Saturday, 25 October 2014


Greetings ladles and jelly-spoons~

On the last day of uni this year, I(Jia) went to lunch with Tiffany(see her awesome blog here) and her friend Kharishma. There were going to be 5 people but 2 didn't come, so the 3 of us were just occupying a big table by ourselves hahaha. My high school friend Jiyun mentioned this place to me when we met on the bus once, and I was pretty keen to try it. I would definitely say it's a student friendly place; although the price is much higher than it would be in Singapore, for New Zealand I'd say it's reasonable. It's not a place you would immediately notice but when you know what you're looking for it's quite easy to find via the painted sign. To be honest though I thought it was just a tidy bit of graffiti every time my bus passed it, until I realised it was a restaurant name.

From the outside it's nothing impressive, and once near the entrance I was assaulted with the smell of cigarette smoke. There are two parts to the place; a place closer to the door with chairs and some tables and some colourful art on the wall. after a glass partition with glass doors(nearly walked into them), there is the main part. It's kinda cute, with its mix of brick walls and painted wood. Very colourful, yet somehow dark too. It does have lights, but the ceiling is black and it has a sort of 'underground' feeling to it. As you sit for a while the cigarette smell is not as strong(Or at least, I couldn't smell it anymore. Tiffany still could).One corner had a shelf with magazines, games and books.

photo credit to Tiff because the one I took was not as clear :D

Isn't she cute?

I love how it has a hint of a rustic feel to it, with framed menu choices on the wall written in chalk, wooden block table numbers, colourful wooden palettes separating the eating area from the kitchen. It's a nice and casual feeling you get sitting there. The background noise is pleasantly like the hubbub of an Asian food-court but not as loud because of considerably less people.  I also had a nice surprise of discovering that one of the waitresses was a camp friend Irna(who looks cute in the uniform by the way :D).

I also like this.

K and T ordered an iced coffee and iced milk tea. I tried both of them and I liked the fact that the coffee wasn't as bitter so it was much easier to drink. The milk tea tasted like a milk tea without pearls so... I liked that too(I do like pearls okay, just describing the taste). Hahaha we mistook a customer for the waiter that bought  a hot coffee instead of cold, and we were trying to get his attention by waving politely and saying "Excuse me". He ended up sitting at the table next to ours and they were all friendly uncles. One of them is from Singapore. Now, I did not get to try the laksa because of my aversion to spicy food, so I'll just have to trust T, K and the uncles at the next table as they were praising it.

Anyway back to the food; I had Char  Koay Teow (pronounced chah kwei teow, I believe). This basically had omelette, prawns, flat noodles, bean sprouts, and -I think it was- squid?

It doesn't look it but trust me it's pretty darn big.

As a person who has eaten such dishes back in Singapore, I can honestly say it tastes delicious, and just like the Char Koay Teow back in SG. Pretty big portion though. I wont lie, my appetite isn't exactly that tiny but I had trouble forcing the last few bites in. I was the only one who finished my dish haha.

Tiffany had the Chicken Hor Fun, which had (again)squid, thin noodles and flat noodles(that's what I'm more used to), chicken, prawn, a runny egg sauce(my favourite part of any Hor Fun with the noodles), and shallots.

 It is nice but I prefer my Char Koay Teow. I found the chicken a bit dry. It might also be that I really really liked my CKT(hahaha wow those are my mother's initials)?

Kharishma and I -photo creds to Tiff again :D
Tiff being cute again~

The cashier was friendly, and quite funny. She explained about the lunch rush, and asked if we were about to die of hunger, because the food was going to be out in probably 30 minutes. As mentioned earlier, my camp friend was one of the waitresses so she was of course friendly and smiley so that was nice. There was the little mix up of the drinks order but other than that it was fine.

The price range was about $10-12 for all the dishes(that I could see, anyway), which I thought was pretty good. Plus it tastes good and fills you up.But mayne bring 20 for including drinks?

A little late-night doodle for our readers' pleasure

So overall I liked this place. Not sure if I'll go again any time soon because I probably want to try a lot of different places, but I'll definitely keep the option open.

