Flovie

It usually takes a new cafe a bit of time to find its footing in Melbourne’s ever-saturating brunch scene, however, being the brainchild of Jia Wang, co-owner of White Mojo, and Valerie Wang, florist of White Mojo, Flovie sure had an edge. That is also a double-edged sword in itself though, with great reputation comes great responsibility, and my expectations were high from the moment I set foot into Flovie, especially given the long line of people waiting to be seated outside the cafe.

The interior is one of a kind, with more floral arrangement than your eyes could feast on, and adorable mismatched chairs and tables scattered across the floor. The overall atmosphere was magical and comforting, especially with the incoming colder seasons.

Even the glass is iridescent!!
Snow White – $9.00

After some long and serious pondering, I landed on the Snow White from the four choices of Flovie perfume mocktails. When the drink landed on the table, I knew I had made the decision in choosing the most extra drink in town.

Snow White – $9.00
Snow White – $9.00
Snow White – $9.00

After pouring the butterfly pea and lychee syrup into the glass while trying to get some decent boomerangs for the ‘gram, the end result was something that was light and sweet, and not too overly floral, which was something that I was afraid of.

Soy Flat White (Small) – $4.00

The coffee was on par with Melbourne’s best too, silky and nutty, with a hint of chocolate, this was just what I needed on the drewry morning.

Rose Tea Latte – $7.50

Back on the unique side was the rose tea latte, which was more of a milk tea than a latte in my opinion. Nevertheless, the combination of rose tea, pistachio and coconut milk worked well in unison, and this is a must-order if you’re a fan of rose.

Char Siu Pulled Pork + Eggs Benny – $20.00

Onto the food front we go. We decided to go with one savoury and one sweet option to share, in order to get the best of both worlds. First up was the Eggs Benny, featuring char siu pulled pork, mandarin hollandaise and fried mantou – a Chinese style bun, as the base. The pulled pork was insanely tender and flavoursome, clearly been cooked for hours before being pulled apart. The crunchiness of the fried mantou is something that is not usually found in eggs benny, and I really appreciated the additional texture brought on by it.

Flovie Black Forest Hotcakes – $20.00

Excuse the obscene number of photos coming up, the Black Forest Hotcakes has that effect on you. Not having too much of a sweet tooth myself, I was initially hesitant in ordering the hotcakes, but knowing that this is one of the signature dishes at Flovie, I decided to give it a shot.

Flovie Black Forest Hotcakes – $20.00
Flovie Black Forest Hotcakes – $20.00

Stunning presentation aside, each element on the plate served the dish well, and there was nothing that was placed on the plate simply to make it insta-worthy – a pet peeve of mine.

Flovie Black Forest Hotcakes – $20.00

The stack of hotcakes was nice and fluffy with just enough chocolate flavour coming through, and the cherry compote was so much better than maraschino cherries that are typically found in a black forest cake, the acidity contrasted well with the richness of the smooth chocolate creme anglaise. The quenelle of mascarpone chantilly was thicker in consistency than the heavy cream version, and the slight tang complimented the acidity of the cherries well.

Flovie Black Forest Hotcakes – $20.00

The hotcakes look a bit more destroyed over here, however it is a testament to just how light and fluffy it is. The airiness is what sets hotcakes apart from your regular pancakes, and this stack definitely delivered on that front.

Herb Salt Chips w/ Lime Aioli Yoghurt Dip – $10.00

The obligatory side order of chips was a more-than-generous serving, and the chips were perfectly crunchy with an addictive herb seasoning. If you did find the chips a bit too heavy, the cool yoghurt dip on the side is a sure way to remedy that.

It’s time for the final verdict, is Flovie worth the hype? And the answer is a resounding yes from my visit. Sure, the wait is long, but that is far outweighed by the beautiful interior, unique menu, and well-executed dishes that are not only photo-worthy, but taste amazing too. On top of all that, you can also pick up a fresh bouquet of flowers on your way out, killing two birds with one stone.

How to get here:
Catch any of the Swanston Street trams heading out of the city from Flinders Street Station or Melbourne Central and get off at Queensberry Street/Swanston Street, and the cafe is 5 minutes walk away.

I dined as a guest of Flovie.

