the most popular reading recited at weddings. And as much as it can get repetitve hearing it over and over again, I guess it’s so popular because people can relate. “Love never fails“. And I am so grateful for the love that I have experienced between a group of girls I met several kms down the road from this cute little cafe.

A friend and I caught up for lunch on a cruisey weekday afternoon enjoying good coffee with a mushroom burger and risotto. We even got a take away coffee for another friend who couldn’t join us so we took it to her work – how’s that for a personalized delivery service 🙂 And thank goodness for midweek catchups, this  – yayyy for parental leave and flexible workplace arrangements!

Even though everyone has moved and we don’t live as close to each other, I love every catch up that we have as I always learn something new, always feel at ease and relaxed, and always leave having so much gratitude for everything we are blessed with.

#itsthesimplethings. Really!

Corinthians on Urbanspoon

Melbourne cafes The Urban Ma blogCorinthians The Urban Ma blog risotto Mushroom burger The Urban Ma blog
Corithians decor Corinthians The Urban Ma blog menuSuch a variety of sweets and savouries available with gluten free options as well

Corinthians The Urban Ma blog Corinthians Urbanspoon The Urban Ma The Urban Ma Corinthians decorD got so excited seeing a bicycle hanging on the wall lol!
Corinthians kid friendly cafe The Urban Ma blog

 

Kid -friendly with some toys for Daniel to play with while we eat!

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

Feasting at La Morenita – Sunshine

The Urban Ma at La Morenita

 

La Morenita – 67 Berkshire Road, Sunshine 03 9311 2911

Normally open for breakfast and lunch, Maria and Marco welcomed 25 of us for dinner into their Latin American bakery for a hearty Consider The Sauce (CTS) Feast hosted by Kenny. For those of you who are not familiar with the CTS Feasts, Kenny brings together his love for food and supporting local small business by organising dinner at various restaurants at a set price for a set number of people. At these friendly and hospitable events, you indulge in authentic meals and gain more of an insight into the world of these small business owners. The CTS Feasts get filled up pretty quickly so just to give you a heads up the next one is on June 17th (see here for more info and to book you place!)

We had never ventured onto the industrial Berkshire Road in search for a meal before. Driving along this road quite a few times I never noticed this row of shops so it was my first time at this Latin eatery. We met some lovely CTS readers who had come to the feast from as far as Heathmont, Hawthorn and Ivanhoe!

 

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The Urban MA CTS Feast

Maria and Marco sure looked after us and our bellies with the following line up!:

1) hallullas and pebre (Chilean bread and chilli dipping sauce)
2) sandwiches de miga (we had the ham and cheese variety without crust – sooooo tasty and soft to eat; they reminded me of the sandwiches we eat at the Filipino Dawn masses during Christmas time!)
3) Fried cheese empanada
4) Oven-baked beef empanada
5) Oven-baked chicken empanada
6) Churrasco (a beef sandwich/burger with beef strips, tomato, avocado and creamy mayo, YUM!)
7) Choripan (chorizos in a long bun with onions and black pudding was also served on the side)
8) custard Berlin doughnuts
9) 1000 layer cake (so good I even took some home to have with coffee the next morning!)
10) Oh and can’t forget the interesting fizzy soda drinks where one flavour tasted like the banana lollies I used to get in party bags when I was around 5! 🙂


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Maria informed us that all the bread and pastries were all made on the premises by herself and Mario and I just can’t stop thinking about the 1000 layer cake held together with caramel sauce…ok, I might just go back there some time this week for some sweet goodness! With blackboard menus on the walls and a variety of packaged goods available for purchase as well as fresh baked bread, La Morenita serves up full-flavoured Latin American food with a smile. Can’t wait to come back and try the other sandwiches and desserts!

La Morenita Latin Cuisine on Urbanspoon

IMG_4947The Urban Ma at CTS FeastIMG_4945

La Morenita menusLa Morenita behind the scenes

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.