Jonker Street Malaysian Restaurant

Happy New Year!! Today I thought I’d share with you my recent experience at Jonker Street in Doncaster East. I heard a lot of different things about this place and while I was keen to try my own noodle dish (e.g. Laksa) we ended up getting sharing plates with an unlimited rice bucket instead. We did make a booking just incase and  good thing we did because for a weekday it seemed quite busy. We were greeted with a friendly waiter and he looked after us for most of our stay.js-tt-3
Sweet and Sour Prawn // 22.80
The prawns were fresh and succulent! They had the typical sweet and sour sauce (you shouldn’t go wrong with this option) but it would have been nicer if the onions had been fried for a little longer (they still had a pretty raw taste – you can still see how white they are). Usually if I ever order a sweet and sour option we go for the pork, but this time prawn did prove to be a good choice. I liked mixing it up.
Choy Heong Bean Curd (Tofu) // 16.80
Oh my goodness – words cannot actually do this dish justice. It was amazing. The bean curd was extremely soft (the softest tofu I’ve had in my life). The flavour was smashing and this was definitely my favourite dish by far. The bean curd melted in your mouth and I really didn’t want to share this with anyone else!
Fishhead Curry Soup
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Don’t Tell Mama // Doncaster

Recently I came by Don’t Tell Mama again and thought I’d do a blog post! The main thing I like about Don’t Tell Mama is that it’s one the larger sized Korean restaurants in the suburbs. I’d usually book just in case but because it can cater a lot of people it’s not usually fully booked. I’ve tried a number of things from the menu and I’d recommend sticking to their ‘Stir-Fried Meal’ section because they’re pretty tasty and it comes with a bowl of rice. I’ve tried items from the menu from each section (except lunch) and I’ve just found the other things to be more disappointing.dtm-tt-1
Lovers -Sharing Dolsot Bibimbab For 2 // $26
You can choose your choice of meat from pork, prawn, beef, chicken, tofu etc. We chose the prawn and I was pretty disappointed by the bibimbab. It’s quite average and the taste is extremely plain. There’s not much flavour unless you DIY and eat it with other dishes. It’s okay as a ‘side’ but if you did order this as your own main I think you’d feel quite disappointed by the lack of flavour and seasoning. The plus side is that if you are someone who cares a lot about health then I’d recommend getting this dish. Most of the menu items at Don’t Tell Mama are pretty oily except for this one.dtm-tt-2
Beef Bulgogi // $16dtm-tt-3
Mild Pork Bulgogi // $16
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Sonley Stonegrill & Bar // Blackburn

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Recently I had a really nice meal at Sonley Stonegrill & Bar. The presentation is quite simplistic, clean and neat. They have a pretty quirky ceiling around the inner corner and some small posters of information about the company like the one below.

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This above explains what stonegrill is all about at Sonley’s; cooking meat on 400 degree heated natural volcanic stones!Sonely TangerTalks (3)
Sonley’s have plenty of options in their drinks menu which can all be found on their website.Sonely TangerTalks (5)
Basket of wedges // $9 with tomato sauce 
They were addictive and seasoned nicely with herbs
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Rocket Salad – Goat Cheese, Beetroot, Candied Walnut // $16
The dressing was really nice, sweet yet tangy which fit well with the rocket. I’m not a huge fan of goats cheese so I ate around that but we shared the salad so it was fine.Sonely TangerTalks (1)
The above feature the following mains: Marinated Skewers ($28) Porter House M5 ($48) and the Seafood combinations ($44)  
It was a very cool experience being able to cook meat the way you like but I wasn’t the best at cooking it! I think next time I’ll be much better at it because I’ll know what I’m in for. My advice is to leave some of your meat on a plate provided, and to then cook/cut what you can/will eat bits at a time instead of the whole thing at once. That way it makes it easier to control how well your meat is cooked. Each main comes with one sauce of your choice and complimentary house side. I chose herb garlic French butter and we all received nice seasonable vegetables. I loved the veggies!
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Apple Crumble, Butterscotch Sauce, Ice Cream // $12
Looks great but it wasn’t mine!
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Tiramisu // $12
The tiramisu was really delicious. I’ve been really liking tiramisu lately actually. I just love the layers of sponge cake that are soaked in coffee and liqueur. It’s a very interesting texture. I also like coffee flavoured sweets and for some reason I don’t seem to get sick on them (I usually get sick from drinking any type of coffee).

