Sunday, 27 July 2014

Shizuku Ramen

Address: 309 Victoria St, Abbottsford, Vic, 3067
Phone: (03) 9995 8180
Facebook: Shizuku Ramen

Have you ever heard of a ramen burger? It's a pretty cool idea - they make the burger buns out of fried ramen! I first heard of the ramen burger from a friend who seen the concept in New York and kept a mental note to myself to go find this unusual burger when I hit the States. But recently I noticed that some restaurants in Melbourne had brought the concept down under...

Last week I was kindly invited by the staff at Shizuku Ramen to come try out their new menu which included...the ramen burger! I was super excited,of course! As was my sister, a lover of all things Japanese, who I brought along with me for this food adventure. We got to Shizuku at 5:30pm - the openning time for their dinner session - and found a cute little restaurant with a lovely display of Japanese drinks and ambient lighting all around.

The staff were very friendly and proactive. They sat us down and provided us with some curried popcorn in the cutest little daisy bowl while they went to get us some tea.

I was pretty dead set on my ramen burger and my sister had decided on a ramen dish when we were offered the option of ordering some entrees. We perused the menu and finally settled on the lobster slider and crab meat croquettes.

My sister and I really liked the lobster slider. The kewpie salad and sweet lobster filling was combined with some crunchy pickled carrots and radishes, which offset its richness and made it a creamy and refreshing snack. All this was wedged between briche-y bun goodness, making it a delicious combination.

The croquettes were filled with creamy, thick crab chowder, with little golden corn kennels tucked within. They were lightly crumbed and given an additional flavour punch with the sweet plum sauce. I probably should have ripped one in half and captured the way they looked with crab chowder on the inside, but I was
slightly afraid that it would drop on my ramen burger. That's right, my ramen burger and my sister's ramen dish had arrived pretty much at the same time. Pretty efficient service!

I tried the gyoza from my sister's bowl, but not much else as my sister was pretty ravenous. There's honestly nothing like freshly cooked gyoza when you're hungry. These ones were some of the nicest gyozas I've had in awhile. The silky dumpling skins were wrapped around a lot of ginger and mince. My sister also loved the soft, gooey yolk of her boiled egg. But I've saved the most exciting dish of the night for last. I've even labelled it all for you...

I actually took awhile figuring how to eat my ramen burger at first because it was pretty big! I wonder if the waiters saw me awkwardly tackling this - I tried chopsticking and spooning it apart and ended up with mayo everywhere. Then my sister said, why don't you just lift it up with the wrapper? It's great to have a sister with common sense. So that's what I ended up doing.

It was soooo good. The pork belly was sticky, sweet and tender - not too fatty or lean. It pretty much came apart in a bite and melted in my mouth. The pickled salad and mayo was also pretty refreshing. As for the ramen buns? Unusual - like my noodles had turned into one massive pancake! It was a little bit too gummy for my teeth (I have to be careful due to dental work :/), but it was a fun experience. Once the burger sauce seeped into the patties it broke them apart, so it turned into a more conventional noodle eating experience. Well, sort of, as I was still eating it from the wrapper! Overall, I was pretty pleased with the burger, especially with its candied pork belly.

All in all, my sister and I had an enjoyable night at Shizuku Ramen. Totally wished I could have tried their pudding desserts, but we were so full by the time we'd finished! I'd like to go back one day to try out their other dishes. In terms of service, there were a few small order mix-ups due to there being so many tables of twos, perhaps a little too close together. But the waiter who first served us was really friendly. He made us feel quite comfortable, so I'd say you're in good hands if you guys are looking for some tasty Japanese food in Abbottsford!

Disclaimer: My sister, A, and I were invited to dine as guests of Shizuku Ramen. This blog post reflects my honest experiences and opinions at the time of my visit. Please note that I am a blogger who has eaten a lot and enjoys food photography, not a professional critic for any particular media or institution.


Service: 8/10
Ambience: 7.5/10
Food: 17/20

Is it worth visiting? Yes! A modern twist on Japanese cuisine.
Price range: $$ (You're looking at $5-20 for entrees and about $15-$20 for mains)

Shizuku Ramen on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Magnum Pleasure Store

Sorry for the looong hiatus! It's been a hectic year so far - I've been studying, interning, working and volunteering, which has taken up all my time. But I'm going to make time for food, brunch and blogging again! I'm working out a system to fit everything in and looking for foodie friends to hang with me (I'm in an odd situation where most of my friends are either not foodies or not in Melbourne. It's v. sad :( If you'd like to make friends with a lonely foodie, please contact me!)

Despite my lack of food adventures of late, I've been hanging around the Magnum Pleasure Store at the Myer Emporium. It's a pop-up shop that makes customised magnum ice-creams. You choose your ice-cream flavour, what chocolate you want to dip it in and then top it up with 3-4 toppings and decide what chocolate you want to drizzle over it. It's already been to many cities across the world including Rome, Paris, Shanghai and Sydney...but we finally have it in Melbourne until the 10th of August, 2014!

Have you guys been yet? I'm going to admit sheepishly that I've been a few times already because my sister wanted to go after I'd already been. Here's what we created...

This pretty dark chocolate one was my sister's. She loves pistachios and dark chocolate, but her design was inspired by a design made by some guy before us in the queue who had many admiring gazes due to the nice colour palette of his Magnum. I opted for white chocolate and went crazy with toppings cause I couldn't make a decision and wanted to try everything! But here's what I ended up with:

It was an explosion of tangy blueberry chips, crunchy pistachio pieces and fragrant roses. Rich and chocolately, sweet and tangy, crunchy with lots of melt-in-your-mouth chocolate and cool vanilla ice-cream. So Delicious. So. Much. Joy. No wonder they call it a Pleasure store.

Anyway, as I mentioned before, I'd been to the Magnum pop-up shop once before I went with my sister. It was the second time that I'd visited the Emporium and I'd just taken the lift up when I found the store. So of course I had to try it! This was my first pick - a mass of milk chocolate, honeycomb chips, coconut, rose petals and vanilla crumble. I liked this combination - sweet and super crunchy with honeycomb and vanilla everywhere! The large coconut flakes and chocolate also reminded me of a Bounty bar (which is one of my favourites).

Each ice-cream costs $8 to design and the staff take you through the options. There's all sorts of cool toppings  - including dried pineapple, salted pretzels and roasted almonds.

The store is pretty easy to find if you enter into the Emporium from Lonsdale Street - just take the esculator up and you'll find it there waiting for you... But be prepared to queue if you visit after work or on the weekends. The line seems to be getting longer these days. But maybe it's because the clock is mentioned before, it's only on until the 10th of August!