Just the one Lamb

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Japa Deli Review - If you don't like bad things, best not to read this

Ladles and Jellyspoons!

Song here finally doing a review on a lunch place that I went to a few days back. It's called Japa Deli and it's located on the corner of Anzac Ave and Beach Road. I decided to go there because I was craving unagi (Japanese grilled eel) so you know what this is probably gonna be about :p so let's get into it!

The place is nice enough, combining a modern clean surrounding with an older wood based style floor and furniture. The rest of it is quite typical I suppose with some Japanese decorations here and there. This definitely feels more like a cafe than a restaurant and it's a good place to go casually or for a lunch date etc. I really did like the light colored brick walls but that's just me, I'm a sucker for brick walls in places like these.



So this is where I had quite a bit of a grumble. We ordered the Unagi Don and were going to also go with the Okonomiyaki which I think is a pretty standard order. Unfortunately they out.. or didn't do (or something along those lines) that either at that time or at all. Okay so first, they had literally just set up and open and they've already run out? I must have missed the lunch hour rush or something in the couple of minutes it took to get there. Second, if they don't do something it should be told when they give us the menu or crossed out on it at least. Crazy small outburst over. For those who are wondering the special was a lunch box special. 5 pieces of sushi either salmon or chicken with Karage chicken cutlet or crumbed squid accompanied with a green salad. This entire meal would cost you $10.

So we ended up getting the Unagi and the Tempura Udon. Being me and knowing how much I end up eating and considering I was starving at that time (didn't eat breakfast just because... I normally don't.) I decided to go with the large unagi don as there are two choices (small or large). When it arrived (quickly which was good) I had to stop and think about whether or not I had made a mistake with my ordering or perhaps they had written down the wrong order because surely.. that couldn't be a large. Ignore the photo because it's kind of misleading but its small. 4 mid to small size pieces of eel with.. not even that much rice. I will say that the proportions work out nicely but certainly not what I was expecting. The taste? Nothing outstanding but it wasn't bad either. It lacked balance as it was literally just rice and eel. Some would say "well that's what you get for ordering a Don" and I agree but I've eaten at various Japanese places in Auckland and a don meal usually comes with some sort of vegetables, and no, dried seaweed strips do NOT count (according to my girlfriend.. I mean I was going to say it counted.. I only eat veges if I have to) for half the price I could have gotten sushi chicken AND a salad. I find that just a little bit ridiculous. If that was the LARGE then I am terrified to the thought of how miniscule a small is.

The tempura udon was disappointing. I suppose they gave a fair amount of tempura, but for me I find that dunking it in the udon, kinda defeats the purpose of it being deep fried in the first place. You lose the crisp texture and the oil leaks into your soup making the entire meal... gross. The noodles were bland (but they're noodles) and the soup didn't help much in the taste category either.

The saving grace of this meal was probably the.. Ginger beer..



Here I thought that the way it looked was nice, there's not much you could do with some eel and rice, but at least they made an effort to layer it nicely. The udon.. again, there's really REALLY not much you can do with noodles, I mean they kind of arrange themselves don't they? But hey, they did put the tempura nicely together. Not much I can say about this overall but I did like the utensils that they gave to us so score points for that.


I really hate criticizing things.. (I know it sounds like I enjoy it but it makes me feel kinda bad..deep down.. like.. Tartarus deep..) Their service was horrible. They're lucky we got rid of the rating system otherwise this would have scored a 0. We are the first customers there. Now, I'm not saying we have to be treated like it's a red carpet premiere (though that would definitely edge them closer to a 10) but a smile a greeting and clear direction to a table would be nice. They seemed to have read the total opposite of the customer service handbook because it honestly felt like we weren't welcome. Furthermore, specials come first. Otherwise it's not going to get considered while we think about what to order. As I said above, what you do and do not do also get mentioned first off. Don't raise our hopes only to dash them (unless you're sadistic that way then.. you have problems). When asking for our order the waiter's tone (and I say waiter loosely, a primary school child could have been better) was definitely that of one who would rather be anywhere else. After telling us that they didn't have okonomiyaki, there was this lengthy pause before he finally decided to mention the specials. Now that's not so bad right? Wrong. The only reason I can tell you the specials is because I had somehow taken a photo of the blackboard it was on and just zoomed in to read it. The waiter (again, loosely using the term) just mumbled a bunch of sentences and I caught the words special and sushi. Otherwise I honestly wouldn't have a clue that they had specials. I didn't dare ask him to repeat it because he already looked like it was killing him to talk to us. This is a HUGE part of why I disliked this place.