Flovie Florist Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Fukuryu Ramen

It’s crazy to think that not that long ago, it was near impossible to get a good bowl of ramen in Melbourne. The situation is definitely a lot loss dire now, with ramen joints popping out all across town. Fukuryu Ramen was, however, one of the first decent restaurants that specialises in ramen, and I was interested to see how it fares against the newcomers some years later.

Red Dragon Ramen – $15.90

Wanting something with some kick, I went for the Red Dragon Ramen, which is said to be the spiciest ramen on offer. The noodles were slightly curly, and had a good bite to it. The soup was indeed, quite spicy, definitely capable of making you sweat as the heat builds up. Besides the spiciness though, the soup base was also full of umami, and quite thick, benefiting from a long and slow simmer of the pork bone broth. The trimmings of chashu were fatty and satisfying, and the egg was also cooked perfectly.

I’m happy to report that Fukuryu Ramen has stood the test of time, and is a reliable place to visit for a good ol’ bowl of ramen, especially now that we’re finally getting some cooler weather!

How to get here:
Fukuryu Ramen is located on Corrs Lane, which is just off Little Bourke Street; a short 7 minutes walk from Melbourne Central.

Fukuryu Ramen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

White Mojo

White Mojo took the Melbourne brunch scene by storm in 2016, having opened two more cafes already, with one extending into dinner service.

We visited its Balwyn location on this occasion, and upon entering into the cafe, the first thing that you will notice is just how spacious it is. With marble and light-coloured wood as its colour palette, the space was airy and sophiscated, down to the fresh flowers that’s placed on every table.

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Iced Matcha Latte – $7.00

I strayed away from coffee because the weather was extremely humid, and chose to cool down with the iced matcha latte. The drink came in a tall glass, and had a good amount of bitterness from the matcha.

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Double Cheese Chilli Scrambled Eggs – $21.50

Although I don’t typically go for scrambled eggs at brunch, this is the award winning dish from White Mojo, and I decided to give it a go. The eggs were scrambled through with parmesan, cheddar and corn, and were placed on top of a slice of smoked belly bacon, smothered with chilli mayo, and all sandwiched between a ink brioche bun.

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Double Cheese Chilli Scrambled Eggs – $21.50

White Mojo placed its own flare onto the traditional breakfast dish, and it was a decadent yet simple affair. The eggs were silky smooth, and the cheese added some more richness, while the corn offered a contrasting texture. The chilli mayo had a kick to it, and the ink bun was not only visually appealing, but added more substance to the dish.

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Wagyu Meatballs – $17.50

The wagyu meatball was another winning dish. The meatballs themselves were so tender, and the tomato sugo that the meatballs were being stewed in had a complex depth of flavour, perfect for dipping in with the toasted bread on the side.

It is clear to see why White Mojo is capable of such a quick expansion.  With a refined and interesting menu that has most items under $20, laid-back atmosphere and professional service, it is a place that guarantees an enjoyable meal, something that is actually quite hard to come by these days.

How to get here:
White Mojo is located on Whitehorse Road, catch tram #109 and get off at stop 46 Balwyn Cinema, and the cafe is sitting right by the tram stop.

White Mojo Speciality Coffee & Roaster Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Things I ate at the Night Noodle Market

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Not wanting to repeat my mistake last year of leaving the Night Noodle Market in my folder for an insanely long time, and eventually just missed the limited time window to post completely, I’m typing up this post on the first day of its duration this year. Is it too early to give myself a pat on the back?

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Hoy Pinoy | Pork Belly Skewers – 2 for $13.00

Given that Hoy Pinoy operate at markets as far as I’m aware of, I always make sure I grab a few of their skewers when I get the chance. The Filipino street food stall has made an appearance since the inaugral noodle market, and there’s a reason that it is able to do so. The skewers were grilled to perfection, and the banana glaze was sweet and enticing. My only complaint is that they were lukewarm, which I guess is the downside of it not being a busy night, the skewers weren’t exactly freshly made.

Hoy Pinoy Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Wonderbao | Korean Chilli Chicken Gua Bao – $7.50

Wonderbao is also a staple at the market, and a personal favourite of mine. Although its location is quite convenient for me to grab a quick lunch, Wonderbao always does a few market specials, and I’m always curious to try the limited edition ones out.  Unfortunately, the fried chicken wasn’t my favourite. The chicken was fried pretty well, but there was an overwhelming amount of sauce, and it was overly taste for me, making the whole bun a bit of a mess.

