for all new international students

Month: December, 2012

Gong Cha

Gong Cha on Urbanspoon


Food Republik by Katherine

Food Republik is a Malaysian/Singaporian hawker style market in Box Hill. It is here that Sally and I both visited. We had both got off the train and were starving. There was such a ridiculously long queue and we had to queue for about ten minutes. We got there at about 12:15pmish .
Whilst waiting we got to watch them make dumplings and this made me drool. I really wanted them after all.
There is limited seating at that place.
But when we did get in the door we were given a menu and we had to share a table with randoms which we don’t always like.
The service was ab missal at least. The wait staff were all intent on talking to each other rather than serving customers. We had to choose what we want and write it down on a ticket. We had incorrectly chosen a few items which were not available at the time and we got reprimanded by the waitress.
When our pork dumplings didn’t come for a while we had to flag down a waitress a few times.
I loved the setup of this though. Cute and funky.
They do takeaway.

The lighting here is really bad and our camera doesn’t capture lighting well. But yes this is supposed to read “Food Republik”.

We ordered four dishes to share:
1) Xiao long bao -$5.80 for four. It was so juicy. It was sally’s favourite dish.
2) Jelly fish- $5.90. This was so bland and it had no chilli in it which we found strange. No salt in it as well. Not going to order this again.
3)Stir fried udon- $9.50- This was my favourite and it was the star of the meal. The beef was really tender and the noodles were flavoursome.
4) Pork bun- $5.20. It came really late why? It came 10 minutes after all the other dishes arrived and we were really full. It was so slippery when it is meant to be pan fried. It was a little bit bland and there was not enough meat in this. I expected more.
In the end we didn’t finish this dish.

With the food being sub par at most I really don’t know why there was such a big queue to get in the door. Maybe next time (and thats if I do come back) I might just try the rice meals and the bentos as they looked really attractive. Maybe they were just having a bad day after all?

Food Republik on Urbanspoon

Mister Dorayaki

Mister Dorayaki is a place in Box Hill that does the traditional Japanese pancakes.
Here you can buy one for $2.90 or a combo for $6 or $7 which includes a drink.
They are near the Box Hill station so takeaway was easy for me to grab. Hence this is a really short review.
I got one Dorayaki for $2.90. It was a custard one which was really filling. But it was way too small for that price. After seeing the ones at the Chinatown market I expected bigger.
I might just be back for a return visit this time for the combo.

Mister Dorayaki on Urbanspoon

Movenpick by Katherine

Movenpick is a place that has been raved about for some time now. There used to be one in Docklands but they closed due to low numbers visiting.

But the good news is that they have opened another one in Box Hill. So a few hours after lunch Sally and I met up with another friend at Movenpick.

Now Movenpick doesn’t have any bathrooms- they are inside Centro shopping centre.

But it is here that you can choose what sort of flavours that you like as Movenpick has many.

There isn’t a lot of table service but there are some helpful staff members at the front counter that can assist you in decision making.

Movenpick is a brand of ice cream from Europe and Asia. Seeing as they are European I have high expectations of them and they did not disappoint.

At 3pm it was not busy and there are plenty of seating inside and out.

We had the endless fondue ($21.95) and my friend got an iced coffee ($4.50 for such a big glass). Extra stuff for the fondue is about $5. I also had an iced tea ($4.50)

The iced tea came in a big martini glass which I thought was cute. I loved it today

We all loved the fondue and agreed that the fondue is much better value than the one at Max brenners. For $18 at Max’s it doesn’t have a lot of things to it. In fact most of the things are dried or really hard.

Where as in here we had heaps of fun with this. Here they had yummy creme brulee ice cream and lovely raspberry sorbet. The waffle was a little bit dry but the fruits and ice cream made up for it. The fruits were fresh.
I loved the marshmellows in this. Lovely and they melt in your mouth where as the ones at Max brenners are store bought and really dry.

My friend didn’t like his coffee that much. It was a little bit strong for him.

Now why can’t the west have a Movenpick like the East do? Why do we always have these crappy chocolate places. Please please have a Movenpick in Highpoint rather than the ever so expensive Max Brenners. Oh and the ever so expensive San Churros. People would appreciate this. I will return someday to this place.

Movenpick Boxhill on Urbanspoon

Hogs Breath Cafe by Katherine

The team at Newintstudents blog (Sally and I) went to see Les Miserables in Highpoint. We both arrived at 12:30pm and wanted to see the 2pm session. Hence we couldn’t go far for lunch.

So that left us with Hogs Breath cafe. When I read on Urbanspoon that Hogs breath cafe had a 45% rating on it, I thought “Wow can it be that BAD? Seriously?” I also read the other people’s blogs as well and thought that the place itself wasn’t all that good.
Well it turns out that I was wrong about the place. The place was clean. Yes there was loud music. And no the place wasn’t that busy.
But the wait staff were really friendly. One of them asked how our meal went which was good. This is what I’d love to see more of happening in cafes.

