Showing posts from March, 2012

A Certain Joy and Flow

I had to confront getting done a task which I avoided for long, tried to rationalise that it would be right if they are still left unattended and have virtually done nothing about an evolving situation. Once I got to gradually chip at the bricks, so to speak, I moved on to a synergy that was unstoppable - and results began to show and shape out. In between the commencement and completion of this task, I also had some passing insights of things, which did give me an inner glow of a certain joy and flow.

Re-discovering the strength of survivors. Our inner passions and determination are not to be under estimated. A roadblock or distraction cannot undermine a solid purpose. Even if we are totally discouraged at one point in time, the core of want and aim are like roots and seeds hidden underneath the soil, ready to spring back to reality and growth. In the movie Hugo, the child characters wonder why they stumbled into mysterious leads, and reasoned that like machine parts, they were there …

Manjits at Corrimal NSW

Indian cuisine, together with Chinese, Thai and Italian, have been a mainstay in almost every large conurbation in Australia since the 1950s. Each of these cuisines have evolved from basic immigrant dabblings with Australian ingredients to styles of cooking available, especially these days in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney, that are said to be more authentic, traditional and reflective of various provincial styles. One of my frequented places for Indian, just next in a neighbouring suburb, is Manjit's, easily spotted upstairs in one corner at one of the main traffic sets of lights in Corrimal, a location south of Bulli and north of Wollongong CBD. I always ask for their lovely concoction of mango lhassi (picture above) , the Indian-styled yogurt refresher essential on summery days, and also offered in plain or vanilla flavours.

Manjit's provides a lunch bento-style offering of the thalli, more than adequate for each person in three varieties of curry, two wholesome slices of …

Brasserie Bread - Banksmeadow, Sydney

There is a whiff of nippiness in the air, especially in the early mornings and late evenings. You long for some homely comfort, a bit of warmth and the aroma of freshly baked stuff. It can be a lazy, easy time. The arrival of autumn is on the back of our minds, but we do long for the texture of good baked rolls, to take with fresh and colourful fruit, welcome grains and the memory of other hazy but good mornings. Oh yes, both the rhubarb and strawberry tart, plus the orange and hazelnut friand are waiting for you (above image), fresh - someone has returned from the Brasserie Bread Cafe near Botany Bay.

Clockwise above, from noon: brioche burger bun, flavourful light and just of the right bite size; the ever reliable plain croissants, ready as they are, but also inviting with butter, jams and crunchy sides; the sweet danish "pain raisin", tempting but not overwhelming.

The sit down menu at the cafe is extensive, whether for breakky, brunch or lunch. I was captivated by the…

Spring Boarding

To do something unconventional takes guts. Beyond circumstances, above reproach and surpassing all previous certainties. Perhaps the only underlying motive is "Why not?"

Think of the last time each of us as individuals did something remarkable. Truly ground breaking, when compared with society's expectations, our own expectations and that of our loved ones. When we do break barriers, whether of spirit, our own constrictions or way of thought imposed on us, this act involves risks but also beckons with opportunities. Maybe it is also the person moving on to such dimensions has long ago prepared himself or herself to be able to do it, when the time arrives, when the bridge has to be crossed and before it is too late. I envisage such a scenario when the action is taken and has to be taken is like a diver spring boarding away, and giving us the surprise twist, but that moment of projection and twirl projects all sorts of emotions and thought on the part of observers. Howev…

Melba Brasserie at the Langham, Melbourne CBD

On arrival, I saw the variety of seafood, salads, desserts and the theme of readiness. Stone slabs and wooden panels set the tone of Melba's Brasserie. I settled on my chair at the top end of a long dining table, could not pace myself initially, but felt relaxed by my company (the Yeaps) at table and the friendly staff attending to us. Buffets can be tricky, often under appreciated for what they entail and the palate's overall satisfaction depends on the sequence of menu selections thoughtfully chosen. At the Melba Brasserie, four things stood out, the oysters, Moreton Bay bugs, green lipped mussels and the carvery meats. The evening began on a easy note, not too noisy, as we were early, but as the place filled up on a Sunday evening and the autumn air played its colours outside, more diners messed up their tables even if they still looked elegant. Still, there was no sense of rush as they sensed out intentions to make the most of the lingering hours of the weekend! Lobst…