Verdict: I had a really great time at Sonley’s. The service was terrific and all the staff were quick, attentive, patient and friendly. They had conversations with us, laughed and acted interested in what we had to say (lol not sure if they actually were – but they seemed genuine and easy going). The food is quite expensive but it really depends on what cut of meat you buy (they definitely have quality meat available). It’s not somewhere I would have dinner normally but it’s definitely a suitable place in the suburbs for a more classy dinner experience. Parking is easy to find and for free too.

TGI Fridays // Doncaster

It was exciting to check out the newly renovated TGI Fridays. Visually it’s very different – it seems like there’s more open space and less seating ‘sections’. We didn’t need to wait for long for a table after we arrived, and though we were assigned a waiter, we did end up getting served by 4 different people. I didn’t mind because all 4 people were friendly and greeted us politely each time. TGI Tanger (1)

TGI Fridays is a bit of an interesting one, many people complain about their service across the branches in Melbourne,but they also complain about how overpriced their food is. I’ve been to TGI Fridays numerous of times, but each time I’ve been given good service. The downside for me has been the waiting time, previously I’ve had to wait for about 40-50 minutes before anything comes out which can be frustrating if you’re hungry!

How about this time? I’m pleased to say I had a good experience. We had polite and quick service (they didn’t go out of their way to make small talk with us, but they were efficient). The food came out after about 20 minutes (the quickest I’ve ever been served at TGIs, and the restaurant looked quite full). We decided to get 4 dishes to share so we could all try a bit of each, like a sampler! (I was soooo full afterwards). The only ‘weirdish’ thing was that the kept forgetting to bring cutlery so we had to ask. For example, for the guacamole dips, it didn’t come with a spoon, and the steak didn’t come with any knives.

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Appetiser – Mac n Cheese Bites//$15.95
This was super crunchy! The sauce tasted similar to that rich tomato paste flavour you get in marinara. TGI Tanger (6)
Close up of these bites! I thought it was a pretty clever snack idea. Personally I’d prefer the Southwest Potato Twisters, it’s quite big, fun to share and more flavoursome. TGI Tanger (5)
Jack Daniel’s Sampler // $29.95 This includes, Jack Daniel glaze with Cajun battered shrimp, sesame chicken strips and a rack of baby back pork ribs.
This was absolutely delicious! I love the sauce. The shrimp tasted very succulent and fresh, the sesame chicken strips was really addictive and the shredded lettuce tasted great with it. The baby back pork ribs was nice too. I would have been quite happy to have this on my own and it definitely would have been very filling. TGI Tanger (7)
300g Scotch Fillet (your choice of one sauce and two sides) with red wine sauce, and two sides of chips to be served separately $34.95
The steak tasted really good, the sauce was alright – I ended up eating my steak with the Jack Daniel’s sweet sauce. I was surprised at how the steak tasted because I’ve read some mixed reviews so I must have gotten a good chef that night!TGI Tanger (8)
For anyone who wants to see what TGI Friday’s chips looks like! Not super crunchy but definitely not flat. TGI Fridays has tomato sauce on the table so I just used that. The chips aren’t seasoned very much.TGI Tanger (9)
Chicken Quesadilla served with cream, fresh salsa and guacamole // $21.95
I’ve had this before at Forest Hill and thought it tasted nicer then. This time, I felt that it was more bland, and the guacamole, cream, salsa combo wasn’t as great. I’m not sure why, I think it’s because this time they were just easily mixed and just became slushy like. I think it would be better if they served the fresh salsa, cream and guacamole on separate small dishes, or sauce plates.

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Pho + Chocolate

Recently I caught up with some old friends for dinner and dessert. Here is the unfolding of our little foodie adventure!