Here they mainly do American food, but they also do mocktails and alcoholic drinks. In that respect they are just another TGI Fridays.
They also had some $9.90 weekday specials which we did not know about as it was “cleverly hidden away”.  
Here we both had burgers and lemonade. I had the barra burger ($13.50) which came with hog tail fries and Sally had a beef burger which also came with hog tail fries. Sally thought that her burger was just ok but to me the beef patty looked a little overcooked. I didn’t think she really enjoyed it.
We both agreed the hog tail fries were a little bit bland and we needed the Tabasco sauce to give them a little more flavour. Some flavour on them would have been good.
The fish in my burger wasn’t too bad but it could have been better. My burger was really hard to cut. I didn’t like the lemon wedge squashed in the burger. It was messy to eat. I would have liked it on the side.
The lettuce was just ok though. 😦
And what’s with giving us a second knife poked into our burgers when there was one on the table?
Well I guess this is just another TGI Fridays place with not much thought given in the food itself. I did love the concept of hog tail fries but this could have been executed better.
I hope that management reads this and hopefully will improve most of their foods and stuff or otherwise like TGI Fridays it will go downhill.
Myself and Sally might just give you another chance someday.

Hog's Breath Cafe on Urbanspoon

Exploring Box Hill by Katherine

Exploring Box Hill was really fun the other day.
I went by tram and it was an hour from the city. It is in zone 1/2
I got try out many food stuffs, stuff I didn’t know it existed.
Here are all the pictures.

Dorayaki is a Japanese pancake and it is here that they sell these

$2 per kg for watermelon! That’s cheap! The city has them for like $3-$4

Look how cheap these vegetables are

Oh wow they even have Chinese vegetables for $1. In the city we pay about $2 for these

1 for $1.69! That’s cheap. Normally to buy these in the city is about $3-$4.

I got to try some of these samples and these are really good. I loved the pork skins and the ears. I also loved the curried vegetables. I wish that the city stores had lots of samples for us to try.
Unlike some of the city shops, in here we got to watch the cooks make dumplings.

I can’t believe how cheap these shoes are! In the city and the western side (except Sunshine) we don’t have things like this. Hence I took a shot of this.

Free newspapers for all

Chinese new year goodies are on sale now.

I didn’t know that a pet daycare existed. This is the first time I have heard of such a concept. There isn’t one in the city or in the West.

They don’t have much fashion shops there, but they make up for it with all the foodie places.

There isn’t much in terms of Entertainment either. All the entertainment things such as cinemas are in Doncaster which is an easy bus ride away.

They do have housing and a lot of Asians live here. Many of my friends said that Box Hill is a great area to live in.
But the only downside to this is the public transport and the travel time to uni which is 30-60 mins on tram or by train. There have also been a few assaults here too so just beware

the grand bbq by Katherine

The Grand BBQ is a Chinese place in the city. They are a cheap eatery in the Target mall. When the RMIT business building used to be across the road from them many students used to come here. They still do to some extent..
All of their meals are under $11 and it comes with free tea. There is not much seating so I had to share with randoms today. If you don’t want to share come earlier. I came at around 12.30pm and the place was packed.

There isn’t much service. You order and you pay at the front counter. It’s cash only. And then you go get your own cutlery and tea and condiments.
The waitress greeted me with a frown when I asked her to help me to carry my bowl to the table. It would be ideal for the waitress to at least serve the tables rather than call numbers and people get their own. That is what they are there for.
I ordered their famous “Yong Tau foo” for $10.50. You choose six things from the display (all of which are yong tau foo items I’m told), your choice of noodles and soup. I chose the rice noodles, chicken soup, dumplings (two kinds), seafood stuffed tofu, fish cake, dried bean curd sheets and I can’t remember the other one. At $10.50 this is pretty cheap.

I loved everything except for three things:
* The soup had too much MSG in it
* The seafood stuffed tofu tasted like powder- not fresh at all.
* The dried bean curd skin was too dry and really hard to eat.

But I loved the rice noodles and the dumplings. Oh and the fish cake. The bok choy was just ok.

Next time when I come I would go for all of the above except for the dried beancurd skin, the chicken soup and the seafood stuffed tofu. I would love to try the laksa which smelt good. Only this time I didn’t because I didn’t want to end up with bad breath all throughout the afternoon

The Grand BBQ on Urbanspoon

Cumulus Inc

Cumulus Inc has been one of Melbourne’s most talked about and visited places. About 116+ bloggers have blogged on about this place and this place is number 6 on Urbanspoon.
When I arrived at 11am this place was as busy as.
Cumulus Inc is a very spacious place. I t looks like a warehouse from the outside but on the inside it is a wine bar.
Here they do really great breakfasts and I had the $16 breakfast special which includes toast, egg in a cup (very messy to eat, but still good), preserves, yoghurt, fruit salad, coffee or tea and orange juice.
The also sell some of their products and their books.

Whilst waiting I got to check out the bathrooms. As there was only one cubicle there was a bit of a wait. Whilst inside I took a picture of their hand cream which is from Aesop. Cool hey!

I sat at the bar. At the bar you can see them pouring drinks and making coffee. And boy they do a stellar coffee!

I also checked out all the cakes. They looked lovely!