So.. numbers. A large unagi don with the shrimp tempura udon along with a ginger beer altogether put us $36.60 out of pocket. For two people. For that kind of money, I could have spent it actually getting food that satisfied me. I had still hoped that they had made a mistake and that they were going to charge me a small unagi don which would have been acceptable but at $18.80 I could have gone to any other Japanese place and gotten way more than some measly eel and a bit of rice. The Ebi tempura udon was $13.80 and honestly I think that they're making way over double of what it costs to make. Ginger beer was $4.00. 

So overall? This isn't a place that I'd recommend. At least not to students. Sure the atmosphere of the actual place is nice, the deco works well together and has a fair amount of space so you don't feel like you're a sardine. The food is also alright. However, for the amount you pay for that food? Definitely not worth it in any aspect. Maybe if you were earning that much or you were just THAT hungry.. then maybe but even then.. I'd be really hesitant. The service was the biggest problem that I had with this place as I'm quite happy to lunch anywhere else because being that far down away from University, means that I have a whole ton of choices of where to splurge for a meal. I cannot see how this place had as many customers as it did, I will just assume that they're not regulars. Perhaps I didn't order the right things so if any of you viewers have been there and actually liked it, let me know in the comments down below!

The Musical Lamb

I'm nacho parent but here's some vaguely healthy and easy snacks to try?

Sorry that was a pretty random title.
¡ Hola mis cucharones y cucharas de jalea ! (See you even get some Spanish lessons from this blog!)
This is just a quick post of some snacks that are fairly easy to prepare and taste delicious. I'm rolling out a second post today because, well, I just wrote an important essay and I thought I'd get some posts up before returning to assignments just yet.

 I found this recipe of mini quiches(about the size of a cupcake) that are vegetarian friendly because they contain artichoke and spinach. I ended up with more mix than cupcake tins(presumably because of the small cup size of the mold) and as such used it for another batch of mini quiches that were definitely not vegetarian friendly in that they had bacon in it. Yeah. Wendy and I made these for a sleepover at Sophie's in the mid-semester break and to make things easy its BYO, so voila, quiches. In any case these are adorable and delicious, the clean up is easy and the preparation isn't difficult and the baking doesn't take long.

 Artichoke and spinach Quiche Recipe:
For this recipe, I was browsing Pinterest(a must-have for everyone. Just saying.) and came across so many of these that I finally decided to open one and have a look. The reviews were all raving about how great and healthy it is so well, why not.

The recipe comes from, and goes something like this:

-1 can(14.5 ounces) can of artichoke hearts(This was found at Countdown after scanning the canned food aisle thoroughly) drained and chopped.
-1 package frozen spinach, drained(I just found a pack of spinach from my local Fruitworld and put as much spinach -washed- as I could fit, which as I found, was a lot.)
-5 eggs, whisked
-3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese(we just used Colby, and it tasted fine so I think it's flexible within reason)
-1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
-2/3 cup milk(any kind)
-1/2 cup chopped white onion
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1/4teaspoon pepper
(NB: I would suggest cutting up the artichoke hearts and spinach slightly smaller so it can fit better; we realised that the spinach leaves were using a lot of space because we didn't chop it up.)
-Preheat the oven to 177(~180) degrees Celsius, or 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare 12 baking cups by either spraying them liberally with cooking spray or lining them with paper lines. Alternatively you can grease them with margarine/butter and it should be alright too. Worked with ours.

 -Stir all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl until combined. Portion the mixture into the 12 prepared baking cups until they are nearly full. (We decided to sprinkle the cheese manually and ended up with leftover of that too.)

-Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the eggs are set and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the quiche comes out clean, serve immediately(Alternatively just keep watching it until you deem it ready and the toothpick comes out clean which should be about 10-15mins? )
The mix had to be spooned in and as you can see the spinach is being riotous.


