7eleven clerk

The 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil matches are going on right now, with up to four (4) matches each night, usually at 12 am, 3 am and 6 am. This sudden change in sleep routines can make a person very hungry, and it’s hard to get something to eat at this hour, especially if all you want is a snack and a drink.

free items umobile

I’m here to tell you that there’s a solution to that problem…and there is such a thing as a free lunch, or a free meal anyway. Umobile is offering a free Revive Isotonic Original 500 ml drink with every RM 30 top up and one Mamee Express Cup Curry Flavour + Revive Isotonic Original 500 ml with a RM 50 top up!

umobile redeem free

I had an RM 50 top up that I just got and I drove to the local 7-Eleven during half time to grab a quick snack and drink. This is a fairly new promo so the night shift there wasn’t really sure about how to go about the redemption.

umobile 7eleven

Here’s how the redemption works:

  1. Get the items and bring it to the counter.
  2. Scan the items
  3. Pass your Umobile top up card over to the cashier
  4. They will scan it and it will offset the charges, making the items FREE

umobile 50

That’s all there is to it! :)

7eleven umobile

It’s a good thing my local 7-Eleven has complimentary hot water so you can cook the Mamee Express Cup on the premises and eat at the provided tables.

hot water

However, I was watching the Japan – Columbia match at home so I decided to quickly grab the instant noodles and isotonic drink and head on home.

7eleven tables

It’s soooo good to eat Mamee Express Cup instant noodles (which has a plastic fork included) and chase that down with a Revive isotonic drink in the middle of the night. All you need to do is to get a RM 30 or RM 50 Umobile top up and you can redeem the items at any 7-Eleven nationwide!

thebestfree

You can also top up your phone so you can chat about the matches with your friends – just keep the Umobile top up card so the barcode can be scanned to provide you with #TheBestFree snacks! It’s so convenient to redeem too, since there’s a 7-Eleven around every corner! This promo lasts till 31st August 2014 – surf over to the Umobile site for more information.

redeem mamee

I’m sitting here happily eating my Mamee Express Cup Curry Flavour noodles while watching Japan get trashed by Columbia, all thanks to the good people at Umobile. I can have a free snack *while* I get a top up which I need anyway.

mamee noodles

The only bad thing in this equation (for Japan fans anyway) is what the friendly neighborhood 7-Eleven guy put best: “Alamak, Colombia masuk satu goal lagi!

affogato

I’m eating the best breakfast I’ve ever had in my entire life with the Sakuma’s and drinking the most delicious affogato on a chilly autumn morning and I’m happier than a pig rolling in the proverbial stuff! smirk

devon cafe surry hills

Devon Cafe is a trendy breakfast spot located at Surry Hills. The shape of the cafe is slightly unusual due to the extensions, and they have parts in the middle where it’s almost al-fresco, except for the camouflage nets thrown over the ceiling in an effort to keep the heat in.

devon sydney

We were seated at the back, where lots of interesting graffiti graces the walls but unfortunately, a member of our party (her first time in Australia) couldn’t really tolerate the cold so we all shifted to a table beside an industrial heater.

chai latte

You can actually see into the courtyard beside the cafe since it’s practically al-fresco, with just netting and fences, which reminds me a lot of the inner-courtyard of Adolf Wagner in Frankfurt. Devon Cafe is listed under Modern Australian in The Good Food guide and they deliver a short and concise but immensely delectable selection of breakfast dishes.

BREAKFAST WITH THE SAKUMA’S (AUD 27)
miso grilled king salmon, smoked eel croquette, 63′ egg, radish petit salid & kewpi mayonaise

breakfast with the sakumas

I asked our very bubbly waitress for a recommendation and she suggested this. I was torn between ordering this or the Eggs Blini and I’m glad I followed her recommendation coz this is one divine dish, as expected from ex-Guillaume chefs.