As we walked along Swanston Street, we decided to check out Melbourne Viet Noodle House (probably because the waiter actually saw us looking and came out encouraging us to go in). We had pretty friendly service throughout the night and 4 of us ordered very similar things! (Different combos of pho).vn (1)Chicken + Beef Pho (Beef stock) Small size $9
I ordered this dish (photo taken before adding bean sprouts). They were quite generous with the amount of onion they added into the dish (not all Vietnamese places even add onion to pho).  I thought it was quite average – not bad for pho – but also not the best. Having egg was also a nice touch to the dish. If you’re not particularly hungry small will be enough (but it’s not that big, so if you are hungry definitely go for the larger size)! (The next size up is only about a dollar extra). I liked the broth but probably not as much as what I’ve tried at Indochine or Super 888.  If you have any pho recommendations in the city please let me know :)vn (2)Tom Yum Noodle Soup
Our other friend ordered this dish! From memory there was no ‘large’ or ‘small’ option and this was definitely a larger bowl than the pho. I didn’t try any but she enjoyed it (so hopefully she did! haha).

Melbourne Vietnam Noodle House on Urbanspoon

Next stop! MAX BRENNER @ QV! Dessert time!
It was a special occasion but normally I wouldn’t prefer to go to Max Brenner’s for dessert. I don’t mind a coffee or a drink for a catch up but I find the pricing at Max Brenner’s to be quite expensive. it’s good if you share with others but if I was to pay on my own, I’d rather go somewhere else (say Koko Black)  for a similar cost (but that’s my personal preference!).

This night was a new dining experience for me however because I hadn’t tried the things we ordered. We decided to share between the 5 of us and ordered two things at QV. The queue was ridiculously long (this was approximately around 8:45PM and on a weeknight) and we probably waited for about 20 minutes. We were really fortunate to find a table but even after we ordered it still took about half an hour before any food came. The waiter was very friendly but everything just took so long! Either they’re understaffed or they don’t have enough room to cater for the amount of customers they have. Perhaps the Max Brenner’s in Melbourne central is less busy?

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Chocolate Fondue for Two 19.90 // Pure melted milk & dark chocolate served with strawberries, bananas, marshmallows & banana bread
I quite enjoyed the fondue! We requested for milk and dark chocolate pots. It was a guilty pleasure, but honestly and we all know it – it’s definitely something you can easily and simply do at home for a much cheaper price. I think it’s probably because I just typed up my budgeting for this month that I’m thinking so much about ‘worth’ haha so don’t mind me! Honestly speaking though, all you need is strawberries, marshmallows, other fruit, a bit of cake and some melted chocolate! The quantity they give you at MB is not much anyway, so for the same price you could probably get 3 times as much. I enjoyed the fondue, but there’s nothing much you can do to make it a spectacular fondue – it’s bound to taste good anywhere (right..? let me know if you’ve had any crazy bad fondue experiences outside before! eek).
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Choc-Banana Pizza* 17.00 // Pure melted chocolate, caramelised pecans, bananas & marshmallows
This pizza definitely got more addictive as I ate it, but it was actually quite disappointing. The base of the pizza was very dry/flaky and bland – I’m not even sure what it was made out of, but the texture was definitely not what I was expecting. Like I mentioned before, the prizing is quite overpriced – $17 was not worth the actual quality/quantity of food. Looks pretty appetizing at least! Definitely a good combo with the fondue together. I guess for the experience it was definitely exciting – we probably spent 5 minutes just taking photos and having fun trying chocolate pizza! *What is this strange type of food?! Where is the cheese?!*

Max Brenner Chocolate Bar on Urbanspoon

Bottom line?  
Max Brenner is a great place for catching up,especially for late-nights and a chill environment but (in some ways similar to pancake parlour)- it’s just overpriced.
Viet Noodle House average Vietnamese place – very casual so don’t expect anything fancy! It’s good for what it offers.

I hope I didn’t offend anyone’s favourite eating spots in this entry!