Sunday, September 23, 2012

Huxtable - Excellent Fusion Food

It's not often fusion food works, especially Asian fusion food. However, Huxtable is one of those places that makes it work, brilliantly. Owner and head chef, Daniel Wilson, creates a fine balance between the Asian flavours and using them to enhance dishes rather than just use them because he can.

I heard, or more accurately, saw photos of the food at Huxtable through Instagram. A quick Google search showed heaps of blog reviews, all raving about how good the food is. I quickly made a booking for dinner after browsing the sharing options menu to look for dishes I would like. I knew the Korean Pork Ribs were a must order.

The restaurant is a very tiny space, utilising all of it to sit as many customers as possible while still maintaining a level of comfort. I like the assorted table arrangements and felt a good vibe there. The open kitchen makes for interesting viewing, and you can even catch the man himself, Daniel, happily posing for a photo should you aim your camera in his direction, such as I did.

To start the meal, I ordered the XO Crab Buns, Tom Yam School Prawns and Crisp Filo Lamb Logs. The lamb logs were good, with a crispy exterior while not being too dry inside. The crab buns were excellent, with the soft buns complemented by the zingy crab filling. Lastly, the school prawns were so moreish that you can't stop going back for more.

Next up, on the 'To Share' options, I ordered the Chicken Liver Parfait with Rillettes and Salami, Sweetcorn and Black Bean Salad, the famous Korean Pork Ribs and a Wagyu Green Curry. For me, the liver parfait dish was probably the dish I liked least of the night, and I had thought it would be the dish I would like most. While the items were quite nice, they didn't really excite me much. Instead, the sweetcorn salad was really exciting, with chipotle and lime creme fraiche really making it rich and spicy. It does get a bit heavy by the end when the creme fraiche starts to really kick in. Definitely a dish to share amongst a few people. The wagyu curry was more of a dry style curry, but the addition of the other elements helped to make it less dry. It was a good solid dish. And lastly, the Korean ribs are out of this world amazing. They're quite spicy, so watch out if you can't handle hot food. Served with a spicy slaw and chili gherkin, this was a fantastic dish that I want again and again.

Despite being extremely full by this stage, I forced everyone to eat desserts still. It is the best part of every meal. The Dark Chocolate and Peanut Delice with salted caramel and chocolate sorbet was an excellent dessert. So rich and beautiful. You can't go too wrong with salted caramel, and paired with chocolate, it's a deadly combination. The final dessert we had was the Rhubarb Jam Doughnuts with orange blossom custard and yoghurt sorbet. This was such a great dessert. The rhubarb worked so well with the custard and I couldn't stop eating them.

The service was really friendly and professional. I liked how the waitress help recommend the amount of food as it's really hard to judge how big serving sizes are with a lot of the sharing options at modern restaurants now. She helped cull back some of my enthusiasm or else we would have had far too much food, which is such a waste and I hate that. The ambiance was really good, with the small room buzzing from happy people. I really loved the food and the flavours were very exciting. I'm definitely going back for more and would recommend you go as well.

Overall Rating: 16/20, Exciting fusion food in a comfortable setting.

Scores: 1-9: Unacceptable, don't bother. 10-11: Just OK,some shortcomings. 12: Fair. 13: Getting there. 14: Recommended. 15: Good. 16: Really good. 17: Truly excellent. 18: An outstanding experience. 19-20:Approaching perfection, Victoria's best.

Huxtable on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Giveaway - Nespresso U Coffee Machine and Crealto Pack

You may know that I'm a tea lover, but I occasionally enjoy a good coffee. I really like drinking coffee when I'm in an excellent mood. I don't know why that is. I think it may be the smell of a beautiful cup of coffee as it's so enticing. Making a real coffee can be quite difficult to get right and expensive. Nespresso have bridged that gap between professionally made coffee and instant coffee with their range of machines that use coffee capsules. I think the coffee from those machines are of a good quality, especially for the simplicity of the process.

Nespresso have just released their latest capsule flavour, called Crealto. This new blend is made from Arabica coffee beans and the long roasting time enables the flavours to develop and last a long time. Crealto is best served as an espresso with it's nutty aromas and rates an 8 on the Nespresso 1-10 scale of coffee intensity.

To celebrate the release of the Crealto coffee, I've been asked to give away a Crealto Pack, which contains everything you'll need to create some awesome drinks. To sweeten the giveaway even more, Nespresso are also giving away a Nespresso U Machine.


Wow, what an amazing lot of entries. So many wonderful recipes to try with coffee. Thank you all for entering and after a lot of reviews and re-reviews, I've finally decided on a winner.

Firstly some honourable mentions to Kimberley, Tashanny and Tracey for their innovative uses of coffee as potpourri, a face scrub, and my favourite, a cellulite rub. Honourable mentions also go to Annabelle and Abby, who chose to describe the joys of coffee through wonderful poems. Some really strange and delicious sounding uses for coffee in food came from Marina (coffee creme brulee), Yasmin (sweet chicken marinate), Jade (risotto), Joshua (his quest for a perfect coffee souffle) and Jenly (pork crackling). Anna P and Tracey gave some great coffee ideas for sprucing up a Tim Tam.

However, the two entries that stood out for me were by Karlene (iced coffee) and Jay (chicken thighs) because the coffee was part of the experience. They both transported me to the moment where the coffee was part of an absolutely enjoyable experience and I could imagine myself in their position. While I loved Karlene's simple summer afternoon with an iced coffee, it was Jay's mouth watering Mexican meal complete with lychee caipirinha's that won out for me in the end. So congratulations Jay, you are the winner of a new Nespresso U Coffee Machine and Crealto CoffeePack.
You will win
1 x Nespresso U Machine
1 x Crealto Pack


Leave a comment telling me your best coffee creations, using coffee in either a drink or in some other recipe. The entry judged most creative by myself will be picked as the winner.

Make sure there is a way for me to contact you. If I can't get in contact with you within two days, I will redraw the prize.

Conditions of Entry
- One entry per person.
- The prize will only be delivered within Australia. If you are an overseas reader, you can still enter but you will need to send your prize to an Australian address.
- Competition closes Wednesday September 5th 8pm AEST. The winner will be announced on the following day and published on this same post.
- I will contact the winner directly.