The delicious 63′ egg shimmered on my plate and it was the perfect combination of runny and soft textures. A proper 63′ egg has the *same* consistency for both the yolk and white and takes at least an hour to prepare. I’ve seen a lot of local breakfast places attempt to do this with an off-the-shelf vacuum sealer and sous vide combo (about RM 2,000 from your friendly neighborhood appliances store) but they’ve all failed miserably compared to experience and skill with a bain-marie.

sous vide salmon

However, the most wonderful component of the dish was the miso grilled salmon. I have never thought it possible for salmon to taste this good. I don’t even like salmon (and won’t eat it unless it came from Devon’s). The salmon here is sweet and grilled to perfection, before being given the sous vide treatment and it practically falls apart when I gently applied pressure with my fork.

It’s salmon perfection on a plate! The miso gives the entire piece of king salmon a strong dose of umami as well, making you want to eat more. I have yet to find a better tasting salmon and our guide (who has a Norwegian boyfriend who cooks fish well) even said this tastes better than his and she’s not one to give compliments to fish lightly. It’s so tender, moist and flavorful it’s amazing!

The crispy smoked eel croquette was so good I could happily eat 3 plates in a single sitting.

LITTLE LOST BREAD (AUD 18.50)
PB&J brioche French toast, warm banana, nutella, jam, peanut butter ice cream with bacon

little lost bread

This is just awesome. There are no other adjectives to describe it – the PB&J is “de-constructed” e.g. the peanut butter is actually an ice cream, and there’s a dollop of jam as well as a very generous smear of Nutella on the plate and piles of bacon on top.

LAMB SANDWICH (AUD 20.50)
slow roasted lamb garlic confit, roasted capsicum, cheddar cheese, spinach with chips

lamb sandwich

This didn’t go down very well, but the chips are good and the aioli dipping sauce is wonderful.

KAYA TOAST (AUD 13.70)
coconut jam, butter, light soy 63′ eggs, brioche toast

kaya toast

It’s not 100% authentic since the coconut jam is actually mixed with butter but they made it even better and I love the sous vide egg.

devons affogato

I also had Devon’s Affogato (AUD 7) – a wonderful concoction where 3 perfect coffee beans are put on top of two scoops of artisan ice cream, a cup of melted chocolate with a shot of Five Senses single-origin espresso on the side. Devon’s Cafe has a barista on staff and they only use Alchemy beans and Five Senses single-origin coffee. It’s sinfully good.

devon cafe owner

We had a change to speak with the owner and it turns out that the husband-and-wife duo is Malaysian and Indonesian, respectively. However, their chefs are all poached from Guillaume Bistro and their barista used to train others at Toby’s Estate (still have an unopened tin of single origin Ghana drinking chocolate in my pantry by them).

devons magic muffin

Devon’s Cafe is also very famous for their muffins and we had one to share. It’s best eaten while hot – this is Devon’s Magic Muffin (AUD 4). Seriously, that’s what it’s called! There’s neither THC/CBD nor psilocybin inside (you should head to Amsterdam for those, I had a really good magic muffin while I was there) but it’s still magically delicious.

devon cafe

I would seriously recommend a trip to Surry Hills to check out trendy Devon’s Cafe if you’re in Sydney and into a modern twist on classic Australian dishes. It’s near the station and located right on Devonshire Street so it’s hard to miss. The breakfast here is to die for.

Devon’s Cafe
76, Devonshire Street,
Surry Hills, New South Wales

Whimsical Gelateria Caffe

Whimsical Gelateria & Caffe at Solaris Dutamas started out as a gelato place before expanding their menu to offer a very interesting combination of gelato with hot dishes. It all sounds very exciting, new and interesting and thus we dropped by over the weekend to check it out and have a late breakfast.

whimsical salad

I actually first heard about this place from Sean (who provides a very up-to-date listing of Klang Valley restaurants) and was intrigued at the unusual menu. It’s molecular gastronomy, in a sense, or rather modernist cuisine. I originally thought it’ll be somewhat gimmicky but I was proven wrong.

whimsical solaris dutamas

They don’t just put gelato into every single dish, they only do it if it makes sense and adds to the experience. I thought that shows remarkable restraint. The dishes with gelato are helpfully marked with an ice-cream symbol and we ordered ALL the unusual ones.

