Annam

Annam is made by Chef Jerry Mai, specialising in casual dining Asian Fusion. He aims to combine flavours of Vietnamese, Thai and Cambodian cuisines into one interesting shared dishes. I came in to Annam to try their famous fried ice cream but sadly, they don't have it anymore during my visit.

I love the spacey interior with high ceilings, decorated in industrial cement, wood, splash of red and dim lighting. Annam also opens for private functions such as business and corporate affairs, private family affairs and other kinds of gathering.

Roasted Bone Marrow - red boat salt, Chinese doughnut ($22). I love bone marrow so much but sadly, this dish is way too salty. I can't even eat it. They served a generous portions that make me jumped in joy at first but such a waste I could not eat it.

Ora King Salmon - yellow curry, okra, snake beans ($32). The salmon is perfectly cooked and the curry is nicely made. Subtle flavour but still flavourful enough with a lil bit freshness the pineapple. I partnered it with warm white rice.


Tamarind Caramel Sticky Pork Hock -  granny smith slaw, fresh herbs, banh tieu ($39). I would a little more flavourful rather than just sweetness in this dish and I would like pork to be a lil bit more tender. I love the fresh apple slaw as well as the soft bun. Mind you, Annam does not do takeaway so don't over ordered.

Score:
Annam
+6139654 6627
56 Little Bourke St
Melbourne VIC 3000
https://www.annam.com.au/

Ima Project Cafe

Ima Project Cafe is a brand new Japanese cafe opened by former Sake chef, James Spinks. A petit cafe just 10 minutes away by tram from Melbourne CBD, on the corner of Elgin St. His partner, Asako Miura, who also the interior designer is a very passionate man regarding recyling as well as waste management. So he did everything he can to make it happen at Ima.

I started with Houjicha Latte. Honestly, I needed stronger houjicha flavour and the texture is just too watery for me. The staff explain to us that they make everything them self including the curry powder and they did everything they can to minimise waste such as bonito flakes left over from dashi stock are dehydrated and repurposed into furikake seasoning, coffee grounds are turned into compost and many more.

My friend was visiting from Indonesia and she love Japanese food so I give her a couple of options, she picked Ima. She said this dish; Avocado Toast - nori paste, crispy kale, furikake ($17) intrigues her because of the nori paste. I quite like the nori paste and crispy kale combination but without runny egg, the dish could easily become to dry.

I ordered Japanese Breakfast - market fish, rice, miso soup, pickles ($22) with onsen egg ($3.5). My son loves the combination of fish, miso soup and rice but the fish is way too small for the price. It's so thin and cut pretty small that I left there still pretty hungry. Yes, the fish is cooked well and seasoned nicely but nothing outstandingly unique from this dish.

Score:
Ima Project Cafe
+6139348 1118
169 Elgin St
Carlton VIC 3053
https://www.facebook.com/imacafemelb/?ref=py_c

Akaiito

Akaiito is a brand new Japanese fine dining in town. I'm always excited for a new refine Japanese restaurant in town. Akaiito comes from Japanese tales of soulmates are connected by akai ito, means the red thread of fate. In many of Asian's legend, including Japanese, the Gods tiea red thread around the little fingers or ankles of two people who are destined to meet.


Taking over Bluestone Restaurant, a large two floor restaurant, transformed into one magnificent dark yet luxurious Japanese restaurant. Elegant red thread on the ceilings connected the ground floor and the 18 seat omakase bar floor. The also have several private rooms on the omakase floor. The menu ranging from a luxurious bento lunch to ala carte to robatayaki omakase. A unique concept of specialising on robatayaki which is a method of barbecue over charcoal is something special.

Started with a bang! Sashimi - 15pcs of 5 varieties ($45). Beautiful plate of beautifully fresh fish. Both me and my friend loves it so much. I normally, not a big fan of white fish but they are delicious. Firm but soft texture with a slight citrus on some of them. Highly recommended. There's a mistake with our order, we order otoro sushi but they gave us the sashimi too with this plate. The staff notice it before we do and the chef, generously gave the otoro sashimi for us as complimentary. That's a great customer service right there!

