Eat Local - Tom Yum Thai @ Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Thursday 15th September




This week we're trying Thai, which I've never had before, while jas loves it. On Groupon 'Tom Yum' Balwyn was offering a "nine course banquet" for $34 for two. 

The reason for the quotation marks is cause it's nine dishes, like teppanyaki style-ish. Nine dishes not courses. There are ten plates/bowls, and bizarrely they count rice as a course. But then there are places that sell mains for $16-ish+ that don't include rice, which will cost you extra. So taken in mind it's 8 dishes + rice. Also unlike some other places drinks aren't included, it's just entree and a lot of mains.



Tom Yum is located on a one block shopping strip, with a couple shops, two barbers and some cafes including Snow Pony. On a Thursday night only Tom Yum and the two barbers are open. The only restaurant in the area, one you'd have to seek to find. The chances of spotting it as you drive by are very low. 


 A friendly waitress greeted us as we arrived, the restaurant was about 50% full of parties of four or more, all families, mostly asians. We're guessing that's because we're near Box Hill. This place is also around the corner from us, if you're counting big driveable blocks. It's also in the same tram line as Ikea.




Deep Fried Entrees


We started with deep fried entrees, spring rolls, thai samosas and thai fish cake. Accompanied by real sweet chili sauce, the only actually chili, sweet sauce we've ever had (gotta ask what brand they use). The fish cakes were a bit chewy (jas flipped them off the table trying to cut them XD) and they reminded him of sausage meat. The spring rolls were a couple steps up from being those generic ones you buy at the supermarket with lettuce in them. 




Tom Yum Soup w Chicken


Next was a small bowl of tom yum soup, with a great base. You could really taste the lemongrass and chili. Though the chicken in it was a stark bland contrast and the mushrooms under cooked, slightly raw. 




Green Chicken Curry Cooked in Coconut Milk (Gang Keow Warn)


A green curry soon arrived as our first main, and the highlight of our night (though we also have a pandan sponge in the car :P). I love coconut, so was quite excited about this. Jas, a thai lover, says that green curry doesn't always contain or rather isn't always cooked in coconut milk. So this isn't a baseline. 

The curry was very good (I'd get this again) it was creamy with depth, vibrant with spices. They used chicken breast, when thigh would have been more suited, and there were bones. And we all know once you've munch on a bone or something unpleasant your rate of enjoyment drops dramatically as you carefully navigate your away through the rest of the dish.  

To go with the green curry (and other mains, whoops) was a small bowl of steamed rice and another of glossy coconut rice. Which looked glossy/wet though wasn't, it was nothing we've had before. Extra creamy rice that's a delight. it reminds me of sweet, rice pudding.

I would have thought all the mains would arrive all at once to be served with the rice but nope. Though the next three dishes pretty much arrived at the same time.




Beef Stir Fried w Chili Basil


With a chicken theme for tonight jas was excited about the beef stir fry, which didn't disappoint. Well marinated in an asian style, we both found it very familiar. I've had this dish in Vietnamese Cuisine, and he said it was similar to black bean beef at Chinese restaurants.



Chicken Pad Thai Noodles (Pad Bi Ga Pow)

Pad thai turned out to be a noodle dish that uses rice noodles, aka pho noodles! There was chicken which I thought was egg, as eggs would really suit this dish, though there were little bits of eggs throughout the dish. With a sweet soy marinade this is the sweetest savory dish, and sweetness noodle dish we have ever consumed. 

It was something that held its own light. Which also meant it did not go with the other dishes at all. This dish was sweeter than our unsweetened rice pudding dessert at Gurkhas last week! And sweeter than that cake I have in the car. Though not sickly sweet or anything.

What the hell is with all the green beans?! Jas says they're in season and his go-to veg. I do not like green beans, as they're in almost every single lite n easy dinner!




Stir Fried Vegetarian Lemongrass Sauce


Should we order a salad? This was Tom Yum's salad, with tofu, broccoli, mini mini mushrooms, cauliflower and other veggies. In comparison to everything else it was bland, not from lack of effort though. There was a lemongrass sauce, to be the dressing though instead of being absorbed it just sat under everything, in other words it just slipped off. Also some of the veggies were on the raw side.



While we did make a booking we were still seated by the kitchen, which affected the atmosphere of the space. Sinatra played in the background, but so did a radio in the kitchen. Yeah. There was a door but with the waitress constantly serving up dishes it wasn't closed. It seemed everyone was using a Groupon tonight. 

Service was good though minimal. Oddly we weren't offered the drinks menu? I can't recall the last time when we went to a restaurant and weren't handed the drinks menu. I wonder if they have milk tea?

