Red Pepper Revisted @ Sunday, August 30, 2015

10th & 25th August - Pictures are a mix of phone & camera, due to spontaneous visit.

We first started going to Red Pepper in 2013 according to the blog :P I don't recall how I found it, or even how I discovered Indian food. We never ate Indian food growing up, only American, pasta and Japanese/Vietnamese food. 

Since 2013 Red Pepper have updated the place. From a dinning hall to a place that has ambiance where you could take a date. Here's what it used to look like.

As I really wasn't planning on going out to dinner tonight all the pictures were taken with the phone and there was ambiance lighting. But here's some great pictures from 2014.

Red Pepper does very good Indian. How do I know that? From outside you could see most of the customers are Indian. Also we saw someone we knew from theatre, she's an international student from India.

I'm open to trying new things. Doesn't mean I'll like it but I'll give it a go. Tonight we ordered completely new dishes, no butter or tandoori chicken or paneer butter malsa.

The New Interior

Paper Chandelier

Plain Lassi $2 - I love mango lassi but have never tried. the plain one. It'll be like a yoghurt drink I thought. It was, but it wasn't as I had expected it to be, slightly sweet. It was sour and kinda gross! I didn't like it at all and couldn't finish it.

Mango Lassi $4 - To finish off I had to get a delicious and sweet mango lassi. It was just as a remember it, though sereved in a milk bottle rather than a milkshake glass.

Service got very slow at the end, hence the pile of dishes. 

No. 13 Dahi Sev Puri $7.50
 Puffed balls stuffed with potato-chana mix, yoghurt and green chutney 

From the Indian Street Food section we picked something that we both never tried before, Lola knows Mexican food (while not being Mexican) but she doesn't know Indian. None of my friends do. 

These balls (5) were delicious, full of flavour and consumed in 2-3 bites. Unfortunately they also contained three eye lashes, one of which I ate thinking it was a herb/spice! Lola picked it up and so did I when I saw the second one. 

Did I ever tell you why I used to love pho but now rarely eat it? We went to a restaurant, a fly died in it. I had to eat it - no not the fly, but the rest of it. I was scarred for life. When my father is involved there aren't many good memories. 

Oh god I just ate an eyelash! I was oddly calm. They offered to take it off the bill, with apologies as not everyday the chef looses three eye lashes in a dish, especially one dish. On top of that they also gave us another dish on the house. Lola was very pleased. And she is hard to please, with a background in hospitality and position as a hostess in a fancy banquet restaurant with white table clothes.

Despite the lashes I'd still get that dish again! I love it. Wished we had these as canapes at events instead of the assortment of frozen pastries we see half the time. 


Cheese Naan $4.50*

The last dish we had was what I think is the cheese naan, which was so good that I think (if it's a naan) deserves a spot on the front page with the other entrees. For not only was it like an Indian Grilled Cheese Sandwich, but with naan, it was the one thing that stopped the burning sensation on my tongue from Lola's deceptive green dish! We'd get this again every time. 

Vegetarian No. 7 Pumpkin Masala $9.50 - Roasted pumpkin, sauteed in five aromatic spices and flavoured with mango powder and crushed jaggery resulting in mingling of flavours – spicy, sweet, tangy and salty 

I like pumpkin very much and so ordered this dish - but first I did ask how spicy it was. Not very said the waitress. And it wasn't. It was very filling and had all the flavours advertised.

No. 9 Palak Paneer
Indian cottage cheese in smooth and vibrant pureed spinach 10.5

Lola likes it green and hot. Why does she like it hot? Because she comes fro, Denver, Colorado, where it is winter 8/12 months. But she did not know this dish was hot. It was very very hot to me! I washed my tongue and drank that awful yoghurt drink. It helped as long as there was something else in my mouth. But she loved it and would get it again. If you like it hot, this one's for you. My review of the pumpkin dish may be a bit off due to the overpowering hotness of this green dish. 

Tandoori Naan & Roti $2.50 each.

The dishes here do not come with rice, but the prices are very cheap so you could still get a main + rice/bread for $15. 

I like naan, it's soft and buttery but not too much. However the dietitian pushes for me to get roti. Much to my immense disappointment Indian Roti is nothing like Malaysian Roti, all buttery, fluffy like croissant bread but less flaky. Instead Indian roti is like paper. It's not beautiful and buttery. It could be like kale chips, but not crunchy. Always go for naan was what this experience taught me.

