MoVida Aqui, Melbourne

Before my trip to Melbourne, I made sure to plan my meals to make the most of my time there. One of the restaurants on my hit list was Movida, and while the majority of my friends went to watch the musical Hairspray, I met up with Phuoc who also happened to be in Melbourne at the time to pig out at Movida Aqui.

Interior

We book a few weeks in advance to make sure we don’t miss out. We’re led inside the restaurant which is warm with wooden tables and chairs, and given a modern funky feel with milk crates overhanging the bar area that have light bulbs trapped inside.

Sangria - $35 per jug

It’s a warm day so for drinks we get a jug of white sangria to share. The sangria has some lovely citrus flavours and definitely serves as a fantastic refresher before we start on the food.

Complimentary bread

The menu is broken up into small plates, grilled items and rice dishes which includes paella. Phuoc is keen to get the paella so we order a few small dishes keeping in mind that we have a big bowl of rice and seafood coming our way. After we place our order, the waitress goes over to a table and cuts up some slices of bread for us. It’s served with a dish of olive oil and is wonderfully soft in the centre. In hindsight, I should have saved some for sauce-dipping later but it is too good to resist and I polish off my share in no time.

Bomba - $4.50 each
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Lemon Meringue Pie

This miserable rainy weather we’ve been having calls for some sunny desserts to be had. And since I had a bundle of sunny yellow lemons to use up, I decided to make some little lemon meringue pies to brighten up the cloudy rainy days.

I’m not usually a fan of sour desserts but lemon meringue pies are the perfect combination with a balance between the tangy and sweet. My perfect lemon meringue pie has a buttery, short pastry with a sour lemon curd and a sweet, fluffy meringue to offset the tartness and this one ticks all the boxes.

The lemon curd and pastry can be made ahead of time but make sure the meringue is made at the last minute to keep it nice and light. To get the lovely golden brown colours on the meringue, grab your trusty blowtorch and burn baby burrrn! Yes, I’ll make any excuse to play with fire hehe but if you don’t have a blowtorch at home, put your pies under a hot grill for a minute or two and that will do the trick as well.

And as a nerdy side note: today is also Pi Approximation Day! What better way to celebrate than with a slice of pie or two? hehehe


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Old Town Kopitiam, Melbourne

Old Town Teh Tarik - $3.50 (cold)

Sometimes all you need is a teh tarik to put you in your happy place.

Ice Lemon Tea - $3.50

We were wandering around the vicinity of our accommodation in Melbourne trying to find a cheap but not-too-dodgy place for dinner that also wasn’t full or booked out. After searching until our stomachs were crying out for food, we stumble upon Old Town Kopitiam in Melbourne’s Chinatown. We ask if they have a table for 8 and soon we’re sitting down sipping on refreshing drinks like teh tarik and ice lemon tea, and all our frustrations dissipate.

Old Town Char Kway Teow - $9.90

The menu is varied with a range of noodle and rice dishes as well as main menu items like bak kut teh, curries and vegetable dishes. There is also a small section of snack-sized dishes including roti canai and kaya toast, and of course Malaysian desserts like ais kacang, cendol and pulut hitam.

Old Town Hainanese Chicken Rice (steamed) - $9.90
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District Dining, Surry Hills

I’ve wanted to eat at District Dining since it opened so naturally I jumped at the chance of being able to have lunch there with my family following my graduation ceremony. I fell in love with Warren Turnbull’s food at Assiette so I was interested to see what he would be able to cook up in the more relaxed, casual setting that is District Dining.

Interior

After the vivid colours of the Mondrian-esque map of Surry Hills that adorns the outside wall of the restaurant, we’re greeted by the warm tones of the wooden chairs and walls in the interior of the restaurant, with shiny mirrors along the sides of the restaurant and gleaming wine glasses on the tables. We sit down and immediately offered water and presented with the menu. The plates are designed for sharing and go from the smaller, snack-size portions at the top to the heartier, richer main-sized portions towards the bottom of the page.

District Chicken wings, chilli caramel - $12

I can’t go pass the chicken wings which arrive in a small bowl with 3 wings and 3 drumettes coated in a sweet sticky caramel-coloured sauce. I find it doesn’t have much chilli heat to it though which is disappointing.

Crispy school prawns, lime mayonnaise - $16
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Ju-Rin, Crows Nest

Spinach with sweet sesame sauce - $6.80

For me, Japanese food is all about finding deliciousness in simplicity. It never fails to impress me when a dish like this simple spinach and sesame sauce is packed with flavours and textures which turn it into something spectacular. It doesn’t look like much but the nutty flavour of the sesame permeates through the dish making it moreish and the perfect appetiser.

Sashimi (entree size) - $18.50

Ju-Rin is one of my favourite Japanese restaurants in Crows Nest and while the prices aren’t particularly cheap, it’s always a treat to go there for a meal. The sashimi is super fresh as always and beautifully presented with thin slices of cucumber and shredded daikon. I especially love the scallop sashimi which is plump and sweet.

Scampi sushi and scampi miso soup - $6.90

Scampi sushi with scampi miso soup is a personal favourite of mine. I can’t get enough of the sweet scampi flesh with the slightest dab of wasabi underneath. And even the head is used to infuse flavour into a bowl of miso soup and is served alongside the scampi sushi.

Ju-Rin special lunch box (tempura, sashimi, and teriyaki chicken) - $19.80
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