Tomato Basil Salad (RM 20.90)
Cielo Dolci Basil Gelato manifests as cooling dressing on a garden of large Japanese cucumber strips, Romaine lettuce, red + cherry tomatoes, chive & goat cheese, with the complete touch of balsamic reduction.

Tomato Basil Salad

This was the salad that we ordered to share and what dispelled my initial thoughts about gimmicky use of gelato. We had sharing plates and tasted everything and it was amazing! I don’t usually give rave reviews for salad but this one works very well.

The crunchy bits of baguette adds sweetness to the juiciness of the salad, and the balsamic vinegar works well for a touch of acidity but what made the dish magic is the basil gelato – it wasn’t sweet and it wasn’t savory, it just tastes strongly of basil and I was surprised at how well gelato goes with salad to provide a textural contrast and a delightful mouth-feel.

Rise & Shine! (RM 24.50)
Cielo Dolci Beef Bacon Gelato shining upon a bed of pancakes with beef sausage, scrambled eggs & strips of beef bacon. Rounded up with salad on the side.

Rise and Shine

This is pure genius! The classic hot full breakfast with eggs, sausages and (beef) bacon is given a touch of magic with a scoop of beef bacon gelato! I didn’t quite like the usage of beef bacon but that was the only beef I had with the dish. smirk

The beef bacon gelato goes very well with the hot breakfast, which I didn’t expect. I thought it’ll all become a messy gooey mess but it didn’t melt that fast, surprisingly. I ate this by cutting up the bacon, putting some eggs on it and scooping some beef bacon gelato into the eggs before popping it into my mouth. The pancakes soaks up the melted gelato well too!

Duck on the Run! (RM 23.90)
A stack of smoked duck, caramelized onion & poached eggs on waffle & finishes with house hollandaise sauce.

Duck on the Run

We couldn’t find any more hot dishes with gelato so my better half ordered this instead. It’s okay, albeit the pancakes were slightly too thick in comparison to the (admittedly) paltry amount of duck.

Maybe this didn’t come across as interesting with the other contenders with gelato thrown into the mix so I gave it an honest fair try but I simply can’t recommend this dish. My dear couldn’t finish it either so we’ll try the other fare on offer next time.

Cotton Candy Affogato (RM 13)

cotton candy affogato

This is a delightful concoction which rivals the best affogato I had in Sydney about a week ago. It consists of Cielo Dolci Coconut Gelato with gula melaka (palm sugar) which is topped with a nicely spun web of cotton candy!

cotton candy

You pour the shot of espresso into the mix and it’s puzzlingly categorized as a dessert over here (I was asked if I wanted it now or after my meal, at brunch) although it’s served as a standard coffee drink in Australia and Europe.

affogato cotton candy

Nevertheless, it was a great affogato, the second best I’ve had in my life, and that is high praise indeed considering we just came back from France earlier this month and I just came back from Australia a couple of days ago.

gelato flavors

We also had a scoop of Cielo Dolci Bailey’s & Chocolate Gelato (RM 10.90) for dessert.

Cielo Dolci Baileys Chocolate Gelato

I asked for a recommendation and the lady there suggested this flavor. There is a RM 3 surcharge for flavors with alcohol ingredients, which I thought was well worth it. I thought it was very good, as did my dear.

whimsical bill

The service is attentive and good, and there is a current promotion where you get 30% off your bill if you fill in a survey form (which we didn’t get, but we still got the discount). I also strangely got a complimentary Whimsical Lemonade (RM 13) which no one told me about, but which I had asked about since it was so good. The total came up to RM 71.75 for the two of us after the discount, which is quite significant, considering the original price is RM 93.20.

whimsical gelato

Overall, I’ll say this is a great place for brunch on the weekends. It can be a bit full at times though, and besides the one miss on our order, I thought all the hot and salad dishes with gelato was delightful. I’ll like to see them do something with their nasi lemak gelato in a dish someday. Do note that they take cash only so no credit card facilities are available at this place.

