Not Impressed with Temasek

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we miss Malaysian food! Cravings for Malaysian food hit us every now and then, especially during festive season like the Hari Raya or Mooncake Festival, when we see more pictures of good food on our Facebook feed. Therefore, it is inevitable that we scout around for Malaysian restaurants to visit during those times in need. A few weeks back, we decided to give Temasek a try – a restaurant that prides itself with Singapore and Malaysian cuisine. Even though we shouldn’t have, we went in with above average expectations.

IMG_5242

Roti Canai (AUD$4.40/2 pcs)

We went during lunch and our first thought was that the restaurant was quite busy even though it was probably close to 2pm. We managed to get a table in no time though, together with a high chair for Little J. The vibe of the restaurant wasn’t too friendly, we could feel waiters who were rushed and not smiling, as if we were not welcomed. Anyway, we ignored that and proceeded to look at the menu. My first impression was that the prices were on the high side. I can say that I have been to quite a few Malaysian restaurants in Sydney and the prices here are definitely one of the highest. I mean, $16.80 for a simple nasi lemak? We will get there shortly.

We ordered a couple of Roti Canai to share, but were disappointed that they did not come with any curry on the side. I mean, which restaurant in Malaysia does not serve curry/dal with roti canai??? Even the cheapest mamak place serves roti with some gravy for dip and yet, Temasek refuses to provide any curry to go with the roti even though they are charging an exorbitant $2.20 per piece! So much for calling themselves a Malaysian cuisine restaurant! We tried the roti and to be honest, it wasn’t too different from the frozen Paratha that we usually make at home. Definitely not worth the money spent.

IMG_5239

Fried Hokkien Mee Malaysian Style (AUD$14.80)

For mains, I had the Fried Hokkien Mee Malaysian Style. I was a bit excited when I saw this item on the menu. Not because I was craving for Hokkien Mee, but because I saw 2 different Hokkien Mee listed – Malaysian Style and Singapore Style. I thought if they had classified it down to such specifics, they would know what it takes to make Malaysian Hokkien mee the right way. But boy was I wrong. I was expecting noodles in thick and dark soya sauce, almost to caramelized consistency with a hint of charred smoky flavor, but all I got was watery soya sauce gravy with Hokkien noodles. Totally took my appetite away. I don’t even remember tasting Hokkien mee that had watery gravy. I was disappointed and a little angry that they were misrepresenting Malaysian food to Sydneysiders. Seriously, someone should do an audit on Malaysian restaurants before allowing them to claim themselves to be Malaysian restaurants.

IMG_5241

Nasi Lemak (AUD$16.80)

Last but not least, Saucer had the Nasi Lemak, one of the most expensive ones we had in Sydney. Sure it came with a choice of 2 sides (choice of chicken curry, beef rendang or sambal prawns) but the portion of the two sides add together was similar to the portion of a single side that I get elsewhere. Not only that, the main star of the nasi lemak, which is sambal, really, was measly! It was such a minuscule amount on top of a half of a boiled egg that it may as well not be there. And did you see the acar which was supposed to be served as a side according to the menu? What a joke it was! Literally half a spoon of acar does not warrant it a position as a side dish, I think. Yes, the chicken curry and beef rendang were good. But isn’t the core of nasi lemak really the sambal ikan bilis (anchovies) and rice? I’d much rather have more sambal and ikan bilis than for my rice to be smothered with curry, thank you very much. I guess I would not have been as annoyed had they not charged an exorbitant amount for what they claimed to be Malaysian food but were obviously far from it.

If I went in hoping to satisfy my cravings for Malaysian food, I came out feeling worse than before. They could be good in other Malaysian dishes but for our visit, we were not in the least impressed. Oh, and did I mention? They were only accepting cash on that Sunday afternoon. What a bugger.

Temasek
71 George St
Parramatta NSW 2150
Tel No.: 02 9633 9926
Lunch: Tue to Sun (11:30am – 2:30pm)
Dinner: Tue to Sun (5:30pm – 10pm)

Temasek on Urbanspoon

East West Buffet Seafood

It’s not often that we go for all-you-can-eat or buffet meals these days, especially with Little J around. It’s simply too ambitious to think that one could leisurely stroll up and down the buffet spread while thinking which items to try, and then sit down and eat at a leisurely pace, and repeat the process several times. No, gone are the days of our relaxed buffet meals. These days, we’ll be lucky if we can finish a proper meal (without going for seconds or thirds) in peace. So when we saw this promotion at East West Buffet having a seafood buffet lunch deal at $16/person, we thought we’d try to be ambitious this time. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen? That we’d just eat hastily and leave the restaurant without making our money’s worth? We’re way past that these days. :D

