Mr Miyagi Melbourne – Japanese Food with Style

Nestled right in the heart of the popular Chapel St in Melbourne, Mr Miyagi offers a hip vibe for diners who appreciate exquisitely crafted Japanese / Asian fusion food and cocktails, as well as a vibrant atmosphere.

As you walk in, the restaurant seems like a buzzing bar playing Top 40 RnB/pop hits from the last decade. It was 8pm, and the crowd has already reached its peak, even on a weeknight (I was there on a Thursday night). The restaurant was packed and people were already in good spirits and having a good social night out.

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Shinjuku Sling cocktails

As we headed to the back to mingle with our group of 15 people who gathered for a friend’s birthday, we were offered a cocktail menu with a selection of some very interesting Japanese inspired cocktails. I opted for the Shinjuku Sling – sweet, red and fierce – which is a mixture of vodka, passionfruit, pineapple and pomegranate. It was a delightfully fresh cocktail, and I very much enjoyed sipping it throughout most of my night (had to make that one drink last, as I was driving!)

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Edamame, Prawn & Ginger Dumplings, Happy’s Handroll

Our large group was split across two private booths, and most of us ended up ordering a bit of everything, but 5 of us opted for the “Feed Me” option for $59pp – which is basically Mr. Miyagi’s selection of their best dishes.

As the food comes out, I will highlight some of the best dishes and then leave the rest to pictures as I didn’t actually get to eat some of the food in the pictures I took haha!

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Salmon Nori Taco – grilled salmon belly, sushi rice, spicy napa cabbage, Japanese mayo, chilli oil.

To begin, I sank my teeth into this amazing.. THE MOST AMAZING… taco I have ever tasted. It is no wonder why this Salmon Nori Taco is the most popular dish at Mr Miyagi, it should be THE signature dish. Biting into the crunchy taco, and be greeted with a generous amount of juicy salmon inside, and the flavours of the chilli oil and mayo and the garnish, it was simply sensational! In fact, I have made a mental note to myself that I will come back to Mr Miyagi JUST to have these tacos. This is definitely the MUST TRY if you are planning a visit.

Next was the Prawn and Ginger Dumpling, they may look like typical dumplings, but it was just cooked so perfectly that the dumpling skin was just soft and the filling was flavoursome. It ended in just one mouthful, but what a burst of ginger flavour and firm prawn texture wrapped in soft dumpling skin it was!

Happy’s Handroll changes daily, but it is sushi made exceptionally well. You can taste the freshness. Even the sushi rice just seems softer and fresher than store bought sushi which sometimes tend to taste a bit “crusty” on the edges because it has been left sitting and drying out for a few hours.

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Kingfish Ceviche – yellowtail kingfish, cucumber, ruby grapefruit, coconut panna cotta, red sorrel, young ginger dressing.

I am a huge fan of raw fish, so to taste this Kingfish Ceviche in all its raw gloriousness and complimented with the acidity of its dressing and different textures of its accompaniments, a good mouthful of this made me wish I had a whole plate to myself.

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Schnitty Bao – bao bun, ramen coated chicken schnitzel, kim-chi tartare.

This is my second favourite dish after the tacos, a very close second favourite – the Schnitty Bao. Can you tell from the picture how GOOD this would taste? Not only is the bao bun incredibly soft and squishy, the chicken schnitzel is sooooo crispy and everything else just complimented it beautifully. It is full of flavour, and the chicken is so tender inside and so crispy outside, and the sauces etc made it quite a deliciously “sloppy” Asian burger, just the way we like it!

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Wagyu Brisket Betel Leaf with peanut satay, red chilli, coconut and lime.

This Wagyu Brisket was not part of the Feed Me, but it looked really interesting on the menu so I thought I would give this a go and ordered it as an extra. You basically squeeze a bit of the lime on top, and wrap it all up in the leaf, and enjoy that mouthful of tender shredded wagyu brisket and all its flavours. I want more!

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Miyagi Fried Chicken

Last but not least, no Japanese meal is complete without fried chicken, and Miyagi Fried Chicken is this wonderfully coated fried chicken ribs that typically, I could eat the entire plate, but by this point I was so full I could only eat one! It is everything you can expect from Japanese fried chicken, served with kewpie mayo.

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Pumpkin Toast – white chocolate and pumpkin ganache, honeycomb, yoghurt sorbet, spiced pumpkin ice cream.

As for dessert, I had a taste of my friend’s birthday Pumpkin Toast and it was a delightful and surprisingly mind blowing dessert. The Pumpkin “Toast” is kinda like a cake/bread that has been caramelized on top, and the combination of that “toast” with a bit of everything else just creates this amazing sweet/salty balance of flavour in your mouth. It was outstanding!! Not your typical dessert, as it truly is almost half savoury. I love sweet/salty foods so this was a huge YES for me.