For $35-ish we were pretty happy with dinner. Yes'd we'd recommend this place in a Groupon, without we'd still say yes. It's a nice atmosphere with mains under $15, a rare dinner cheap eat in this town of Camberwell. We'll be back for that green curry. 

As we live within walking distance on a warm evening we'd like to get take away. Which is the cheaper option. They have main + rice dinner boxes for $10! And there's a few selections to choose from.


Note - $20 card min. Free delivery with purchases over $25*, or flat $5* fee if under. Through Delivery Hero. Update - One night we called up for takeaway, for pickup or delivery and they said they don't do takeaway...

*This info came from their take-away brochure printed in 2013. Wow, they either printed too many or didn't manage to give out that many.



Have you had amazing green curries? 
Are there any hard to find gems in your neighborhood?

Tom Yum Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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One Week. Seven Shows. @ Monday, September 26, 2016

Tuesday 13th September


XD It wasn't that kinda sensitivity, more about diversity and going the extra mile.

A meeting. Sensitivity training. Fingers crossed we aren't in the same space long enough for me to accidentally offend anyone. It seems like back when we were at school it was a different era, where there were no disabled people and being gay was considered a mental illness. And you were either a girl or boy, the other gender box wasn't an option. Also special people went to special schools. 


A visit to 'The Barre' where all the musicians hang out after the show, while we guess what's in the case. Mainly violins. Cheese matched with wine, jas's fav was the blue cheese. I like all the cheeses and the fancy dried sultanas with the thing that isn't cranberry jam (quince paste?).


Dinner at Father's Office was a failure. The batter was too oily and felt wrong, the salad dressing too. But there were crispy fries! Fish & Chips was what we ordered. This is the first time we've visited early in the week, I guess the regular chef was off tonight. Fingers crossed when we visit for an event later this month all will be good. Otherwise the chef is going to hear it straight from mother.  

I did really like the cheese. Discussions with the accountant. How much do I need to make a year? At least 100k he says, to fund my lifestyle, though that's without accommodation taken into consideration. Eek, my starter salary in theory is 50-60k a year. Life is not going as planned. Update - Someone else said starter salary is 40-45k in Sydney. 

Wednesday

The biannual shopping festivals aka VIP 20-40% days, the first time since we started events that we didn't go. Too sick to go, limited energy. Lately we've just been to concerts. Classical music. The guy next door likes R&B, blasting it through the wall and down the hallway. Bio guy is four doors down and can hear him. Waking up to R&B is one of the worst noises you can wake up to, apart of a certain someone's voice. 

Someone decided to bypass the gates at Surrey Hills, got hit by the express and died. In the process hundreds of people were left waiting for hours for the train. I have never seen so many people in the area, moving like ants! Where are you all going? They're going from the station (outbound trains cancelled) to the tram about a mile down the road. With all the delays we were late to the concert, for as well as people everywhere traffic was at a halt. Yesterday the signals were out, today a station was out. 


Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto I'd have to say is my favourite of the collection. 

Afterwards we stopped by Melbourne Central, most of the stores were closed by 9.30pm. So many missed events today that we didn't have energy for. Luckily Typo was still open! Bought my 2016 Diary. Glitter, yes. Purple, no. That was last year. For 2017 the glitter diaries are rose gold, well more bronze.  


Update - Confirmed paper is too thin, the highlighter goes straight through. Looks like we're going with the blue kikki-k one.

Thursday


We missed the morning meeting though made it to the second and obtained some job searching/applying tips. Cold calling and asking for a straight up interview rather than applying online. 


We passed Box Hill where there's mooncakes! Boxes only though, and some shaped like pigs... But what if I just want to buy one? Nope. They're sold by the box.

Back to the city aka home, we got some work done for the blog. When you can only use data and there's no unlimited internet at home, you'd be surprised how expensive it is. I've blocked youtube, gifs and all that. 

Friday


Lunch at Jenny's. A baget but westernized. 

Some days go more to plan than others. We never made it to the house tour today. Instead we stopped by goodwill and checked out all the nice things that don't come in my size.
There's  $200 fur coats and stoles (fake) designer brands  ($50+) even suits made in Italy!! Beautiful cherry pin up shoes not in my size.

Discussions on old things and books. As you don't read most more than once you should donate them? Hmm.... idk. I mean I spent so much on them. Should have went to the library instead.

Off to the city. We were distracted and missed dinner. Opened at 5pm, sold out by 5.15pm! I'd guess people got there at 4pm? Plan b. Tandoori chicken from Safeway sucked. Rice too hard, chicken too fake. The salad was better.


At the fringe. The first show I wanted to see was sold out :( the second wasn't. Mama Alto jazz and blues, background music and music for funeral to me. It was nice though and ended with a slow bluesy rendition of 'time after time'. Piano bar music.