IMG_5171

First plate

Making a reservation was surprisingly a breeze. With such a good promotion going on, I thought it would be hard to get a place especially during the weekends. We reached at around 1pm, with about 1.5 hours left to the end of lunch service. Once we’re shown to our table, we took turns going to the buffet spread while the other stayed behind to look after Little J. The first item that I attacked was the seafood. There were plenty of fresh prawns, mussels and octopus on the buffet. The variety wasn’t great but the quality was really not bad. I used to dislike eating mussels due to their very fishy taste/smell, but the ones from here were pretty decent. The prawns were also very fresh, succulent and sweet. And the best part was, they were always refilled when they  ran out. Another of our favourite item was the clams. They’re just so super juicy and plump and tasty. Saucer must have had at least 3 servings of those! LOL!

IMG_5216

Mussels and octopus on the seafood spread

Another area that we visited a lot was the sushi belt. The sushi belt wasn’t very long, but once in a while, there were some nice items that we kept going back for. There was salmon sashimi, salmon sushi, beef/wagyu sushi that we had a few of. Towards the end of the buffet, there were more of those sashimi plates coming out so we grabbed them too. I guess sashimi can’t stand long so towards the end, the chef decided to just finish up whatever that’s left in the kitchen? Fine by me!

IMG_5220

Variety of sushi on sushi belt

IMG_5172

Wagyu beef sushi

The pictures taken below were at the end of the buffet, so some of the plates were almost empty. There’s quite a good variety of salads around, with fresh vegetables in some, cooked meat in others, as well as the pasta salad. For kids, there’s also a buffet area filled with deep fried stuff such as fish fillets, chicken nuggets, fries, spring rolls and fish tofu. Grabbed a couple of the nuggets to keep Little J occupied while we had a few minutes of peace to munch.

IMG_5214

Salad bar

IMG_5215

Deep fried items

Next to the deep fried area was the BBQ and roast meat bar. There was a selection of BBQ pork, roast pork (Siew yoke), roast duck and soya sauce chicken. Saucer liked the roast duck and had a few pieces of those. I tried some of the siew yoke and they were not fantastic, but not too bad either.

IMG_5217

BBQ pork, roast duck, roast pork and chicken in soya sauce

IMG_5218

Garlic bread, roast beef and more pasta

IMG_5219

More roast meat and potatoes

Towards the end of the buffet, there were some new items introduced as well. One of the more memorable ones was the BBQ pork ribs! They were slightly charred and had a caramelized outer layer, which reminded us very  much of Malaysian-style char siew. The local char siew (BBQ pork) here is more of the Hong Kong version, where the skin is more reddish and does not have that caramelized/charred outer layer. But these pork ribs, they were just like the Malaysian-style char siew, with a sweet outer layer. Really good!

IMG_5174

Fresh prawn skewers, clams and siew yoke

IMG_5176

More juicy clams and awesome BBQ pork ribs

By now, we were so lucky to have gone through 2-3 rounds of the buffet spread. We kept Little J busy by giving him morsels of food and his plastic spoon that he could play with. While he’s entertaining himself, we quickly had our dessert fix. There’s a soft-serve ice-cream machine with DIY toppings nearby. There’s also a small spread of cakes around with choices of chocolate mud cake, apple crumble and apple strudel to name a few.

IMG_5178

Soft-serve ice-cream with chocolate sauce

IMG_5179

Apple crumble, chocolate mud cake and apple strudel

The chef must be a fan of ‘saving the best for last’ for just before we wanted to leave, we saw a new tray of deep fried sesame red bean balls being brought out from the kitchen, still piping hot and smelling heavenly! Yes, these deep-fried red bean sesame balls are similar to the ones we have back in Malaysia and they’re so good! Especially right out of the fryer. Burns the tongue, yes, but so worth it. Since the crowd was getting thinner at that point of time, there were more of these sesame balls to go around. Saucer must have had more than 5 pieces of those! So sinful but so good.

IMG_5181

Red bean sesame balls

IMG_5183

With Little J after our dessert

IMG_5186

Dining environment at East West Buffet

Overall, we had a great time at East West Buffet, much to our pleasant surprise. Little J was good throughout, except for a few tantrums after he was done with his own lunch, but nothing that we couldn’t manage. The food was above average, and it certainly was good value for what we paid. We’d be more than happy to make a return visit whenever we felt like stuffing ourselves crazy again in the future.

