Friday, November 28, 2014

Shinwa Izakaya

RNIS was invited to try this place so did not have to pay.

Shinwa Izakaya is a new Japanese pub in Brunswick near RMIT City campus. It is a small place that replaced Iku and the owner said that he wants to have another bigger store in Thomastown which can seat up to 250.

The owner, Jack Lo is Australian but a couple of the chefs used to work for Nobu and other fine dining places. So you can expect high quality food such as sushi and sashimi and their speciality of yakitori. Many of the dishes are vegetarian and vegan to cater for all the vegans in the area. Everything is moderately priced to cater for the student clientele.

The owner knows his clientele well. They also support the local community and projects like the International Couch. Very soon they will have gift vouchers.

First up was complimentary edaname and green tea. This was a nice touch as many Japanese places expect you to pay. Then it was homemade miso soup.

After that it was their speciality 63C egg salad and lovely acidic dressings which were citrusy.

Next up Kingfish caparchio which was fresh and executed well.

Then the yakko tofu which was also executed well and the ginger was grated. Something that you don't see in Japanese places

 Then it was their egg roll which is another one of their speciality.
Egg roll
Grilled fish

Grilled fish pieces

Next up was the grilled fish yakitori, cooked to perfection.

Last was the sushi which was also executed well. By then I was too full

Many thanks to Jack for the invite and do check this place out yourself as many others did
Shinwa Izakaya - Japanese Bar & Restaurant on Urbanspoon

AJA- A journey to Asia

RNIS was invited to try the place by Dimmi and did not have to pay

AJA is in Albert Park and they are a fine dining place. It is on the number 1 tram route from the city. They have been around for a few years as they had featured in a lot of the Entertainment books in Melbourne. But surprising only Fatboo had reviewed it. I was expecting other bloggers to review it.

They only open for dinner and for weekday lunches.

They have a few different dishes from different countries such as China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thai etc. 

The bathrooms are up a flight of stairs and inside it was cosy and clean.

The atmosphere was great. I loved the Buddha statues in there. There was one other couple in there that ordered wine and food.

The service was very slow when they weren't so busy. The serves of the food were small for the price paid.

The first course was the vegetarian rice paper rolls ($10 for 2). I liked the unusual way that this is served with the lettuce leaf sticking out. It shows that they are really trying to be healthy. I loved the peanut sauce and the spicy chilli sauce.

The second course which was small was the No nonsense noodles ($20.80). It was little bit sweetish and no it was not from the Siracha sauce which was handed to me. With this dish I was expecting some rice noodles and tofu in there for that price.

But still the vegetables were perfect. The noodles too was soft and slippery.

Would I go out of my way to come back? The answer is no unless someone else is paying for me. For the other bloggers feel free to review them.
AJA - A Journey to Asia on Urbanspoon

Acer notebook and Windows 8

 Just recently RNIS got the latest Acer notebook and so they put it to the test in time for the Christmas holidays.

This notebook is super slim and heavy to carry to class but it is easy to use at home as it is touch screen.

There isn't a whole lot of instruction, you'll get that online when you sign in with your Microsoft account. You'll also get your downloads from there.

You can do everything on this little baby. Windows 8.1 was easy to download but there were a few teething problems to begin with. It is a touch screen computer but you can also use the mouse if you wanted to. For me I found that quite difficult to switch over from a desktop straight to a laptop. For me I also found that switching the arrow mode (touch screen to mouse) was difficult.

The graphics and sound was good. There is limited games and no YouTube app but you can download them from the Microsoft store. I tried the free games that came with the laptop and yeah it was pretty good. There is no flash player but you can download it too.

The camera app has very bad image quality. It was blurry to begin with and it was really hard to know when to push the button to capture the moment. But its' great for when you want to Skype.

There is a calendar function and its a great way to remind you as to when your assignments are due. It also reminds you of when you have an appointment with someone. It's very easy to use and it saves your appointments in your Microsoft account

The internet is great you can open several pages at once. But you do need WI-FI and you can use your uni's free WI-FI. But you can also use Broadband. And it is also secure 128 bit. There is a private browsing tab within Internet explorer but you still need to have anti viral software.

The gaming side of it was really good. Here you can select from a multitude of games online and there are games to suit everyone.

Some new apps on Windows 8.1 are Zinnea a magazine app, another gaming app with free games among other things such as One note.

You can buy the laptop from the Microsoft store or at your local computer store.