As for the rest of the pictures below, they were photographed but I did not personally taste them so unfortunately unable to comment. Sometimes pictures say many words though! So feel free to check out the rest of these food items too:

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Japanese Eggplant Rice Paper – grilled eggplant, miso glaze, cucumber, peppery leaves.

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Godzilla Beans – tempura runner beans, salt and vinegar seasoning. My vegetarian brother in law gave this a huge thumbs up!

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Corn Ball – tempura corn ball, BBQ corn, buttery popcorn, corn biscuit mayo.

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Tempura Broccoli with ramen seasoning and salted buffalo ricotta. I actually DID try this! The broccoli has been fried and coated in this beautiful crust, and the ricotta was a nice touch. Definitely fancy way of eating broccoli.

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Yellow Curry of winter vegetables, Korean rice cakes, turmeric ginger oil, coconut cream, served with roti.

Overall, Mr. Miyagi was quite the experience. Loved the atmosphere and the service was great – our waitress was naturally friendly and very helpful. I would most definitely like to come back, although I heard it is actually pretty difficult to score a table so make that booking far in advance just to be sure. Mr. Miyagi also offers an upstairs function room, so if you’re planning a party or special gathering anytime soon, it is worth a consideration. The price is easily mid-range by the time you add them all up, but seriously.. TRY THE TACO. That is all, folks!

Mr. Miyagi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Super Quick and Easy Pork Belly with Greens Stirfry

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This little recipe I very quickly whipped up today turned out so delicious (if I dare say so myself, haha) that I HAD to share! If you’re a busy mum like me, juggling work and family life, these super quick and easy recipes are truly a lifesaver! Plus, the kids loved it – so that’s a plus! My kids are very fussy when it comes to their veggies, but they somehow don’t mind beans and brocolli (or brocollini) so I use these greens pretty often in my cooking. This sticky stirfry would go really well with just plain steamed rice, although today I served it with couscous – because they are super easy to make, just add hot water, cover and ready in 2 minutes!

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Ingredients:

One bunch of brocollini, chopped in half

Approx. 150g green beans

4 strips of pork belly, sliced into small bite sized pieces

4-5 garlic cloves, crushed

2-3 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

1 tbsp oyster sauce

2 tbsp vegetable oil

Method:

Heat vegetable oil in wok, stirfry garlic and pork belly until the meat is slightly browning. Add greens and splash in sweet chilli sauce and oyster sauce. Stirfry for another 5-8 minutes until greens are reasonably softened yet still slightly crunchy (careful not to let it get too soft and soggy) and sauce caramelizes and making the meat look all glossy and sticky.

Serve with steamed rice or cous cous.

SkyBar & Kitchen, Glen Waverley

After being married for over 10 years, it is hard to keep the romance going especially when life is always so busy and work/kids consume so much of our time. This is why hubby and I make sure we make time to go on regular date nights. On average, I would say we make it at least once a month to go out and enjoy time together just as a couple without the kids. Please note that watching movies at home together while snuggling on the couch and eating ice cream do NOT count as date nights, as romantic as they sound, it should just be a regular thing hehe.

Going out, however, can be expensive.

Thankfully, the Asian in me has been onto something for a while now. If you are not onto it already, you should. What have I been on to you ask??

GROUPON. CUDO. SCOOPON. ENTERTAINMENT BOOK. DISCOUNT VOUCHERS. DEALS DEALS DEALS.

Deals and coupon websites are the perfect solutions to a budget yet special date night. You get to try a new restaurant (and there are some fancy restaurant choices out there on those deals websites) at a discounted price. If it is no good, then you try a different one next month. If it was actually pretty good, then score! You got to have a nice night out without hurting your wallet.

Just recently, hubby and I went out on our date night and I purchased a deal from Groupon for SkyBar & Kitchen in Glen Waverley. The deal was $69 for two people including a 3-course meal and bubbly. It really wasn’t too bad for a 3-course meal!

The venue itself was not bad. It was on the 6th floor of a newer building on the main street in Glen Waverley and if you chose to sit out in the semi outdoors balcony area you will get a pretty nice view from the rooftop. We were seated inside though amongst many other diners and it was a pretty busy night (it was a Friday night) but the environment was lovely enough.

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We were served a pretty decent glass of bubbly each to start, and the platter of starters was quite delicious and fulfilling. It was literally a plate of all my favorites so I couldn’t complain. Salt and pepper calamari, popcorn chicken. slow cooked pork belly (so yum!) and fresh oysters. It was such a good start to our meal.

We also decided to take advantage of the 2 cocktails for $30 deal and ordered some pretty (and delicious) cocktails.

