CJ Lunchbar situated on the corner of Little Lonsdale St and Hardware St is a popular little eat out for those wanting a taste of Korea. CJ Lunchbar doesn’t just open for lunch like its name suggests, so you can get your Korean fix for dinner as well. What’s great about this place is that the food is good, very good and the servings are generous and value for money and their menu offers bento boxes, rice dishes, and a wide selection of hotplate and soup dishes to choose from.
Their Stonepot Bibimbap has all the ingredients for a tasty Bibimbap but it doesn’t come with the chilli paste that you’d often find provided with other Korean restaurants. Sometimes you find that the Bibimbap can be very bland, but fortunately this isn’t the case here.
One of their popular items is the Cheese Chicken Bulgogi, one night I saw like the majority of tables order it. It’s a little bit spicy, but the combination of melted cheese and marinated chicken on a hotplate is one of the best dishes you’d find around. So good.
CJ Lunchbar won’t win awards for being a relaxing dining experience, the tables are small and service is so-so but the food here is worth it.
Shop 2/391 Little Lonsdale Street (entrance on Hardware Street)
Melbourne VIC 3000
I love making desserts that aren’t traditional and pairing Asian flavours with Western desserts. I really wanted to try infusing tea flavours into a Portuguese Egg Tart and couldn’t find any recipes on how to do it. So I had to think on how I would normally infuse a milk mixture with tea. Found a nice Portuguese Egg Tart recipe from Not Quite Nigella that I tweaked a bit with the addition of the jasmine tea. The end result was quite good, the Jasmine Tea flavour is subtle yet distinct as Jasmine Tea can be quite intense and overpowering but here it worked really well actually!
Jasmine Tea Portuguese Egg Tarts (adapted from Not Quite Nigella)
Makes: 12 Tarts
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 40 minutes
Passive Time: 2-3 hours
2 Egg Yolks
100g Caster Sugar
2 tbsp Cornflour
400ml Full Cream Milk
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Sheet Ready Rolled Puff Pastry (300g)
1 tsp Jasmine Tea Leaves
20ml Hot/Boiling Water
1. In a heatproof cup or bowl, pour in the hot/boiling water and then add in the jasmine tea leaves to steep for around 10 minutes.
2. Combine the milk and jasmine mixture in a saucespan and heat over medium heat and bring to the boil. Turn off the heat, cover the saucespan and allow the mixture to cool and steep further for around 20 minutes.
3. Place the eggs, egg yolks, sugar and sifted cornflour into a medium sized bowl and whisk together until smooth.
4. Strain the jasmine milk mixture and using a spoon to press against the tea leaves to extract more flavour from the leaves.
5. Gradually add in the milk mixture to the egg mixture and whisk until smooth.
6. Pour the mixture in a saucespan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally so that the the bottom of the mixture doesn’t overcook, until the mixture thickens and comes to the boil. Do not over stir as that can cause the custard to split. Remove from the heat.
7. Add in the vanilla extract and stir until combined. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and cover the surface of the custard with cling wrap as a skin will form if this is not done. Leave to cool.
8. Grease a 12-hole 80ml muffin tray and preheat the oven to 200°C.
9. Cut the pastry sheet in half, and the place one half of the sheet on top of the other and set aside for 5 minutes.
10. Roll the pastry tightly from the short end and then cut into 12 equal pieces.
11. Lightly flour the surface and roll out each until each is 10cm in diameter and then place the pastry sheets into the greased muffin tray.
12. Remove the cling wrap from the cooled custard and spoon the mixture into the pastry tarts.
13. Place the muffin tray into the oven for around 20 to 25 minutes or until the pastry and custard are golden. Leave the tarts in the tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Located in Chinatown, Crystal Jade is a popular eatery for Chinese cuisine. They offer Yum Cha (Dim Sum) for brunch/lunch and your typical Chinese cuisine for dinner and of course seafood amongst many of their dishes. Bookings are essential for weekend Yum Cha but luckily they have two sessions available.
We had Yum Cha at Crystal Jade based on reviews on Zomato, and pretty much picked all our usual dishes to compare it against other Yum Cha places we have frequented.
The Chee Cheong Fun (Rice Noodles with Prawns) at Crystal Jade was decent, it was lacking in a lot of flavour in the filling, and you kinda needed chilli sauce to add some punch to it.
Not being of Cantonese background, I don’t actually know the name of this one but it was like this prawn dim sum, that also needed some extra seasoning, even a bit of salt to enhance the flavours would be good.
The Century Egg Congee (Rice Porridge) on the other hand was great! I love the crispy things they added on top with the fresh spring onions. Great Century Egg flavour, and just how I like it.
The Har Gow (Shrimp Dumplings) was actually again a bit bland. Goes well with the chilli sauce though which is on the salty side of things, so I guess it balances out. The pastry was also a bit thicker then I’d like.