Raw Trader

As part of Bupa's best blog competition for 2015

Raw Trader is a relatively new place in the city in a little hidden laneway called Sutherland st. It seems that there are always new places in and around the CBD that are always opening.

Raw Trader is a health food place that specialises in making raw desserts. They also do almond milk and they make a fresh batch every Wednesday and Saturday. They also do green smoothies.

It is a tiny place so you might not notice it at first. They do have some seating and at 11am they weren't busy. Moreover there was a lot of noise from the construction site outside.

The lady that served us was down to earth and she was really friendly.

Note they don't take EFTPOS for purchases under $15

The latte ($4) was just ok. But I have never really tried almond in a latte before so I can't comment too much on this. But what I will say though it was strong. At least the almond milk didn't contain some of that creaminess (and fattiness) that real full cream milk does. I feel a lot healthier.

But I did love was my cake ($7 for a slice). I can have cake on any day that I want. It was flourless and made with cashew milk. It was a raw vegan, strawberry and cream cake. It did have the nuttiness from the cashews and the almonds and was not too sweet. I really enjoyed the healthy cake.

My friend bought a raw vegan bar to take away. She really enjoyed her little treat.

Rating: 14/20- loved that healthy cake and healthy latte
Do come and see what all the fuss is about with the Raw Trader and don't mind the noise outside.
Raw Trader on Urbanspoon

Melbourne Thai Cafe via Menulog

Melbourne Thai café has been around for a long time and has been in North Melbourne. I had bought takeaway on Menulog.

Here I had pad Thai which was small but moreish and the boy enjoyed his. We also shared the fish cakes which were yum and not too oily. It was only $27 (not including the $5 delivery).

The vegetarian one had lots and lots of veg in there. The noodles were great as well.

I can't wait to try their cafe. The service was speedy and I booked a few days ahead as I read that their service is incredibly slow.

Melbourne Thai Cafe on Urbanspoon

The Night Noodle Market

The Night Noodle Market returned this year and it was a big hit for all. This was at Birrang Marr and RNIS came early. The market attract 1000's of people and it had three levels and 50 food stalls. This year it had plenty of seating in the Tanerquay and other little pop up bars as well as the Harvey Norman place. It had a lot of things to suit every taste and budget. Here's where we went.
Tanerquay bar

Colourful bar

Love the sign

A crowd

Another beer garden

Chin Chin

Here I had the popcorn which was $5. It was small but moreish and I enjoyed the chilli flavour to this. Chin Chin really outdid themselves with this dish.

Chin Chin on Urbanspoon
Lets do Yum Cha
This stall was packed full of people as their 5 for $10 dumplings was very popular. Here I bought the prawn and chives and the vegetarian dumplings. Both were cooked to perfection and I liked it very much without the sauce. The prawns were succulent and the wrappers were so translucent that it stuck to the plate.

The siu mai also seemed to be very popular.

Let's Do Yum Cha on Urbanspoon

Izakaya Den
I had hoped for their fried corn fritters but got their Sashimi Don instead. It was a huge bowl for $12 and the sashimi was very fresh. This place had a lot of people queuing for their chicken karrage which seemed to be a big hit.

Don't miss out on this event which comes every year.

Izakaya Den on Urbanspoon

Saturday, November 22, 2014


RNIS did not have to pay for their mains and drinks as it was part of the Good Food Month at Southgate which they were invited by Fuller PR.
As part of Good Food Month

Artusi is a Italian restaurant in the heart of Southgate shopping centre. About 10 other bloggers loved it for its relaxed, lovely service.

Here the atmosphere was rather calm and the lady that dealt with us forgot that we had a booking. Luckily though one of us had the email to show them.

The good food main we will talk about in the other post. This one is just about the entrée that we had as well as the free bread. We weren't offered them by the restaurant but we sampled an Italian bread called Tagelle which can be filled or unfilled, octopus caparcchio which just made me go wow and the wood mushrooms with the cheese on top.
Bread (left), wood baked mushrooms (middle) and octopus (right)

All of it took time to make but it was very worthwhile and its better to have a long lunch here rather than an express.

The octopus was rather salty. In fact it was a little too salty for my liking as this overpowered the flavours of the octopus. I could taste the freshness of this.

The bread was freshly baked and it was just gorgeous as plain bread which complimented the octopus and the mushrooms well. The mushrooms were fresh and I loved the cheese on top.

To find out more about the mains that we were offered click here.

Artusi on Urbanspoon


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