IMG_5189

Little J and Saucer at the end of the buffet

IMG_5187

East West Buffet at Blacktown RSL

East West Buffet Blacktown RSL Second Avenue, Blacktown 2148 NSW, Australia Phone: +612-9621-6077 Fax: +612-9621 4677 Business Hours: Lunch (11.45am-2.15pm), Dinner (5.30pm-9pm), Fri-Sat (5.30pm-10pm) Email: info@eastwestbuffet.com.au

East West Buffet on Urbanspoon

Happy First Birthday!

Sometimes I can’t believe it myself. Has it really been a year? 12 whole months? Since I gave birth to Little J, that is. Well, now he’s not so little anymore, and definitely much more cheeky and active. Little J officially turned ONE more than a week ago, and he was so lucky that a few of our good friends from Malaysia happen to be in Sydney to celebrate his first birthday with him. :) At first, I just wanted to have a simple lunch with our friends at home, seeing how with a baby, it’ll be difficult to organize and cook without help. But Saucer suggested getting takeaway food instead, so we decided to invite a few of my relatives over as well.

Jared 1st Birthday

Birthday cake

Our initial plan was to have the little lunch party at the park just down the road from our house, and we even went on site to mind map where our balloons and banner would be placed there. However, when the time came, the weather was just turning dark, windy and cold, not very ideal for an outdoor event. So we had to change the venue last minute and have it at our very own deck. Luckily we didn’t invite too many people or they wouldn’t have been able to fit! :) Thanks to the guys for blowing up the balloons and decorating our humble deck.

Jared 1st Birthday

Food and decoration ready

Jared 1st Birthday

The little boss of the day

Little J was in a happy mood that day. He woke up from his morning nap just in time before everyone arrived for the lunch. I wonder how he felt seeing so many new faces at home that afternoon. :) While waiting for everyone to arrive, we took the opportunity to take some pictures with the food still intact. :) And also while baby was still in a good mood!

Jared 1st Birthday

“Daddy, what big teeth you have”

For food, I made pasta with pork sausage and Saucer prepared a lovely salad of lettuce, spam, feta, olives and tomatoes. We placed some fish fingers and chicken nuggets in the oven for the little ones (Little J loves them!) plus also ordered some pizzas and bought KFC for everyone. On the side, we had some crackers, chocolate bars and of course, the cake!

Jared 1st Birthday

The food spread

IMG_5111

The happy birthday boy

Jared 1st Birthday

Caroline, Eric and Grey all the way from Malaysia

IMG_5130

 Everyone celebrating J’s birthday

Jared 1st Birthday

Our little family of 3

Jared 1st Birthday

Saucer and Little J

Jared 1st Birthday

Sweet smile from Little J

It was great fun to meet up with everyone that day, including my cousins and their kid/spouse. Little J received lots of attention from everyone wanting to hold him, take pictures with him or play with him. He was certainly one happy boy that day. Once everyone was done with eating, we had the cake ready and sang a birthday song to Little J. The cake was a combination of a white chocolate mud cake on top and a chocolate mud cake at the bottom. And yes, I decorated it with M & M’s to make it less plain. :) The cake itself was really yummy and moist! I especially loved the chocolate mud cake which was super chocolatey and dense.

Jared 1st Birthday

Birthday cake for the 1-year old

Jared 1st Birthday

Cake-cutting!

Jared 1st Birthday

Yummy and moist chocolate mud cake

Then, it was time to open up the presents! Of course, the first one had to be from his parents. :) We got him a giraffe car that he could sit on and ride. He was so excited seeing the box that he would not let go of it! We had to pry the box from him to open it and start assembling the toy car.

Jared 1st Birthday

First birthday present for Little J

Jared 1st Birthday

“Give it to me!”

IMG_5109

Riding on his giraffe

All of us had lots of fun that day, so much so that Little J only had his afternoon nap an hour later than usual. As he grows older, he’s becoming more fun to play with, and definitely more interactive. Here’s to many more fun birthdays to come, Little J. We love you very much!!!

Jared 1st Birthday

 Happy birthday cutie pie!