The toast and preserves was lovely. The preserves are homemade. Yay!I absolutely fell in love with the blueberry one.  And so too is the yoghurt. I can taste all the vanilla in there. Yum. I normally don’t like rhuburb because of its boring taste, but today it was lovely and sweet.

I sampled some of the salt place on my table and I got to say that this is the best salt ever. Now I wish that more cafes had this sort of salt from the Murray.

The egg was done brilliantly. Now I have never had hard boiled egg in a cup since I came to Melbourne six years ago. Now if only the waitress explained to the international students that visits Cumulus how to eat the egg that would have been great. I had watch another table eat their egg and boy it’s fiddly. All the yolk came out. I had to use my hands to peel the skin off the egg.

I know that there were some haters of Cumulus but I’m not one of them. In fact I liked them today and will be back to sample more of the menu.It’s a good place to take your International guests and tourists as it represents the best of what Melbourne has to offer. The only other gripe I have about this is that they take card, but if you order less than $20 worth of food and drink and pay on card they charge an extra $0.50 surcharge for the card. In other stores I have not known for this to happen. At least they should have explained that on the menu so that one can withdraw some funds before coming. Luckily I had enough to cover me. The nearest atm is in Collins place just across the road.

Cumulus Inc. on Urbanspoon


It was a really hot day and I was waiting ages for the train as per usual. I was dying of thirst so where did I go might you ask? Mamasita!
Mamasita is a Mexican restaurant that has gotten a fair bit of hype in the past year or two. Its the place that Melburnians love to go to for their after work drinks.
They were featured at the Taste of Melbourne and they are also in Cheap Eats Guide 2012. About 123 others have blogged on about this place so I must be the last one in the know about this place.
They don’t just sell alcohol by the way they also sell Jarritos, a Mexican imported soft drink.

I sat at the bar and I saw them making lots and lots of cocktails for people. They don’t champagne but they do Mexican style cocktails and tequila.

I know my camera’s not great with the lighting

The atmosphere was lovely. At 4:30pm when I arrived it was quiet and I could easily get a seat by the bar. But 5:30pm everyone came and the place was packed.
The guys behind the bar were friendly. Unlike some other bars these guys were really friendly. They also knew their customers which helps. They also know their foodstuffs and if they don’t just ask the chef, unlike some other places.
They have an open kitchen so I got to see everything that they made.
Everything on the menu is gluten free which is great and they also cater for vegetarians. You can also ask for variations if need be. Eg such as no dairy etc and they will happily accommodate for you.
Here I had their famous fish tacos which everyone loves. And their street style corn. I also added in another taco that was vegetarian.
All up my bill came up to $20.90. Tacos are priced between $5-$7 each.
With it came some salsa. This one didn’t have tomato in it, but still I loved the onion and the cucumber which adds to coolness of it. It only comes free with tacos
I didn’t like the fish one as much as the vegetarian one. The fish one was a little bit bland. The vegetable one was flavorsome and full of freshness. I loved the red cabbage in this. When I saw the pictures of this it tantalized my taste buds.
The street corn was quite nice today. It was char grilled. I loved the spices in this.Yum! I loved all the cheese on top. I wish I had this instead of the cold tacos at Taste of Melbourne.
I would love to come back again to try their quesedilla, something which I didn’t get to try because I had other plans for dinner back home. Students and tourists alike this place is a must visit when you come to Melbourne

Mamasita on Urbanspoon

Guzman Y Gomez Mexican Taqueria

Guzman Y Gomez is a Mexican place. They are all over Sydney and now they are here in Melbourne.

I went on opening day and was cordially invited to try their burritos. Their burritos are huge!

There was a line just to get in the door. I got here at 11am and already there was a big queue. Several times I considered being really rude and push right in as I was in a hurry. Like other restaurants, they should invite the bloggers in before the rest of the public so that we can take as many pictures as we like without people blocking us.

Not only do they do food, they also do drinks as well. They do have Mexican drinks as well as canned soft drinks, margaritas, sangritas etc. If you buy a burrito you also get a can of soft drink for $1.

What’s more you also can put as much sauce and toppings as you like. I loved the jalepinos. You don’t get this anywhere else in Melbourne CBD. I also was a fan of the Spanish onions.

Normally a burrito here costs around $8 or $9 but today I got it for free. And I loved the veggie one. Nicely done with all the rice and veggies inside. Yummo. A burrito is a Mexican tortilla wrap filled with yummy goodness inside and rice as well. Here you can choose either meat or veg and I chose veg.

You line up, go inside and order your burrito and they’ll call your number when it is ready.

Also they gave out some free corn chips whilst my friend and I waited in the queue. The wait was 20 mins long.

Many thanks to Guzman Y Gomez for this. You really made our day.  I wasn’t  much of a fan of the balloons nor the moustache painting on the skin. My skin like all Asians skin is very sensitive and I didn’t know how it would react to moustache being painted.  Some people like myself are a little sensitve of balloons. How about no balloons or opening it earlier for the bloggers to visit before the rest do?

I’d happily visit again and pay full price for my yummilicious burrito.

Guzman Y Gomez Mexican Taqueria Swanston Street on Urbanspoon

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