There's another ajoining room from the one in the picture before the lighting feature. 

Service was very good, with our clean water glasses being filled regularly (we ordered drinks, but also got water) and the way the eyelash issue was handle. Lola in all her years of experience says this is how you truly make-up for a dish gone wrong due.

We ordered four drinks though we were charged for six, though they were great about apologizing and giving us a refund for the drinks we didn't get. Missed two trains doing that.

We'll be back to try more new things, especially as at 10pm on a Monday night they're still open. Service was great like the food and prices.

I read that they don't do take-away on zomato? But they do. The credit card min. is $25 and you're not going to spend that much on a meal and drink for one.

Tuesday 25th August

A revisit within the month to get decent pictures. :P

No. 13 Dahi Sev Puri $7.50
 Puffed balls stuffed with potato-chana mix, yoghurt and green chutney 

These look nothing like last week! They're beautiful! Instagram worthy :P Scroll up to compare. It's not just the picture, but the presentation. Also it tasted different, in that it was much hotter... I'll ask them to tone it down a little next time. Two different chefs made this, this time compared to last time.

A work of art...

Cheese Naan $4.50

Still very good, though I made the mistake of ordering it as naan instead of an entree. It tastes completely different hot, I prefer it cold as it freezes up a bit more. 

Goat Curry Goat Curry $13
Goat slow cooked in a fragrant mix of coriander, red chilli, cumin & other spices

Jas has very few words unless pressed, like the process of making wine... 

Garlic Naan $3.50 - A bit on the oily side. 

Pumpkin Masala $9.50 - Unlike last time this was hot! I'm going to ask them to dial it down next time. I still quite like it.

Plain Naan $2.50*

This came 20mins after everything else... I ate it alone. As I'd long finished the pumpkin. It feels like you're on your way to eating paper... We weren't charged for this.

Service was very slow that night. 

The prices and the menu hasn't changed since 2013, but the deco has been given a face lift, from eatery to date-worthy restaurant though all the while retaining the very affordable prices, and catering to everyone from students (us, well me, none of my friends are studying) to families.

What's your favourite Indian Restaurant in the CBD? 

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CC min. is $25.

Short & Sweet - Wonderbao Turns Three! @ Friday, August 28, 2015

Saturday 8th August

I stand by my last review of Wonderbao, that with most of their menu being pork, if you don't love pork or tofu there isn't much here for you. With the except of tonight, for one night only, in celebration of their 3rd birthday and they've collaborated with Gelato Messina to create something special. 

Ice Cream Gua Baos - Deep fried gua bao w Gelato Messina $7 each.
Salted Coconut & Mango Salsa - Coconut & Lychee 

Special and expensive. And it's not just the American in me that's saying that, we've been here since 2008 and I never recall cookie dough being 50c unlike Lola, though we never bought cookie dough or baked when I was little. These were delicious, especially the coconut mango but expensive for how small they were. We bought two to share.

We only had dessert at Wonderbao, because they didn't release their one-day menu online, otherwise we would have eaten dinner there too. They had sets, the one I wanted consisted of: fried chicken open bao, tofu/mushroom bun and mushroom chips for $12.

Did you stop by Wonderbao to Wish them Happy Birthday?

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Monday 10th August

Movie Snacks!

As I was on my way to the station the sky was a beautiful gradient from a pale cornflower blue and grey gradients fading off into a cream in the distance towards the city.

Tonight we went to see 'For Grace' a movie about Curtis Duffy the co-owner and chef at Grace in Chicago, a fine dinning restaurant with three stars, where they google their customers and takes notes on what they like and don't eg. Doesn't like too much detail on the food or doesn't eat avocado. It took us through what it meant to be an amazing chef and run a place like Grace. If you're at that level it's not just a job but a lifestyle and marriage. Work, sleep, gym, repeat.

One of the characters that really stood out was Ruth, Curtis's home economics teacher in middle school from his small home town in Louisiana, just 20mins from the Armish country. While he was in high school his parents got divorced and his father wasn't cool with it, so he killed his wife and himself in a murder suicide act. Ruth was his supportive adult and played a motherly role. If I didn't know that she was his teacher I would have thought she was his mom. She saw that he had something special and encouraged him to pursue it.