whimsical us

It can also be a bit tricky to find if you’re not very familiar with Solaris Dutamas, and there’s no signage up yet, so here’s the address:

Whimsical Lemonade

Whimsical Gelateria & Caffe
D2-G3-05, Solaris Dutamas,
No. 1, Jalan Dutamas 1,
50480 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-64190966

me seafood platter

This is the very first meal I had during my recent trip to New South Wales! We arrived at Sydney in the morning and drove 2 ½ hours to Port Stephens for lunch. I’ve had quite a few seafood platters in Australia and it always has a hot and cold component.

seafood platter cold

I thought I saw a Moreton Bay Bug at the bottom left of the cold platter and I asked about it. The waitress wasn’t sure so she went to ask the cook, who came back with the answer – it’s a Balmain Bug! It’s also another species of slipper lobster and looks a lot like the Moreton Bay Bug but the Eastern Balmain Bug (officially called butterfly fan lobster) is more common around NSW.

fresh oysters

The cold components of the dish are mud crabs, the Balmain bug, plenty of oysters and prawns with a side of salad and fresh fruits. I’ve eaten several seafood platters during my time in Australia and these ingredients are always the same, although sometimes you’ll get a regular lobster as well as the bug.

vues on the bay

The seafood items in this platter are all boiled and shocked in ice water so it’s eaten cold and I’ve always like the style of this execution. The oysters are a little small in this case, but they’re all local and not flown thousands of miles away coz oysters don’t taste good after a long journey. This was at Vues on the Bay, a very playfully named Australian cuisine restaurant right in the middle of town. Yup, this is the hub of Port Stephens with a wonderful view of the pier.

vues view

Interesting fact: Port Stephens only has one (1) traffic light in the entire township and it’s right in front of this restaurant. The residents petitioned very hard against it since they didn’t want any traffic lights in their town. :)

seafood platter hot

This being Australia, the hot component of the seafood platter has plates laden with thick cut chips, like the ones you’ll get at the local fish and chip shop, and calamari (battered and fried squid). I like how modern Australian cuisine don’t do it in ring shapes but either cigar shaped (very nice) or thick curly (like this one).

I love the calamari here, it’s so fresh that you don’t get the off-putting taste of squid and it’s soft and practically dissolves in your mouth the moment you bite into it.

socceroos

Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi!

The 2014 FIFA World Cup is upon us again! :)

olabola football

It’s another month of going to mamaks and watching the games in large projection screens on Astro, sleepy people at the office and lots of fantasy football games and I have been looking forward to this one for four (4) years!

game on

Astro is also integrating a lot of social components into the 2014 Brazil FIFA World Cup this year. They have a portal called Whose side will you take? which has several different things going on all at once. There’s a face-painting app, fantasy football based on the games, fixtures of upcoming matches and more all on the same site so there’s easy access to everything from contests to news!

facepainting

The first one is a drive to show your support for your favorite team by painting your face in their colors! Don’t worry, you don’t actually have to get your face dirty if you’re concerned about that (boo, not a real fan :p) – the wonders of modern technology allows your face to be *virtually* painted!

Just allow the Facebook app access to your profile and you’ll have a cool profile picture to use during the World Cup season!

olabola facepainting

It’s a really cool app too, the way the colors are painted virtually on your profile picture is amazing, it’s really realistic! Best of all, it’s aiming to be the largest face painting drive so you get to be part of history!

fantasy football

There’s also the Ola Bola Fantasy Football where you can pick your dream team and see how you perform during the World Cup season! It can be as complicated or as easy as you want so it satisfies both hard core fantasy football fans and casual gamers.

I found it to be a lot of fun! I want a lot of customization so I chose my own players (you can choose 4 max from each country) but if you just want to get into it, the fantasy football app can automatically choose everything from the players to the team for you!

lucky dip

I suggest using the auto-pick if you’re new to fantasy football.