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The deal was from a set menu so we had three options to choose from when it comes to our Mains. Hubby opted for the steak and I went with the salmon. It wasn’t extraordinary, but it was a pretty decent meal especially for what we paid for. My salmon was well cooked, just slightly pink the way it should be and tender, and hubby’s medium rare steak was also cooked well. Overall, we were satisfied with the quality of the food so far and the level of service.

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It finally came to dessert and we did not have options for this either. We were each served Green Tea Panna Cotta so beautifully presented in a glass. It had beautiful green tea flavours, although I felt the panna cotta was a tad too runny for my liking. Nevertheless it was still quite a delicious dessert and exceptional value for money thanks to Groupon.

So basically, we had a pretty decent meal at SkyBar Kitchen. I heard they were famous for their lobsters so I kinda feel like I should come back just to try that. I will definitely come back for their cocktails though, and they serve their appetizers as tapas at the bar. Next time I come back, I will be drinking cocktails and ordering that pork belly from their tapas menu!

P/S: Locationwise, it was really handy that the billiard room was just downstairs so hubby and I continued our date night with a few games of pool. Plus, bowling, the cinemas and karaoke were within walking distance. Gotta love Glen Waverley!

 

SkyBar & Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Fine Food Australia Expo, Melbourne 12 – 15 September 2016


If you work in the food service, retail & distribution and hospitality industry – whether as a cafe / restaurant owner, or a chef, or a grocery shop owner or working for a large national food distribution company, or a barista, or a caterer, or anything remotely food related – then you will NOT want to miss this show.

Unfortunately, the Fine Food Expo hosted by Fine Food Australia is only held once every two years as they alternate between Melbourne and Sydney each year.. but hey, I now have an excuse to plan a trip to Sydney next year for the next expo! Oh wait.. I am jumping ahead of myself here 🙂

The expo is STRICTLY TRADE ONLY and because I registered as a food blogger / writer I managed to somehow score a “Media Pass” to explore the event and be amongst people who work in an industry I am so passionate about. I felt completely spoilt that day… there was so much to see and so much to learn and so much food and drinks to taste! The expo was ultimately a Foodie Haven… hands down the best tradeshow I have ever attended and I gained so much from it. It definitely gave me a lot of insight as to what’s involved in the supply chain management side of things when running a food establishment.. and the realization that the competition is tough! Food is literally being offered everywhere.. and you definitely need to stand out in terms of service and quality in order to score some potential clients.

As far as beverages were concerned, there were plenty of sample drinks as well as free coffees going around. It was an eye opening experience, as I realize that if I was a restaurant owner – I actually have so many suppliers of food and beverages to choose from with hundreds and thousands of options and then to somewhat be effective in comparing their prices, etc. This industry is absolutely booming and at the end of the day, I suppose networking is the only way to secure and retain long term customers. I had some great opportunities to chat to a few people during the expo and I have to say I am even furthermore intrigued by this industry and would LOVE to be more involved in the near future… *off dreaming about owning my own cafe or restaurant… excuse me while I daydream*

Back to the expo, other than the fact that EVERYONE at every stall were super friendly and approachable (there is this thing about people who love food are the most awesome people..) the expo had plenty to offer in terms of cooking demonstrations and entertainment as well. Everything on display here were food products, commercial food products available to purchase in bulk by people in the food business, from curry pastes to pastries to premade salads to sauces / dressings to gelato flavours… you name it, they got it! Not to mention kitchen equipment, cafe / restaurant furniture and packaging solutions! Everything you will ever need to establish a food business, you will find your connections all under one roof.
If you are into more international flavours, the expo also featured International Stalls with food products from all over the world. The variety was simply amazing! I only had one day here, but I would highly recommend that you take the opportunity to explore slowly at a good slow and steady pace spread across at least two days… because there is simply too much to see and too much to taste! If you are also seriously looking to network, you should allow a lot more time. The people here are ready to talk business, and there is a lot of information to process.
If you don’t believe me when I say there is LOTS of food to taste… here is the proof:

This was truly a delicious event, but it was mostly a truly valuable business event and I would imagine having all major food suppliers under one roof just makes it all so much easier for people in the business to network and collect all the information required either to start a food business or to grow and evaluate options for their existing business.
See you guys in Sydney next year!

Salt and Pepper Crispy Chicken Spare Ribs Recipe

I must warn you, this post might end up being so badly written due to the fact that I just ate way too many crispy chicken ribs and now suffering from a bad case of food comma! If my kids were asleep, I would be asleep too right now. I am so full, and content, and sleepy. Writing this blog post almost immediately is necessary to try and stay awake. Writing keeps me away from the comforts of the couch and the danger of falling asleep while little children roam free around the house unsupervised. Better not let that happen, lol.