Lola particularly enjoyed it as she was a hostess for one of those fancy pants restaurants where customers could request where to sit when booking (I'll take the window seat for a lunch booking) and butter was served in perfect spheres or balls in sets of five, between two. She's twice my age and spent a lifetime in hospitality. Meanwhile I'm greeting customers out the front of an expo. Or working info booth, which is what I prefer.

The venue of the movie was very nice and seemed new. The Treasury Theatre, behind the Treasury building to the right of Parliament. Thank god for signs as it was a secret location, Melbourne loves those hidden gems.

We saw a food movie so how could we not go for food after? As we were near parliament and as we went to an Indian concert last week, we went to Red Pepper a place that was one of the first places I tried when we moved here in 2008. Since then they have updated the place. From a dinning hall to a place that has ambiance where you could take a date. Here's what it used to look like they haven't updated it yet - the pictures on their site. And here's my pictures.

From personal experience I wouldn't though. I wouldn't take a date to a range of places including Indian, Mexican and Korean BBQ, as if something goes wrong or is disagreeable you won't be getting any action tonight.

As I really wasn't planning on going out to dinner tonight all the pictures were taken with the phone and there was ambiance lighting...

Dinner at Red Pepper


I apply for positions, but by the time they get back to me I'm taken for another event. This keeps happening. No I can't save you a date unless you're certain you want me. I'm not putting a day on hold for you, at the risk is missing something else.

On the way home we passed this interesting looking restaurant though we'll never go here as mains start from $26, and salads are $20. Or not until I make $50ph. 

Since posting my email on fb and instagram the spam is amazing! I get about 5 emails a day offering penis enlargement, cheap drugs and followers. Before this I'd get like 2 emails a week - in total, spam and not. Mainly spam and subscription.

Today we were tired and didn't get anything done, though we did go dancing. Three dots still, we're stuck on for fitbit goals. 


It seems lately that a lot of people don't like me. Throughout my life is has been a theme though the cause isn't clear to me. As far back as I can remember mother has told me everyone hates me because I'm a freak with purple hair and lots of eyeliner which I think is awesome but does make me look a bit evil. And I like it. She says they hate me because they're jealous of the creative way I dress (I wear what I want) and rarely wear a suit. Though she's the type that goes "What will the neighbors think? !" Well the neighbors dgaf unless you're being invasive. Most people also dgaf about what you wear.

 She also says I'm a trouble maker and home wrecker, that girl that steals other women's men - that is not true, it's just that most of my friends are married, and the wives don't like me, even though I'm not a threat at all. I don't look like any of them nor am I at the same stage of life (nesting and popping out babies). I'm pretty sure that if I was a guy hanging out with another guy it wouldn't be an issue with their wives.

Guys who have mentioned their wives don't like me this week: 2. That doesn't include mrs morman who had her husband change classes so we're no longer in the same class. That or we can go with what his father said, that work's very busy. I know where morman works (opposite me on the other side of the river) but not what it is exactly that he does.

This Wednesday's adventure took us to dinner with Alice and then a trip to the night markets. Which has been on my 'one day list' for 3-4yrs, because I always have Wednesday classes, marketing or ballroom.

The View from Dinner


6pm meeting
6-8pm magazine launch
7-9pm festival launch
7.30-9.30pm dance

We're going to the meeting and festival launch. I said we'd go dancing twice a week, though I was wrong...

Tonight's adventure was a trip on the ice. Good news I didn't actually trip or fall because jas had me. Though I didn't get very far, not even one side of the perimeter as I clung to the penguin. I do wish it was taller. We had a good time, trying new things. Half the people fell, so did the kids but they just got right up and laughed.

Other than the ice rink there was drinks and popcorn at $5 a bag for the adults and food trucks. Tonight it was Trailer Made and $16 crab burgers from Hammer & Tong. I was hoping to see their fancy yoghurt with flowers.

Not much else food wise, I think they need hot apple cider, hot chocolate and ice cream.

There was a roaming entertainer who ate fire though didn't blow fire, he was also an acrobat and did balancing acts with multiple chairs.

Notes - BYO socks and gloves.

We had dinner before we came so just planned to get dessert. 

Saw a guy from my law class, well he saw me. I have no memory of him as he's just a guy in my class. I love hearing what I was like or what people think of me. He said I was a blogger, very reserved, quiet and focused on my studies. Didn't have any friends was implied there, though he wasn't mean about it. It's all true, and I am reserved even if I'm loud (I'm only quiet on my own). Though it's not hard to recall the only American girl from school I think? I was also known to my teachers for asking lots of questions. Curious Hector said.