The best thing about this is that there are prizes to be given away! The best team in the Fantasy Football Olabola Edition will get:

First Prize
RM 5,000 + PlayStation 4 + FIFA 14 game

Second Prize
RM 3,000 + PlayStation 4 + FIFA 14 game

Third Prize
RM 1,000 + PlayStation 4 + FIFA 14 game

prediction

There’s also an app called the Olabola Football Predictor where you can show off your prediction skills in real time during the World Cup! I know people who would love this! If you’re always saying how good you are and how would have predicted the match right down to who got the first goal and the exact score, it’s time to put your mouse where your mouth is and you could win a foosball table!

world cup

I’ll see you all inside Ola Bola! Pick a side for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and come and challenge my uber powerful team if you can! My team is called SixthSeal.

bulgogi brothers

I was fortunate enough to be invited for a tasting session of four (4) new authentic Korean burgers before their launch. I was a bit dubious at first, since the burgers are made by Bulgogi Brothers, who are more renowned for their Korean BBQ than their burgers but I went with an open mind and said mind was blown away!

I’ve been to Korea twice before, the first trip was to Busan for the Pusan International Film Festival and the second to Seoul.

bulgogi brothers burger

Bulgogi Brothers are the first restaurant in Malaysia to successfully reproduce the taste of Korean dishes in a burger. You’ll know you’re not eating a regular burger from the use of authentic Korean flavors. I sampled all four of them and I’ll be back with my better half in tow to make use of my own discount code (more on that later) today!

bulgogi brothers promo

The new Korean burgers are all made with premium Korean beef bulgogi and they’re wonderfully creative:

Bibimbap Burger (RM 25.90)

Bibimbap Burger

Bibimbap is a dish that uses rice and other ingredients mixed together in a stone pot with a raw egg to make a quick and tasty meal. It’s probably one of the most popular dishes in Korea. Eating this burger is like eating bibimbap, without the rice.

It’s made up of a huge home-made beef bulgogi patty (90% meat and 10% beef fat for a delicious and moist burger) topped with sprouts, carrots, zucchinis and a sunny side up egg to get all the flavors of bibimbap into a burger. It doesn’t quite look like bibimbap but it tastes spot on!

I really liked how everything meshes together, and the sunny side up egg is perfectly done to emulate just how the egg would turn out in a bibimbap. The charcoal buns are specially crafted for Bulgogi Brothers and biting into this stack was one of the greatest pleasures I had that night, with the runny yolk coating each mouthful richly.

Kimchi Burger (RM 22.90)

Kimchi Burger

I’ve never quite liked kimchi. I can’t put my finger on it but it’s just not something I’ll eat regularly. I don’t usually even touch the complimentary kimchi when I eat Korean. However, I ate some of the kimchi at Bulgogi Brothers and I can honestly say that it was the best kimchi I ever had. The balance of the kimchi was perfect – the spiciness, the acidity and the umami finish.

The Kimchi Burger comes with the hand-made beef patty with mushrooms and lightly sautéed kimchi. It was moderately spicy and despite my aversion to kimchi, I found that I liked it quite a bit and this turned out to be my second favorite burger.

I particularly liked how well the kimchi goes together with the burger, making it a lot more than the sum of its parts. All their burgers are served with a side of crispy home-made sweet potato chips, which goes very well with the spicy kimchi burger as a sweet component.

Spicy Gwangyang Burger (RM 25.90)

Spicy Gwangyang Burger

This is a fiery burger for all fans of spicy food! The Spicy Gwangyang Burger is made of tender sliced beef brisket drenched in the Bulgogi Brothers sweet-and-spicy barbecue-like Osam sauce. It’s garnished with button mushrooms and onions, along with slivers of melted American cheese and comes off tasting like a Korean version of a Sloppy Joe.

I highly recommend this burger if you can take the heat. It’s painfully delicious and yet the osam sauce provides a sweet component so it’s not all spice. I like the selection of the brisket for the burger too, as it’s a very flavorful cut. If you’re only going to eat one burger, I’ll suggest this – you’ll definitely want more once you’ve taken a bite!