Saturday


We made it to the 5th piano concerto! With all the traffic delays and issues it's a bit of a miracle we're getting anywhere on time this week. Beethoven's Emperor. The most well known of the five piano concertos.


Afterwards we checked out the Skylights projection at ibm. Nooo!! It doesn't come up in my pictures! Did you really see it, if you didn't take a picture?


The night was young so we went for dessert, mooncakes and waffles. 


Crispy and airy it was awesome! Needs more icing sugar, though a light drizzle of salted c or nutella would work too. $2.80 takeaway from BlackBall in china town. Not very English friendly... 

Sunday

Stress sick we missed a concert and dance. Two of the best things in my life atm. Love the arts though I'm not an artist myself. I make pretty things. Also have an idea for a master's thesis, it doesn't fit into business though, more psych.

Four shows a night, because we like to make the most of our time left.


Deja Vu All Knowing - Dance/performance. A possessed marionette dances. It's freaky and the source of nightmares (complete with old fashioned circus music), but with amazing facial expressions and movements! Reacting to sounds, every movement is executed with precision.



Cosmonaut - A hilarious comedy with strap ons that light up, great lines and a demo of cosmo magazine's 10 worst sex tips ever. XD It's for adults only and hilarious. Not one of those awful late night shows we've seen.


Laura Davis - A depression comedian. Talks about rape. Mother's favorite word and topic. I'm out, it sucked and was lame. It's exactly what I hate about uncurrated things. Jokes about maple syrup bottles in the intro and conclusion. A lot of "amirite?". No. High school talent show gone wrong.


Andre Tonight - A wannabe parody of a late show host. The host is annoying, untrustworthy and not so charming. His suit is also too tight. Side kick on the keyboard plays an alcoholic and drug addict artist. At one point a wine glass falls and shatters. No shoes makes an interesting combo... why? Why did someone approve this show? It was awful.


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Gurkhas Nepalese on Chapel St @ Friday, September 23, 2016

Tuesday 16th August 




I did not read the t&cs. But its not like it was there and I didn't read it. You have to ask for them. What I wanted to order, you need to have at least two people... but since I'm already here, I'll just pay for two serves *sigh*.


Opening in 1995 Gurkhas was one of the first Nepalese restaurants in Melbourne, with the first branch located on Chapel St.

On Monday & Tuesday Nights between 5-10pm there's an all you can eat/sampler menu for $20 per person. Two entrees, main platter and dessert. I do love these set menus, as it's a great way to try a bit of everything when you don't know what to order.



Brick walls, those checkered titles and lantern light covers, the deco is of an era of the past, perhaps mid-90s? I had an uncle who's house was similar to this with all the brick and dizzying titles.


Drinks? Yes please, but only if you have something unique. That is our rule for drinks, and so we ordered the 'Tender Berry Mocktail' strawberries and cream w grenadine. Like a strawberry milkshake but lighter and different like nothing I've ever had before. I really like it!




There's an option to sit on the floor which could be fun, you'll need to make a booking and request where you'd like to sit.


With the $20 sampler menu we started with a soup. Vegetable lentil with noodle. Warm and hearty with depth but not spicy. Definitely doesn't taste like stock or water, unlike my soups. XD


Deep fried goodness followed though the chicken dumplings were steamed. Typical cabbage spring rolls. Cute samosa with a kick! Fried veggies (croquette) with lots of onion.
The dipping sauce was like mango chutney but savory with a lentil-ly flavour, used to dull the spicy heat from the samosa. It's hot, I'm not good with hot.


The mains platter consisting of six dishes:

No.18 - Vegetable Chow - Stir fried noodles with mixed veggies, seasoned with soy sauce and a touch of spice. Noodles. Asian. Spaghetti appearance, slightly oily...

No.20 Pharsiko - Butternut pumpkin sauteed in vegetable oil, ginger, garlic and fresh coriander. Pumpkin, slightly sweet sauce spiced just right.

No.43 Machha Tareko - Batter fried fish glazed in a curry sauce. Fish. Lightly fried (in oil) white fish that falls apart easily. In a light sauce, that reminds me of a very light curry like the one at Om Vegetarian but less watery.

No.34 Khasiko Masu - House specialty, traditional Nepalese style diced goat garnished with fresh coriander. The goat was tender and fell apart perfectly. Sitting in a very mild sauce tomato base with a salty aftertaste. Melts in your mouth.

Green.... celery spinach  reminds me of African platters. Yeah I'm not eating that. Chicken with white cabbage and onion . Reminds me of char kway teow with the smoky flavours. 