Taste Baguette & Grill, Darling Quarter, Sydney CBD

Another business day, another of those precincts designed by the same people paid by the same developers off to milk the same formula? It looked like one of those joints in Melbourne's South Bank. It had the same lay out, perhaps the same frontage. The premises has the same opportunities and challenges. High tourist traffic, with the presence of a bunch (actually a few thousand in number) of resident twenty somethings with high discretionary cash flows, need to unwind after 7pm and with a refusal to go home to another cubicle (after spending ten hours in an office cubicle). The nearby ground space was turned into a kind of recreational adjunct to a gym, even if there was no proper gym outfit nearby so to speak. People were actually playing table tennis on stone tables, others were hanging on the grass and benches as if to escape the confines of their nearby high rise units. Hmnn, I recall Brisbane's South Bank. Rentals of outlets look suspiciously high, so there is obvious…

Sambal Kampung, Little Bourke Street - Melbourne CBD

Sambal Kampung, or chili and shrimp condiment from the village, is run by a Chinese family previously from Sarawak, the portion of northern Borneo once ruled by White Rajahs (the Brookes), home land to various tribes and home of peppercorn plantations. I had arrived there, a small unassuming cafe like shop, on a suggestion from a Sydney family and with a hunger to try Melbourne's Malaysian food reputation. The thousands of students from Malaysia who had trudged through the grid-like streets of Melbourne since the fifties have indelibly left behind a culinary trail of street food, delicacies from the four main racial groups that reside in Malaysia and various styles of unique cooking traditions that may no longer exist in today's Malaysia.

The first thing I realised was that the roti prata they dished up was bigger in size and asked for a bargain price when compared with Sydney. The accompanying curry was even more wholesome than at Mamaks Chinatown Sydney CBD. Wow. The ambia…

Glebe Village, Sydney CBD

Tucked away at the south side of Sydney CBD is the enclave of Glebe, all at once bohemian, buzzing, cosmopolitan and diverse. You have the choice of water views from Blackwattle and Rozelle Bays, shopping at the nearby and busy Broadway centre, quaint calmness in hidden lanes, Paddington styled terraces, non-mainstream bookshops, weekend markets, lifestyle produce and products, cafes, diverse dining options, bicycle friendly paths, music gigs, bricked roads, backpacker gathering holes, blue collar perspectives and student life. Beyond Glebe, within a five kilometre radius, you have access to other tribal places like Surry Hills, Darlinghurst and Newtown; commerce in ethnic hubs like Spanish Liverpool Street, Italian Leichhardt, Chinatown and Thaitown; choices in public transport like trams, trains and water taxis; tourist centres like Darling Harbour and the Sydney Fish Markets; work offices down George Street; university lifestyles from Sydney, Notre Dame and UTS; and across Sydney&…

Clipper Cafe, Glebe - Sydney

Is the ultimate choice of a regular cafe in its coffee, food or ambiance? I reckon it's the people, especially the first person to greet you and take your requests; the fellow customers, they way they dress up or down; and the extra touches people make you feel at home. It can be a busy morning, as when I was there on a Saturday, and yet the staff made me feel as if I was the only customer. My cappuccino (image above) came out as soon as they could, even if I knew there was a backlog of customer requests. I had the same person attend to me and my experience and this is much appreciated. He had an easy and genuine smile, even if he was busy, and the smile shone in his calm and bright eyes.
The internal decor makes a child stare in wonder and asks questions. Why is that bicycle hanging on the wall? Whose creative art pieces are being displayed? At times it feels like in a gingerbread cottage, at others like in a bohemian community. There are many twenty-somethings and choices f…