I could eat this every day for a month and be a happy man! :)

Unyang Burger (RM 28.90)

Unyang Burger

The burger for meat-lovers (get your mind out of the gutter), it’s a heavyweight offering with a thick home-made beef patty layered with American cheese, beef brisket in savory sauce and crispy shredded potato sandwiched in a toasted charcoal bun. The beef patties at Bulgogi Brothers are surprisingly juicy and I asked the head chef about it.

It turns out that they’re made with 90% meat and 10% beef fat mixed inside so when the latter melts, the juices are all retained in the patty. The Unyang burger is a very “clean tasting” beef burger that’s perfect for those who’re not into spicy food.

I like the flavor combinations and I ate a whole Unyang Burger and it stuffed me to the point of a near food coma…and I can eat a lot! The burgers are good value for money due to their sheer size, while not compromising on quality.

burger revolution

The Burger Revolution menu is a rather clever idea since you don’t always have the time or the inclination for bulgogi at lunch. It’s a quick burger that stays true to its Korean heritage and I loved the ambiance of Bulgogi Brothers with the K-Pop music playing in the background – you get the authentic experience the moment you step foot inside.

eating burger

You’ll get a 10% discount when you order from the new Burger Revolution menu when you mention my blog too! Just say “SixthSeal” from 16th June – 30th June at any of the Bulgogi Brothers restaurants in Malaysia and you’ll get 10% off your order and get an awesome meal to boot. Let me know which one is your favorite!

I’ll be going with my dear in tow and use my own discount code too. Haha!

Bulgogi Brothers
Paradigm Mall, Kelana Jaya
Pavilion KL
eCurve, Mutiara Damansara
Mid Valley Megamall

Facebook: Bulgogi Brothers Malaysia
Website: http://www.bulgogibros.com.my

sandboarding

Have you ever tried sandboarding? It’s a little like snowboarding except you’re doing it on sand dunes instead of alpine slopes. Also, you don’t have the same control a snowboard gives you since a sandboard is literally a skateboard with all the wheels and lower half removed.

sandboarding dunes

It’s quite fun though since the sand dunes in Port Stephens, Australia is very high. You’ll be surprised since there’s not a lot of shadows and contrast in the desert (it’s actually a beach) so it’s hard to tell distance and height. This sand dune we went down on is easily 30 feet high.

sandboarding port stephens

I hear that some children can actually stand up while sandboarding and do stunts. I don’t know how though since you’re not physically attached to the sandboard (unlike a snowboard, so you can do an Ollie, which is just about the only trick I know). Haha!

Check out the video of me sandboarding! I managed to go the furthest. The only way to control your descent is to use your hands to steer / slow down. You can actually carve the slopes dunes if you’re good enough, but the sandboard itself is pretty basic so you need at least one hand behind you to navigate.

sandboard

…and unlike other places where we actually have to *climb* back up the sand dune to do it again, we were on a quad bike expedition (also known as ATVs in the US) so we had the quads to drive back up the sand dunes (as you can see in one of the photos as I forgot to take the protective cover off my head).

It’s a blast, I’ll love to do it again! :)

“A life lived in fear is a life half lived”

strictly ballroom musical

This is the Australian production of Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroom The Musical, which is based on the classic 1992 film (you’ll know it if you were born in the early 80′s – it was the one of the most famous Australian films of all time, up there with stuff like Crocodile Dundee). The latest production is fairly new – the global premiere was at Sydney Lyric in April 2014 and we caught it a couple of days ago.

strictly ballroom tickets

I didn’t realize I’ve watched the original movie and knew most of the songs by heart so when it was described to me, I thought it sounded like a the love child of a threesome involving West Side Story, Romeo & Juliet and Dirty Dancing.

strictly ballroom merchandise

I’m a huge fan of musicals, and caught a lot of them during my 2010 backpacking trip through Europe, starting with Wicked in West End. I even watched Les Misérables in French!