I LOVE CHICKEN RIBS. I can almost say that every time I go to Yum Cha or any Chinese restaurant, I would most likely end up ordering the Salt and Pepper Chicken Ribs. Why not? Deliciously juicy and crispy chicken that’s tender and only one bone to deal with. Amazing flavours in the onion and chilli topping. Serve with the perfect dipping sauce – and I am in food heaven.

These are so easy to make at home though. They don’t require a lot of ingredients and this version is pretty basic but hits the spot. I had to specially order in the chicken ribs from my butcher though, as they don’t normally stock them (too expensive to keep on regular stock and unpredictable demand). This morning, I got a call from my butcher letting me know my chicken ribs have come in, so I gladly picked them up and cooked them for lunch! Now you can too… enjoy!

Ingredients:
500g chicken spare ribs
1 egg white, gently beaten to separate
Salt and Pepper
Kentucky Flour
1 stalk spring onion, sliced
Chilli flakes
Oil for deep frying
Method:
In a deep fryer, heat oil ready for deep frying. Season chicken ribs really well with salt and pepper. Be generous with the pepper for extra spicy kick. Coat chicken in egg white and then coat with Kentucky flour. Deep fry for about 6-10 minutes or until the chicken is crispy and brown. Serve onto a plate and then top with sliced spring onion and chilli flakes. Serve with your favorite soy / chilli dipping sauce.

Stirfried Okra with Garlic, Mushrooms & Anchovies

Growing up, my parents have always cooked okra (aka ladies finger) so I have grown very familiar with this vegetable and various ways of cooking it. However, I do realise that a lot of people have never ever cooked with okra nor have they tasted them. If you have never cooked with okra before, perhaps this simple dish will encourage you to try something new. Okra is really not that scary… it is very commonly used in Asian dishes and has a very unique texture.

It is a little… slimy.

Please do not let that put you off!!

Okra when sliced is generally slimy on the inside which is why once you have sliced them, you are not supposed to let it get in contact with any water or else it will just melt away and turn into a slimy vegetable with no real texture to it.

However, if you keep it dry after it is sliced and cook it without any water, the outer later of the okra which is firmer and pleasantly textured really compliments the little gooeyness. This dish makes it even more enjoyable as it also combines the salty crunch of the fried anchovies and the soft textures of mushroom. I love this dish and can easily eat a big plate of this for dinner with nothing else.. but it serves well with rice. It also takes 10 minutes to prepare this dish from start to finish… I simply cannot complain!
Before I start with the recipe, here are a few helpful notes:

  • You can buy okra from most fruit and vegetable shops in Australia, or Asian grocers.
  • You can find dried anchovies (the little ones) in packets from Asian grocers or the Asian section in Coles supermarkets.
Ingredients
200g okra, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed and finely chopped
1 tbsp dried anchovies, softened in water for approx. 5 mins, then drain water.
1 medium cup mushroom, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Method:
Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan. Add garlic, sliced mushrooms, and soaked anchovies. Fry in oil for 3-4 minutes on medium heat, until the garlic is browning and fragrant, and anchovies starting to crisp. Add sliced okra and season with salt and pepper. Stirfry for another 3-4 minutes or until the okra starts to soften. Serve while it is still hot.

Steamed Silken Tofu with Minced Pork & Mushrooms

When it comes to feeding the family, it is hard to strike a balance between something healthy and wholesome that is also a huge hit with the kids. To top it all off, I constantly need to find recipes that are dairy free, egg free and nut free! My kids, like most children, can be quite fussy when it comes to food. At the end of the day, they eat what we eat… but it does make meal times a lot easier when they happily eat what they are given without us having to convince them it’s worth at least trying.

This particular dish is such a crowd pleaser. My kids absolutely love this! Just yesterday at a playdate, my kids chose to eat tofu even when toasted marshmallows were on offer! Needless to say, my friends were amazed that the kids just sat there and ate their dinner without any hassles. You wouldn’t expect it to be such a crowd pleaser, after all it is tofu. A lot of people’s first impression when it comes to tofu can often be… non-enthusiastic in general. Well, we love our tofu and we love them even more when it is silken tofu! This dish can be prepared and cooked within 25-30 minutes, and serves really well with steamed rice. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cloves of garlic, crushed and finely chopped
150g minced pork
3 large shitake mushrooms, softened and sliced
1 tbsp oyster sauce
300g silken tofu
1 tbsp light soy sauce
Coriander leaves 
Method:
Heat vegetable oil in a fry pan, fry garlic, minced pork, mushrooms for a few minutes until the meat starts to brown. Add oyster sauce and stir thoroughly. Set aside.
Place tofu in a steaming plate. Top the tofu with stirfried pork and mushroom mix. Drizzle with light soy sauce. Steam everything for approximately 15-20 minutes. To serve, garnish with fresh coriander leaves.