Fondue for 2 + 1

It’s the middle of winter in Sydney and what’s better than having a mug of piping, thick, hot chocolate to drink? A chocolate fondue, of course! We were at the Theobroma Chocolate Lounge a few weeks back on a rainy and cold afternoon for hot chocolate. After settling Little J down on his high chair, we made our orders at the counter. Both Saucer and I felt like indulging in something sweet so we decided to share a Chocolate Fruit Fondue. Well, now that Little J is part of our lives and our outings, everything that used to be for 2 will be for 2+1 now! :)

IMG_4833

Chocolate Fruit Fondue for 2 (AUD$19.90)

The Chocolate Fruit Fondue came with a thick chocolate dip and 4 different fruits – kiwi, bananas, orange and strawberries, plus 2 skewers of marshmallows. Little J had most of the bananas while I absolutely loved the kiwi with the chocolate dip. The combination of something slightly tart with something sweet was just yummy. I reckon this is a surefire way to get your kids to eat fruits if they refuse to eat them normally. LOL. The chocolate dip was very good too – thick, smooth and very very delicious. We were this close to licking the bowl clean when we’re done with all the fruits!

IMG_4829

Hot Chocolate with Warmer (AUD$6.80)

For our afternoon cuppa, Saucer had the Dark Hot Chocolate with the warmer while I had the Milk Hot Chocolate. I thought my milk chocolate was pretty good, until I had a taste of Saucer’s dark chocolate and I was blown away! Once I tasted both, the milk chocolate really paled in comparison and I kicked myself for not choosing the dark one. I guess this also depends on personal preference, and from this, I discovered that my preference is for something less milky and more chocolatey. Well, we all learn from mistakes, so I’ll know what to order next time. But on the whole, the hot chocolate was reasonably thick, smooth and delicious. Also, the warmer was perfect to keep the drinks warm for as long as we were sitting there, even in the middle of the winter.

IMG_4832

Fondue for 2+1 :)

IMG_4834

Chocolate-dipped Strawberry

IMG_4835

Marshmallow – hot chocolate’s best friend

IMG_4836

Little J munching his banana

Overall, we had a wonderful experience at Theobroma with great chocolate fondue and yummy hot chocolate. We still thought Little J was too young for the hot chocolate since we didn’t want him to get hyperactive but when the time comes, I’m sure he would enjoy the chocolatey drink too. For now, he’s happy with the fruits sans chocolate. :) We’ll definitely be back!

IMG_4838

Happy  boy

IMG_4843

Our +1

 Theobroma Chocolate Lounge
Civic Lane, Rouse Hill Town Centre,
Rouse Hill
2155 NSW Australia
Tel. No: +61 2 9836 3281
Website: www.theobroma.com.au

Australian War Memorial

Just before we left Canberra, we made our way to the Australian War Memorial, which was recently named as the top landmark in Australia by TripAdvisor. As its name implies, the Australian War Memorial was built to honour the members of its armed forces and supporting parties who have perished or contributed to the wars of the Commonwealth of Australia. I was surprised that it was open even during public holidays (Easter weekend) and parking was a breeze in the undercover car park.

P1100984

Australian War Memorial, Canberra

P1100980

Australian flags in front of the memorial

My first impression of the memorial was that it was gigantic! I initially expected a museum-like experience that would be boring (no offense) but it was actually pretty interesting. There were areas encompassing World War I and another on World War II. There were pictures of soldiers all along the walkways and real-life fighter jets within the building too. I was just sorry I didn’t allocate more time for us to visit the memorial. We only reached there around noon and were planning to drive home around 2.30pm so we would reach home before dark. That left us with slightly more than an hour to roam around, leaving less than an hour for lunch.

P1100983

View from the top near the entrance of the memorial

P1100985

The huge war memorial

P1100986

Making our way in

P1100987

Pictures of soldiers

P1100989

Little J didn’t seem very interested :P

P1100990

More pictures of soldiers

P1100991

Badges of honour

We spotted something that looked like a metal cage during our visit and eventually realized it was flight trainer. It was from an Avro Anson plane that used to be a bomber and later salvaged as a training plane. It certainly did not look very comfortable in there and there was no screen whatsoever to display any information. It looks like we have really come a long way in the aviation industry.

P1100992

Inside of the Avro Anson training plane

P1100993

The olden days cockpit

P1100994

The Avro Anson trainer information board

There were also a few life-size fighter jets and bomber displayed in the memorial. One of those was the Kittyhawk “Polly”, which I took a picture of because the Lieutenant who flew this plane actually named it after his girlfriend. So romantic! :)

P1100996

Kittyhawk “Polly”

P1100998

ANZAC Hall entrance

P1100999

Another air craft

P1110001

Avro Lancaster Mk I Bomber ‘G for George’

Just before we left, we took a stroll along the Memorial Courtyard. The weather was gorgeous and sunny, perfect for photography. I guess you can tell our visit wasn’t very comprehensive based on the sporadic pictures and short description on my post. Hopefully when Little J is a bit older, we would return to the memorial and allocate more time to fully appreciate the wealth of information it has to offer.