I did not understand a single word. Okay, that was a bit of an overstatement, maybe I understood 7 but it’s definitely something you can count with your fingers.

strictly ballroom sydney lyric

To be perfectly honest, I thought I was in for a slightly dry Australian play but I was keen to catch a musical here, especially a local one.

strictly ballroom australia

As I settled in my seat and took in the gorgeous period posters and large disco ball on the ceiling of Sydney Lyric, I started to get into the interactive elements where your section of the theater cheers for a particular ballroom dancing competition couple. I won’t spoil it for you, but don’t worry, it’s nowhere near the over-the-top madness of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

strictly ballroom pose

…and then there was the pivotal scene, a familiar snippet of lyric which was done in conversational spoken word, the part where ballroom dancing movements were taught to the Latino main female lead (which arguably is the best scene in the musical)

If you’re lost, and you turn, and you will find me.
If you’re *lost*, and you turn, and you will find me.
If you’re lost, and you turn, and you will find me.
If you’re lost, and you turn, and you WILL find me.
Time after time

The spoken word segued into a beautiful and powerful sotto song from the male lead and I thought to myself “I KNOW THIS SONG!”.

Memories flooded back and I was hooked – all the songs were familiar and I found myself tapping my feet, singing along and wanting to go on the large conga line that formed after the encore with the cast leading members of the public up to the stage.

strictly ballroom stage

It was the best musical I’ve watched in Australia. I wanted to sing, I wanted to tap my feet and I wanted to dance! It made me feel alive and loved every single moment of it!

strictly ballroom props

In that way, Strictly Ballroom lived up to “The story that inspired the world to dance”, at least for me, an a little old lady in her late 60′s, wheelchair bound and breathing oxygen, but clapping her hands happily as the musical went through songs like Love is in the Air, Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps and of course, Time After Time.

strictly ballroom program

I guess if I had one negative thing to say about Strictly Ballroom The Musical, it would be the Coca-Cola advertisements / product placement, which I found to be intrusive and detracts from the entire experience.

…and with that said, let’s move on to:

(let me do the intentional irony smirk first)

smirk

Short mention:

I’m still in New South Wales, having a lot of fun taking photos and videos with my Xperia Z1. I’m staying at Ramada Resort Shoal Bay, which is about 3 hours from Sydney. It’s located in the Port Stephens area and we had a lot of water activities, sandboarding and ATV riding over sand dunes which can be really bad for regular smartphones…

…but not for the waterproof and dust resistant Z1! I did all those activities and just washed my smartphone and it was as good as new! I even took a walkthrough of my wonderful beach facing suite as soon as I got back. Check out the video above, it’s shot in 1080p Full HD. I’m looking forward to the Xperia Z2 coz that has an even higher recording mode – 4K! :)

strictly sydney

I just came back from a night of Vivid Sydney, experiencing lots of interactions, including one that’s inspired by Strictly Ballroom The Musical! It’s called MirrorBall Heart (Installation # 19 – it’s the one with the disco dance floor and a heart with “Strictly Sydney” on it) and it’s just a short walk away from the hotel. Catch up with what I’m doing on my other social media channels:

http://instagram.com/sixthseal
https://twitter.com/sixthseal
https://www.facebook.com/SixthSealcom

Posted: 8:26 am Sydney time (GMT +2)

boathouse

Little Beach Boat House is a quaint little place just beside the bay at Port Stephens. You can hear the waves coming in at night and the wait staff is a duet of twins! The two Aussie girls look so much like each other that I just had to take a photo of them.

waitress aussie twins

The service is attentive and friendly and they had a special of the day, which I ordered. I actually recorded one of the twins reciting the dish in question so I can remember it, and she kindly obliged. Heh. This is one of the best restaurants in town according to Sharon, who dined with us last night.

popcorn

There was popcorn on the table – a growing trend that I’ve noticed in a lot of restaurants, who serve this in lieu of bread. I think it’s great! The dishes has a bit of a modernist twist in them too, with foams, purees and jelly sauce components on most of the dishes.

Entree

Seared Scallops ($19.00)
Cauliflower puree, chorizo, salsa verde, roasted corn

seared-scallops

This is really good! I like how the seared scallops and chorizo pairs up. Wei Zhi and I ordered different entrees and mains so we could try different things on the menu and this is her order.