This particular dim sum was one of their specials at Crystal Jade, so you do pay a premium for it as it is topped with scallops. It had a nice seafood flavour to it but nothing spectacular.
Siu Mai is probably my second favourite dim sum item, seems like you can’t go wrong with making it. Or I just haven’t come across a bad one yet.
Lo Bak Go is my favourite dim sum item, I love this turnip cake and how I know it’s done right is the consistency. Shouldn’t be dense, and shouldn’t be too flour-ry, and with just enough salt, sugar and pepper seasoning and Chinese sausage pieces throughout it. Lastly, it should be crispy outside. At Crystal Jade, it pretty much checks all the boxes apart from the uneven frying which I can overlook because taste-wise it’s pretty good.
We also ordered the Tofu Fa, it’s one of these desserts that you can have warm or cold. The lady that served didn’t do the proportions correctly, as we found it just needed quite a lot more of that sugar syrup otherwise it can be quite bland. We had to request for a small bowl of the syrup to adjust it to our liking, but at least it wasn’t too sweet as you wouldn’t be able to rectify that!
Overall, dining at Crystal Jade doesn’t leave a lasting impression. A few dishes seem to be lacking in flavour, and the other dishes, while are good, aren’t any better than the other places I’ve been to.
154 Little Bourke Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
I have this slight obsession on how many different desserts I could add green tea to. I haven’t come close to what I want to achieve yet, slowly but surely I’ll be finally satisfied! I found this recipe from Anncoo Journal for a lovely green tea (matcha) milk pudding, it isn’t as heavy or rich as a panna cotta would be since it doesn’t use cream and I recommend using full cream milk instead of a low fat option just because it kinda needs that slight richness to it.
Green Tea Pudding (from Anncoo Journal)
Serves: 3-4 people
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Passive Time: at least 2-3 hrs
2 1/2 tsp Green Tea Powder
2 1/4 tsp Gelatin Powder
2 tbsp Water
Cooked Sweet Red Beans (Optional)
1. Add the water to a small bowl, and then add in the gelatin powder and allow it to soak.
2. In a small saucespan, add the milk, sugar and green tea powder and cook under medium heat until almost to the boil.
3. Lower the heat, and then add in the soaked gelatin and mix until the gelatin has completely dissolved then remove from heat.
4. Strain the mixture if necessary and then pour into moulds and allow to cool. Place in the refrigerator to set for a few hours before serving. Optional: Serve with cooked sweet red beans.
Jonker Street in Doncaster is named after a popular street in Malacca, Malaysia which has now taken over the location that Ronz Roti Kaya used to occupy. The menu at Jonker Street is actually quite extensive, they offer an array of noodle and rice dishes, as well as congee which include your Malaysian staples like Nasi Goreng, and Curry Laksa but they also serve mains if you prefer to share dishes and take the opportunity to try a few more dishes at a time.
Not many places can do a good Assam Laksa, it’s usually either it lacks in flavour or their use sardines which often changes the entire flavour of the broth. I found the Assam Laksa here to be lacking in flavour, it tastes slightly watered down which is disappointing. I’d say it’s around 70% of the intensity it should be at.
The Curry Laksa here is surprisingly good, but it isn’t your typical Laksa that you might find in Laksa King or Chef Lagenda that are more creamier. The Laksa tastes like your typical Chicken Curry sauce but as a broth, which has this lovely spiciness to it that it needs.
The Pan Mee here also has the same issues that the Assam Laksa has, which is that the soup base lacks flavour but more so in this case. The Pan Mee broth should have the flavour of pork and dried anchovies, but it really doesn’t have any taste to it at all so I had to add a lot of chilli to give it flavour.
The Teh Tarik isn’t too bad, maybe just a tad too sweet and not pulled enough but overall it’s decent!
The Ice Cendol has the balance of gula melaka syrup and coconut milk all out, it needs a lot more gula melaka.
There isn’t anything that stands out to me at Jonker Street, though the Chicken Laksa is probably one of the better dishes but it seems like they have issues with making their broths more intense in flavour. Maybe their other dishes are better, but at the moment I’m in no hurry to try it again.
84 Jackson Court
Doncaster East VIC 3109
- Jasmine Tea Portuguese Egg Tarts
- Green Tea Pudding
- Bailey's Chocolate Cookie-Muffins
- Green Tea Buns (Rotiboy style)
- Black Sesame Pudding
- Rose Chiffon Cake with Vanilla Buttercream
- Coconut Almond Macaroons
- Matcha Green Tea Cupcakes with Red Bean Buttercream Frosting
- Mini Lemon Meringue Tarts
- Pandan Crepes with Coconut & Glutinous Rice (Kuih Dadar)