I could not visit Australia and not have a good Aussie steak so upon recommendation from an Aussie friend, it has to come from Rockpool Bar and Grill. My need for a good reliable steak did not deter me from the prices listed, and I got my wallet ready to lay down the dough in exchange for an experience. Even before my trip began, I already knew my order. The restaurant was so grand but a little imposing! Arriving after a 3 hour jog in Bondi Beach, I was all ready for a big meal. No holding back, I ordered the Cape Grim Dry Aged 36 Month Old Grass Fed Rib-eye on the Bone 350g 71 days (AUD$60), and a small Potato and Cabbage Gratin (AUD$9). The experience was more than I could ask for; the divine steak, orgasmic home-made BBQ sauce (I had to ask for seconds) on the side, the sinful Gratin with the comfort of the hot cheese, and soft cabbage hidden below the scalloped potatoes with a thick cream to combine all, and the good-looking attentive service. I polished every plate clean, and even wow-ed the Manager! As if the dining experience couldn’t have been more epic, I scored myself a Hollywood experience too.
“The Best Falafels in Town“
If not for the queue which was absent from the rest of the food stalls, I would have laughed at this bold assertion and walked away. But if I did, I would have missed out on some stellar falafels and so I was glad to have followed the herd (this time, at least). The falafel man was a quiet steady man who displayed no frazzledness, or emotions for that matter, even when the queue snaked across the courtyard. Working alone, he fastidiously fried the falafels and served them up with either pita bread or the “whole lot”; a mixed of Middle Eastern salad, pickles topped with a thick yoghurt-based sauce. The falafels were orgasmic. I like to see myself as an adventurous soul and I have tried my fair share of falafels but never tasted anything so good that made me think all others I raved before were nothing compared to the plate in front of me. My lunch was good for several reasons. First up, it was freshly deep fried. With the high turnover and small fryer, the falafel man was constantly throwing them into the hot oil. The result was a thin crispy crust surrounding the soft, moist chickpea and parsley filled meatball. I heard the “crunch” the moment I bit into it. The well-seasoned and generous parsley provided the flavour. The salad – with its contrasting temperature, mushier texture, and refreshing taste – only heightened the goodness of the falafels. This plate alone alone definitely warrants a trip to Prahran.
It was the perfect respite from my exam revision. My second sister and I got the wonderful opportunity to watch the Bolshoi Ballet perform in Singapore and what a treat! I was determined to dress up for the Russian ballet company. Their illustrious history and relentless dedication to the art of ballet only befitted the best, and I squeezed into my new black shift dress, ate little to not look bloated, and applied good makeup. As if the opportunity itself could not have been more wonderful, our seats, right in the centre of Circle 1, was perfect. I thoroughly enjoyed the performance and was memorized with Ekaterina Shipulina’s, as Odette-Odile, every move. The way she glided across the stage, the way she arched her back and outstretched her lithe arms that curved ever so slightly to resemble the wings of a swan. She commanded the stage and I was more than happy to obey her. Ruslan Skvortov was similarly a joy to watch. For the most part, he was a cheerful Prince, and from his first appearance where he leaped across the stage, it was a delight to watch. The coordination and stylistic costumes completed the hauntingly beautiful performance. I am so glad to have put down my books for this rare opportunity to witness so many forms of beauty in one night.
A morning in Bondi Beach turned out to be the highlight of my holiday. I nearly did not make this trip but a friend said it was an experience, and to go extra early (at 6am) to watch the surfers catch the waves. Never one to resist hot surfers, I got up at 6 and just before 7 arrived in Bondi Junction in my jogging gear. It was a bitter cold morning and the shores were quiet. Out in the distance were black dots of surfers owning the waves so no surfers prancing around the Beach for me (haha!). Breakfast was a Mocha, Health Nut Bikkie and a Sunrise at Chapter One Cafe followed by a three hour exercise consisting of the mandatory jog along the Bondi-Cooggee track and back, a dip in the public pool (yes, in my jogging gear), and pug interruptions. Along the way, I met a trio of nannies in the pool who were so concerned over my wet jogging gear. Out in the distance of the horizonless sea were whales sprouting out water. Life was at its perfection.
Slowly but surely, I am writing about this life-changing trip of mine. This year in July, I went to Sydney and Melbourne alone for eight days. I do not remember what possessed me to go on a holiday by myself but I remembered in the months leading up to this holiday, I google-d extensively the two cities. I wanted to fill up every second of my time for fear of loneliness setting in. And after extensive “research”, there were several places and restaurants I knew I had to visit and eat; Eveleigh Farmers Market, Bondi Beach, Newtown, Alexandria, Blackpool Bar and Grill for steak, Bourke Street Bakery for pastries, and Momofuku Seiobo for my first fine dining experience. I did it all.
Eveleigh Farmer’s Market is located in Redfern and opens only on Saturday mornings. I arrived in Sydney on a Saturday at 8am and without losing anytime, I went straight to the Market from the airport – without dropping off my luggage in the Hostel. That was how eager I was. Sydney could not have welcomed me any more warmly. Cloudless blue skies, it may have been Winter but the air was perfectly crisp and slightly warm (or maybe because I was in a knit sweater and dashing about.)
I realised little has been written about this simple, no-frills eatery that serves up good and reliable tze-char food. I have eaten here thrice in the last two weeks, and twice I was blown away by the “wok hei” mee goreng-style noodles for $4.50. This place offers mee goreng in three types of noodles; vermicelli, kway tiao and the usual yellow mee. I had kway tiao the first time as I was feeling adventurous, and I requested for extra spicy. There was only one word to describe it: shiok! The dish was placed in front of me and I felt a little intimidated as it was fiery red and there were discernible pieces of red chilli padi. Present were also generous amount of seafood, bean sprouts, tomatoes, egg and thick slices of onions that were still crunchy. To increase the shiok factor, I added in their homemade chilli for a greater kick (is it sambal? I don’t think so but it is very spicy and fragrant.) The third time I ordered the usual mee goreng and I was sad to finish it because it was so delicious. My next agenda will be their sambal fried rice.
Happy Saturday! Once a month, a group of friends (comprising of four sets of couples, two sisters, and me) come together for a cookout with the basic and only rule being that everyone must contribute to either a dish or drink. Freeloaders are not welcome. This cookout was created from a common love for cooking, eating, and sharing. This November session was our sixth and our cookouts just keep getting bigger, stronger and tastier. Throughout the months, over a Whatsapp group (simply named Monthly Cookout), we all developed a natural filter system whereby our choices of dish will be fitted around each other so that there is no danger of overdosing. Inevitably there will always be some who will get inspired and cook an elaborate exotic cuisine while some would be too busy from a week of work and just put together some store-bought food – that’s fine too. The atmosphere of these events are almost indescribable. To begin with, it’s wonderful, always. An unabashed mix of harmony, relaxation, and quality chatter consisting of laughter and good gossip. Every event, there is always a star dish; a dish that we all incessantly harp about even during future cookouts. This event, it was Marcus’s Roast Beef. Perfectly medium rare, uber-peppery sauce to accompany and roasted vegetables from the beef drippings.