Boarding India and Tibet we can see both the Indian and asian influence, especially with the chicken and noodle dishes. Google says Tibet is a part of china, though Tibet says they're not together as they're an "an independent state under illegal occupation." #freetibet which we'd agree with, as china's trying to bully everyone and push their boarders by dominating the land and sea. China x Russia vs USA will be WW3.  



Dessert was an almond meal ball with coconut sago like pudding. A little bit sweet, but not enough for me. Mother would approve though. Funny thing, I've had noodles (thai) sweeter than this dessert. 


There was atmosphere with music with Indian mediation/relaxing music, good lighting and it was very warm. There were tables but you could also sit on cushions on the floor (need to make a booking for that). Service was very friendly and fast. Though I would have liked more explanation on the dishes as we've never been to a Nepalese restaurant before.

For $20pp it's a pretty good deal, a sampler menu to N food. While I dined alone the fried entrees and main platter is designed for two. Also it's all you can eat so you could always ask for a refill. I ate slightly less than half the mains and was very full.

Definitely recommended for groups though it's best to book if you have more than four. The restaurant was about 25-33% full on this Tuesday night. 


Tuesday 6th September

Another evening brings us back to Gurkhas for dinner, this time through a Cudo Deal. A dinner banquet for two with a glass of wine per person for $29 (correctly valued up to $66), making it $15 per person really.




Mango Mohi $5.50

We upgraded a wine to mango for $2.50 and jas ordered one too $5.50 and commenting his red house wine tastes like petrol. XD Jas loves his wine and has never said anything like this before. His drink was given more attention then mine with a swirl on top. I'm slightly concerned that mango mohi is not mango lassi, in that a syrup is used rather than the real (well canned) thing? It was nice though not as nice as lassi, also the priciest mango drink I've had (for an Indian-ish place).

Gurkhas is vegetarian friendly! And so offered us a choice between the 'Simple Feast or Vegetable Treat' set menu. I'm fine with either, though jas loves goat/lamb so we went to the meat (simple) option. They should really change the names to veg & non-veg set menus. 

To me a feast is defined as Greek on a Groupon. So much food that you're not expected to finish it all, though a three course meal can be seen in the same way sometimes. 



Gurkhas Special - Flower cup pappadam with fried 
lentils and spiced potatoes, topped with yoghurt

Delicious! I love it, savory and hitting all those right spice notes that Indian food does so well, and it was not hot at all. Warm, filling, it reminded me of our potato bakes, but a more fun Nepalese version. I will be back for this! Should mention that it's $9 on its own. 

Friendly, and frequently refilling our water glasses and minimal use or words is how I'd describe the service. 

Me - "I love this dish! What is it?"
Hostess - "It's the Gurkhas special" *she leaves*
Jas - *googles it* 
Me - This place is Gurkhas, you're not going to be able to find their special online. :P
It's not as easy as finding out what say, butter chicken is.



Much like the sampler night menu mains were a series of dishes to share.


No.34 Khasiko Masu - House specialty, traditional Nepalese style diced goat garnished with fresh coriander.


No.36 Chilli chicken - Sauteed chicken fillets with diced capsicum, onion, seasoned with soy sauce & chilies.
  


No.47 Chana ra Aloo - Potato and chickpeas in a mild curry sauce 

Served with a large bowl of rice and no.59 Hariyo Saagpat salad, with a Nepalese dressing. Yep that's what the menu says. The first dish we both went for was the salad, fresh with a fun mayo based dressing that reminded me of 'Thousand Island; dressing but lighter.

Jas loves goat and so thought he saved the best for last, though it turned out to be just average. Instead he loved the chilli chicken which wasn't chili at all. It was well marinated though a bit salty on its own. 

The goat was soft and melts on your tongue without completely falling apart in the bowl, though the pumpkin is still my favourite.


Dessert options there were two and so we asked for one of each. 

A Nepalese rice pudding (no.70 Khir) with coconut that wasn't sweet enough (for me) without the faux rum-ish bliss ball from last time. 


And fried cottage cheese dumplings, soaked in a light sugar syrup served warm. The syrup was just right in sweetness. I would have liked to pimp it up with crushed pistachios and persian fairy floss. :P Later on we would have this same dessert at Curry Camp, where it was amazing!


Tables for Four



Gurkhas is pretty quiet though has some pretty good deals, $15pp through groupon and $20 for sampler nights. It would be similar to the set menu/banquets at other places. 

Would we recommend it? Yes as a try once thing.

Will we return? Probably not, it wasn't really our thing. Also the normal menu is $$.  



Note - The menu on zomato is out of date, prices have increased.




Have you been to Gurkhas or had Nepalese food?


Gurkhas Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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