Mine is a rubber "tin" which is really handy for taking things out. Also fairly easily cleaned.

Final form; in a metal dish ready to be taken to the sleepover I went to at the time of baking.
These were a little bland; possibly because we didn't mix too well. I would suggest individual seasoning.

Bacon Quiche recipe:

As mentioned earlier, I had about 2 cups of spinach and artichoke mix left so I just added 3 more eggs to the mix and used it up. I used Edmonds reduced fat savoury short pastry(I didn't really look at the label, the picture just looked right so I grabbed it from the frozen section at Countdown. This means I think like the mozzarella cheese it's flexible). Using a cup I cut circles in the pastry to put at the bottom of the cupcake mold. It's best to work fast because the pastry thaws quite quickly and sticks to itself.

For the rest of the filling, I just cut up some streaky bacon and some jellybean cherry tomatoes(Which are pretty good on their own by the way!) and placed them in each cup manually rather than dumping them into the mix(like the cheese in the previous quiche batch). That way they're more likely to have equal distribution and not get lost in the spinach, see? Be as liberal as you'd like, quiches seem to be able to have anything(within reason) as long as it fits and doesn't burn too fast. I also used up the remaining cheese and half an onion. Like the artichoke and spinach quiches, it baked in about 15ish minutes. However I took it out after 5 more minutes of the toothpick coming out clean because it was a bit pale.

These ones smelt so good so I had to taste one; delicious. They taste better than they look, honest.
So that concludes the quiche recipe. Keep in mind that you can probably just use a larger dish and increase the ingredients proportionally and end up with a big quiche if you'd like. Here's some other posts I'd like to include in the post;
I find them at the butcher's near Fruitworld and Classic bakery near the Greenlane Countdown, but I assume you can find them at Tai Ping or other Asian supermarts. If you toast them, the outside stays crunchy and has a nice toasted flavour but the inside becomes warm, gooey and seriously amazing with their salty caramel-like goodness. Mind you, it's not quite as nice before it's toasted, and it's best eaten while still warm. The inside is pretty hot though so be careful not to burn your tongue(speaking from experience as you may have guessed).

These are pretty self explanatory; spread cream cheese on and place thinly sliced cucumber as you like, then slice it into 4 triangles just because it's cuter and more yummy that way. I'm not sure how healthy the cream cheese aspect is but it's just an example of easy food. An alternative might be spreading avocado and putting other sliced up sandwich fillings in. The point is, make a sandwich instead of eating cookies.

Okay nachos are just awesome. You can have it as a snack or for a meal, depending on how much you make. I know you might hate our ad lib recipes but honestly nachos and quiches don't require you to be exact to the millimetre.
For this recipe, we used about 2 packs of minced beef and fried it lightly with some olive oil(Medium heat maybe, so it doesn't burn before the other ingredients are cooked). We then added a can of tomato puree(I think it was Watties but I can't be totally sure) because I like the occasional chunks, and just kept adding tomato sauce until we decided it didn't look dry. We also chucked in 1/2 of a big onion, chopped up. Since a majority of the sauce was tomato sauce I wanted to add a little more tomato so I added in my favoured jellybean tomatoes cut in half and stirred in.
We made some tin foil 'containers' and poured some corn chips in(any will do, but we did find a brand that said it was suitable for nachos). For 4-5 people(or  hungry people and an adult), we used about 1.5 bags of corn chips(The big kind). We sliced some Colby cheese and placed under a few chips, then on the chips, then poured the mince mix on and placed even more cheese on. To melt it we just used grill, though this means you have to keep a close eye on it because the cheese closest to the back will melt and bubble a lot faster and you have to make sure it doesn't burn. I would guess the melting took about 10 minutes max? Depends on your oven.
Excuse the dirty oven window; it was already like that when we moved in.