I wonder if everyone remembers me as the organized one? I know some will. I made the best exam/test notes and had them binded with spirals. Hector was so impressed he asked if he could  have it. I do miss him and his optimistic view on most things. The view didn't extend to my headpiece collection on free dress day though. He wanted me to be normal like everyone else about the way I dressed.

I think one of the most offensive things anyone ever asked me happened at school. My last maths teacher asked if my work was mine... are you saying that my work is too good and above my standard? What he didn't know was that I'm a maths tutor and it's one of my specializations. He was very cool though, taught us a lot of things, not just maths. As a teacher he ok. To me he was just someone in the class and not someone I'd always remember. .


So crazy tired we missed most of the day though did go to work and try a new foundation. This one glides just like water almost!

Tonight as I was leaving it was 5.35-ish the golden hour, where in the movies they drive off into the blinding sunset. Though today they  were filming people coming home at the station for a promo video for a new housing development behind the local shopping center. No actors just everyday people. When I was younger I wanted to be a triple threat though I was pretty up myself.

Sushi chef was so focused on finding the one and now I know why. Because we're at an age where most of our friends are either married or in a long term relationship and you know they'll be together forever. And then there's just you on the side, or rather for me on my own.

Saturday 8th August

While I almost always choose where we have dinner I'm open to suggestions. Lola flipped through her copy of 'Time Out Magazine' having suggested we buy tickets for the Food Awards Night, and suggested ShanDong Mama, which was nominated for an award. The 'Best Bang for Buck' Award, Time Out Magazine's award for the best, tastiest cheap eats in town.

This is Lola, from Devour. She is not shy and most definitely not scared of the camera. 

Mama has been on my list since it first opened, though I never got around to it, especially as they often sold out of their fish dumplings back then before closing. So we called them to check stock and to see if they take cards. Yes the dish I'm after is in stock, and no it's cash only.

A very popular cheap eat that has made into many food guides and highly reccomended.

Their Philosophy - Did you know that mama isn't a chef? Something rare in Melbourne.

Not sure what time we got there, it was after 7pm, but we left at 8.15pm and there was a long line. When we got there there were a couple tables left. The next week when I walked by winding down by 9pm on a Saturday. 

Located on Bourke St they are hard to find, if you don't know where to look. They're in Mid City Arcade, the same arcade Sushi (Train) Horoto is in, but Mama is downstairs or ground level. 

Fish Sauce - Chili Oil - Soy Sauce

I had my heart set on the pan-fried dumplings, as I'm not a fan of boiled ones, they tend to be a bit on the bland side. Also these dumplings are what mama is known for. I was hoping to order tek teha k special or something similar but this places was Chinese and not Malaysian.

Mackereal Fish Fried Dumplings (10 Pieces) $16 & Melbourne Fried Dumplings (10) $14

Fresh mackerel fillet mixed by hand with coriander, ginger and chives into a mousse-textured filling
MaMa's new contempoary recipie inspired by the Australian multiculture food scene. Diced seafood (prawns, calamari, museel, fish) and chicken mince, lemon rind, olive oil, parsley and garlic.

Unlike any other dumplings I've ever had these were rectangular prisms or cannoli shaped, shaped just so to allow the excess juice from the filling to mix with the frying oil and add flavour to the crispy skin, the menu tells us.

They were very yummy and shared between the two of us quite filling though I'm sure we could have shared another dish :P It was the fish ones that I really like and would return for. The Melbourne was good too, but the filling to me felt like it was fusion food, which I'm not a fan of. But I would like that same mince mix in an XLB or wrapped in betel leaves.

The menu was bought out with speed but we were not offered water unlike the couple beside us, that arrived after us. They also got their food first Lola commented, but I think noodles were fast to make than dumplings which were in demand (Mr Nice Guy aka Jas agrees). As to why they got served first and recieved better service, it's because they're asian and speak the same language as the waiters (Lola & I agreed). 

A good first experience at ShanDong Mama, though service could improve (as it varies). We'll be back for fish dumplings and the lamb too, jas will want that one. I am curious to what shepherd's purse herbs is? Ggoogle says it has a peppery flavour, rather like watercress. I'll pass.

Have you had Mama's fish dumplings?
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