P1110007

Memorial Courtyard

P1110006

Some familiar countries on the wall

P1110005

Our little family

Our Date Night ‘In’

Having a baby has been the most overwhelming experience that I have ever been through. Sure, I am filled with joy and pride whenever I see Little J growing up well and happy and achieving milestones. But there’s no denying that there are rough times too, especially times when he’s sick, when he’s cranky and when he refuses to sleep at night. Ever since he started child care and I returned to full-time work, I have put Little J to bed as early as 7pm or the latest by 8pm. I believe he needs to sleep early since he wakes up early and doesn’t seem to sleep much at the child care itself. If he doesn’t get enough rest, he will get cranky the WHOLE day, but it’s also not easy to coax him to sleep at night because he just fights sleep most of time! So when I managed to get him into a working routine that has him asleep by 7.30/8pm at night, I did not want to disrupt it at all. Come what may, my baby has got to be in bed by 8pm. You may say it’s a rigid method but most babies thrive on routine and when you find one that works, you just stick to it.

While having a good sleeping routine allows Little J to be up fresh and happy the next day, the downside to it is that we are not able to go out in the evening or at night anymore. In fact, I don’t think we have been out for dinner since Little J was born, except for the couple of times we went to our aunt’s place for dinner, and even then, we had to leave early. Also, Little J gets extra cranky past his bed time, so at the end, we just thought it wasn’t worth it pushing him to stay awake. So what do we do when we crave for the occasional date night with a nice dinner, just the two of us (of course I meant Saucer and me :))?

P1110018

Appetizers for our date night

Ordering delivery is our next best bet! There are plenty delivery services around our suburb, but we were recently invited to try out Menulog, No.1 for Online Takeaway. It was a Friday night, and as usual, after picking up Little J from child care, it was close to 6pm. I asked Saucer to scroll through the list of restaurants available around our suburb, and to pick one that he liked.

P1110008

Online takeaway made easy

There were over 40 restaurants for our suburb alone! So it wasn’t easy picking out one that we liked. In the end, we chose to have Thai food, simply because we’re both fans of hot and spicy food and it’s perfect for the winter days. The restaurant we ordered from was called Aroy Thai, which we have heard good comments about from our neighbours. Ordering was easy peasy using their app, and payment by credit card. After placing our order, we received an SMS telling us that our food would arrive at 6.20pm, which was about 40 minutes from the time we ordered. While waiting, I put some rice to boil and sure enough, by the time the rice was cooked, our dishes were here! Perfect timing.

P1110010

Bowls of rice to go with Thai food

The first dish we had was a combination of Fish Cakes and Gai Hor Bai Teuy or pandan leaf wrapped chicken. Saucer never fails to order fish cakes from any Thai restaurants because he always thinks the Thai fish cakes are just different from the Chinese ones, perhaps more herbs/spices within? We quite enjoyed the fish cakes but thought the chicken was a little too tough. They tasted as if they had been fried and re-fried in the pandan leaves, rendering them to be hard and dry.

P1110021

Fish Cakes (AUD$7.90) and Gai Hor Bai Teuy (AUD$6.90)

My favourite dish that night was the Yum Pla Fu, which was deep fried fish fillet served with mixed salad vegetables, fresh chilli and lemon juice. It was great that they chose to separate the sauce and the fish in different containers so that the fish remained crispy instead of soaking wet. And indeed, they were still hot and crispy when we ate them! I loved the fish just the way they were, without the sauce.

P1110014

Yum Pla Fu (AUD$15.90)

Last but not least, Thai food would not be complete without a curry dish to complement our rice, would it? We chose the Red Pumpkin Curry with Pork. It was loaded with coconut milk, which made it fragrant but also toned down the spiciness of the dish. This would be great for those who cannot tolerate very spicy food because of its mild heat, the milky texture and also the addition of pumpkin that gave the dish a tinge of sweetness. An aromatic and tasty dish nonetheless.

P1110020

Red Pumpkin Curry with Pork (AUD$12.90)

In case you’re wondering, yes those dishes were just for the two of us, and no, we did not finish all of them that night. We did, however, manage to have that date night that we wanted, albeit at home. Hey, after all, it’s always the company that matters, right? Of course, the experience was made better by the fact that we didn’t have to do any cooking to enjoy nice and delicious food. I must say Menulog’s delivery service is pretty impressive. We look forward to try other restaurants for our next date night!

P1110017

Our dinner for our date night