This honestly smells and tastes so good I'm just getting hungry looking at it again.
So this concludes the second post of the night!! I'd also like to give credits to W and Songie for usually being the ones who make the food. 3 in the kitchen is a bit of a hassle so I just stay out of it generally.
Muchas Gracias~
Just the One Lamb

Archie's Restaurant and Pizzeria Review

Greetings Ladles and Jellyspoons~

Sorry about the radio silence for so long!! I've been getting a lot of comments from people saying that they read our blog and it's makes me feel so loved, yay!! This time we're reviewing Archie's Pizzeria in Newmarket. We actually ate here quite a few weeks ago during mid-semester break but a sudden need to finish assignments and study for mid-term tests made me(Jia) unable to blog. This was back when it was colder but on that day it was pretty sunny so we got to eat outside without feeling like icicles. I would tell you a pun about pizza but it's too cheesy.

I drew this cool pizza for you on paint. Yes.

Haha sorry I couldn't resist. Anyway wow, did anyone else experience that power outage from the fire in the Penrose power station? My area had no electricity for a good part of the weekend. In fact we just got the phone line back today.
Getting back to the food blog, my brother and I have decided to cut out the rating part of the blog because it's not all that important and truthfully I don't think there will ever be a 10/10 because of the high standards of every single aspect needing to be perfect. Some of the restaurants with low ratings really aren't bad but they're just not amazing.

This was a cozy pizzeria, a cross between a cafĂ© and a restaurant I guess. It was pretty crowded inside, and outside was quite crowded too. This was probably because of the lunch special that goes on everyday where they have a $14 menu. Talk about a great bargain :D The tables were a bit small though so it was a squeeze to get all our plates on it. It felt friendly and had some background noise, but not too loud since it wasn't too close to the road. I feel like it would be nice for a casual date or just a lunch out with mates like we had.
I didn't get a picture of the inside sorry.

Songie here~

Unfortunately the water was tap water but oh well. The food made up for it. On my friend's recommendation I picked El Salmone, which I can honestly say was delicious. Initially I did have misgivings when it came out, because it looked thin with a few meager slices of salmon laid out on it and a handful of salad on top. As I ate it though, I found that it was actually really good. It wasn't overly filling because it was thin and light; the salmon wasn't overpoweringly rich(as it sometimes can be when you have a lot of cooked salmon) because there wasn't a lot. It went well with the salad, and the cream cheese hidden under the salmon just melted in your mouth as you ate it.  I seriously enjoyed it. I'm not sure if I was starving or something but I might even go as far as saying it was like a symphony in your mouth.

Alla Cappriosa had anchovies(extremely salty!), olives, capsicum and salami and stuff. I felt that it had very strong flavours.  The combined well but I preferred the more subtle and creamy taste of the salmon pizza. This was more rustic, good in itself but missing a softer edge to it. Also olives aren't exactly on our best foods list, and its a bit fiddley to get the pip out and then combine it with everything so that the overall taste isn't too strong. 

The pizzas were cute and had a lot of colour which is always nice, and also weren't too big where you would overeat(as a growing teenager, anyway). It looked just like a pizza normally does. On that note you can have badly presented pizzas like if Dominoes or Pizza Hut's delivery people have let your pizza slide around the back of the car at a few hundred turns. I think for what they had to work with, it was presented neatly with all of the right elements.

The service was alright, they were happy to seat you where you'd like(we were initially sat on the inside next to the toilets but decided that outside was better). They were friendly and came at the exactly right time when we wanted to order. The owner also works there on occasion and is always ready for a chat and is a really friendly guy. Definitely makes me feel like customer service is a priority there.

The price was good, because it was lunchtime there was the $14 Lunch Special when usually the pizzas would've cost more. However, the dinner menu which is more expensive, also has an upgrade with food portions, but as we haven't been there for dinner recently (last time I went was sometime last year) we're not sure if it's a still just...way too filling or not. So in terms of price for value, the lunch menu definitely takes the cake.. or..slice.. or something..

So overall, in terms of pretty much everything, Archies is definitely coming in as one of the top places we've been to so far. The $14 menu is great for students looking to splurge a little and get a great deal at the same time and yet it does not cater exclusively to them. It's a great all rounder restaurant that proves over and over again why it's always teeming with customers day after day. Be prepared for a small wait if you go there in the middle of a lunch period! And... That concludes this post I guess!! Thanks for reading~

The Lambs