Then our real order arrived; Special of the Night - Otoro sushi. Delicious, juicy, fatty piece of fish as expected. The fattiest part of tuna, also the most expensive because of that. One of the highest delicacy in Japanese culture. Burst of fat in your mouth. Yum!

Wagyu Tartare Tacos - Takeda farm tri-tip, smoked egg yolk, sturgeon caviar, shiitake, anchovy aioli, crispy nori. This is one of the highlight of the night, besides the otoro. Crispy nori perfectly crisp and seasoned as well as not oily with finely chopped high quality Japanese meat topped with a little dollop of smokey egg goodness is just a perfect representation of modern Japanese fusion could be like if taken seriously with the right balanced of course. Aromatic mushroom as well as light anchovy aioli also added a nice flare to the dish.

Move on to their robatayaki; Yakiton - Pork belly, miso shoyu ($6), Tsukune -
Bannockburn free-range chicken meatball, sweet soy ($8) and Wagyu Negi-ma - Takeda farm wagyu tri-tip, soy glaze, shallot ($12). We love the crisp pork belly, fatty enough but not overwhelming. Nicely done. Tsukune is a fan favourite, super juicy minced chicken, traditionally eaten with dipping to raw egg yolk. Delcious. The beef on the other hand, taste better on the tartare rather than skewers. Thick cut but remain juicy, still a good piece of meat but I feel it's over shadowed by the tartare.




Ebi - Prawn, seaweed dust, sour plum butter ($26). This is also part of their robatayaki menu. Another highlight of the night and the most delicious of out everything we tried on their robatayaki section. Beautifully presented as well as very well executed. Perfectly cooked, high quality prawn matched nicely with generous seaweed dust and abundant butter. I would love to eat more of this please!


Lemon Myrtle Souffle - vanilla ice cream ($19). I'm a big fan of souffle but never tried lemon flavour souffle before. Normally, I prefer something rich for souffle such as chocolate, coffee, baileys and so on. Amazingly, the souffle comes out beautifully firm and standing up for quite some time, that's always an impressive note for me. The flavour it self fresh, not too sour, nicely matched with the melting vanilla ice cream. Last but not least, the texture is so light and airy. Nice ending it is.

Score:
Akaiito
+6139620 1343
349-351 Flinders Ln
Melbourne VIC 3000
https://akaiitorestaurant.com.au/
https://www.facebook.com/akaiitomelbourne/

Deliveroo x Koyomi (Sponsored)

Deliveroo is back and now they have various large options of food, all over the Melbourne area even in the suburb where I live. I always love delivering food, especially on a rainy day. It's so convenient especially as a working mom who always rushing to do everything in one day.

I was approach by Deliveroo and Koyomi, they are currently collaborating. I heard from my friend they are even giving free samples of koyomi on some of their deliveries, so if you are lucky you might get one on your next delivery.

Ordered two types of food; classic Indian food and KFC! Yes, they have KFC and I'm so happy. Both order done smoothly in the app and comes in pretty quickly in a nice condition. Checked the picture for prove, everything packaged nicely and still warm.

On top of that, I got samples of Koyomi Highball. It's a blend of Japanese sochu, as you guys know I love anything Japanese and this falls to that category. I love them so much; both flavours have different colours. Yuzu and Lime have a lighter and fresher flavour with a slight sourness at the end. Blood Orange and Bitter have stronger taste with just a lil bit bitter at the end. Perfect with any meal or just by it self after a long day of work.

https://koyomishochu.com.au/
https://deliveroo.com.au/

Saint Dreux

Saint Dreux is a brand new coffee and katsu sando bar, the only one of it's kind in Melbourne. Comes from the team behind Bench Coffee; Joshua Crasti, Arkhe Tekhne and co owners Nick Chen, Frankie Tan and Claye Tobin.


Hinoak Korean BBQ

Hinoak Korean BBQ is a relatively new place in Glen Waverly. Quickly gain it's popularity, even on weekdays reservation is highly recommended. I stumble upon this place on my spontaneous birthday dinner but as I say before, reservation is needed cause they are fully book.