Beef Cheek & Potato Croquette ($18.00)
W/ pee puree, binnorie feta & black garlic mayo

beef cheek croquette

I was more interested in beef cheek – a cut which is really flavorful if done right and they do it well here. It’s generously mixed into the crispy potato croquette and a nice touch is the black garlic mayo (the fermented garlic we use to make bak kut teh back home).

turkish bread

Toasted Turkish Bread ($10)
W/ balsamic & olive oil, garlic & herb butter, hommous and olive & feta tapenade

Mains

Miso Glazed Salmon ($33.00)
W/ soy roasted sweet potato, cashews, steamed greens and sesame & rice wine dressing

miso glazed salmon

I’m not a huge fan of salmon but according to Sharon (who also watches MasterChef Australia and offered me some) they did everything right in the “checklist” – crispy skin, no bones, juicy inside.

Seared Veal Medallions ($34.00)
W/ Jerusalem artichokes, baby spinach, green beans and parmesan & sage butter

veal medallions

I’ve cooked Jerusalem artichokes before, which is totally different from the globe artichoke. I ordered a Sauvignon Blanc which goes very well with my fish dish but makes the veal tastes rather bitter.

Crispy Skin Barramundi ($39.00)
Saltwater barramundi with roast pumpkin, broccolini, cherry tomatoes, bacon and a pee puree

barramundi

This is my order, the special of the day. I didn’t know it was fried though, since I don’t particularly like grilled fish (any other cooking method is better) but I kept an open mind. I wanted to eat barramundi since Australia is one of two countries where you can find it. I asked the waitress for a wine pairing and she suggested either Sauvignon Blanc or a Riesling but “personally I’ll go for the former”.

sauvignon blanc

I took her advice and it tasted great with the barramundi! The Sauvignon Blanc is very sweet and pairs well with the fish. The skin of the barramundi is crisp and it’s a classic white fish which flakes well but has a stronger taste than other popular white fish like cod and John Dory. The barramundi is excellent when eaten with the sweet and smoky roast pumpkin though!

Boathouse ’3 Pigs’ ($36.00)
Crispy pork belly, pork schnitzel, prosciutto, parmesan, chorizo, corn cob, bacon mayo & apple jam

boathouse 3 pigs

This is probably the restaurant’s flagship dish. It came on a huge wooden platter and has 3 (three) different pork items on it, including a crispy pork belly the size of a small steak! It’s beautiful and the apple jam has been jellyfied, giving it a bit of a modernist twist.

little boat house

The dinner at Little Beach Boat House was great, and the company better – we talked late into the night about everything, and I learned a lot about the Port Stephens area too. Tourism New South Wales and Tourism Australia picked up the bill (thanks Duglass and Sharon) and we all had a bit of fun with the friendly twin waitresses who look so much alike! :)

twin waitresses

I’m still at Port Stephens, heading back to Sydney later! I’ll be here until next week and you can follow what I’m up to on my other social media channels coz I got an AUD 2 per day data plan!

http://instagram.com/sixthseal
https://twitter.com/sixthseal
https://www.facebook.com/SixthSealcom

Posted: 8:53 am Sydney time (GMT +2)

australian 400 work visa

I’ve got my Temporary Work (Subclass 400) Visa from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection of Australia and I’ll be there for about a week! :D

Australia has gone paperless in their visas though, I wish they still issued proper ones. It costs AUD 185 (about RM 555) to get this class of visa. I had a study/work visa when I was in uni – had to apply for it and there’s a limitation of 20 hours per week. It came just like my student visa (like a US 10 year visa or the front page of your passport) – there’s a photo and the description and it fills up the entire page. It’s awesome if you like to collect passport stamps and visa.

I’m flying to Sydney in an hour! I have Internet access so you can follow me and see what I’m up to in New South Wales for my 7 day working holiday! :)

P/S – There’ll be a lot of interesting things for those interested in MasterChef Australia!

http://instagram.com/sixthseal
https://twitter.com/sixthseal
https://www.facebook.com/SixthSealcom

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