Wonderbao Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Gelato Messina | Aunty Tomsu’s Cheesecake (Japanese cheesecake, strawberry & cherry blossom cream, strawberry meringue, strawberries & strawberry gelato) – $12.00

Messina is probably one of the most highly anticipated stall at the market, to say the least. The theme this year was Japanese Gameshow, and in typical Messina fashion, they did not hold back with all the incredible flavour combinations, as well as the decked out stall, completed with a board to flip for luck.

I experienced a Sophie’s Choice moment in choosing one out of the four desserts they had on offer, but ultimately picked Aunty Tomsu’s Cheesecake. Do I know who Aunty Tomsu is? Nope. Do I like her cheesecake? Hell yeah. The container was filled with goodies, and if you like strawberries and cheesecake, you’re in for a treat. Needless to say, the gelato was perfection, on top of that, the cream at the time really drilled in on the cheesecake factor. The meringues were not only perfectly shaped, they were also very airy, albeit a tad bit sweet. That’s probably my only complaint about the whole thing, it was just all a bit sweet towards the end.

Gelato Messina Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Dining at the Night Noodle Market is certainly not cheap, even by Melbourne standards. You could easily rack up a $50 meal by the end of the night, trying to sample a bit of everything. It may be pricier than food markets in other countries, Asia in particular; however the serenity of the location and the variety of food that is on offer makes it a must-go event for the Summer time.

So, grab a few friends and head out to the Night Noodle Market, it’s open every night until 26 November, giving you just over three weeks to find some time visit.

Oh and it’s also cashless, meaning that you can simply pay by card at every stall, including the $2 fortune cookie donation.

How to get there:
Night Noodle Market is located at Birrarung Marr, which is right next to Federation Square.

JAPAN 2017 | Osaka: Lucky Owl Cafe; Dotonburi

Excuse the long pause between the travel posts, they take a lot longer to write and law school’s already catching up with me! Anyway, let’s continue on my first day in Osaka. After spending a couple of hours at Kuromon Ichiba Market, I made my way to Lucky Owl Cafe!

Lucky Owl Cafe

All sorts of weird cafes can be found in Japan, maid, robot, alpaca, just to name a few, but I picked owl cafe to go to, because, well, owls!

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It took me a while to find Lucky Owl Cafe, because it moved location sometime last year, but only the old location was shown on Google map. After finally finding it however, the owls made it all worth it.

You had to buy one drink, and there was a time limit of one hour. The waiter there was extremely helpful, and explained to me where each owl came from, how they look after them, and just some more random owl facts, which I’m all for.

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The full lineup!

The owls were mostly quite friendly, and you can pet them on the beak! The hour flew by and it was time for me to say goodbye to the owls.

Before heading into Lucky Owl Cafe, I was quite concerned about the way that the owls may be treated in these types of places, however I was very happy to learn that they are cared for by the people at the cafe, and enjoy their limited time with people everyday.

Dotonburi

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Lucky Owl Cafe was on a side street in the busy neighbourhood of Dotonburi, aka where all the iconic neon lights, bridges, alleyways filled with restaurants and shops are found. I took my time and walked around pretty much aimlessly. These are honestly some of my best memories in Osaka, absorbing the energy of the city and enjoying being part of the hustle and bustle.

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I spent ages in Loft, a lifestyle store with a focus on stationery, which I bought plenty of haha. It was in the same building as Muji, and the things at Muji were comparatively cheaper than back home, so I finally bit the bullet and bought the aroma diffuser, something that I’ve had my eyes on for a while! I went into another drugstore as well, hunting down some more things on my list.

Dinner

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For dinner, I settled on a yakitori bar that I stumbled upon. It was very cozy and the food was decent. Although each skewer on its own doesn’t seem like much, it certainly did fill me up.

I got back to the hostel at around 11, and was knackered, but also so excited for the next  day because it was going to be Universal Studio time!

Spending Tracker

Drugstore: 5004JPY ~ 62.8AUD
Owl cafe: 1500JPY ~ 18AUD
Socks: 432JPY ~ 5.3AUD
Forever 21: 949JPY ~ 11.7AUD
Muji: 10047JPY ~ 125.1AUD
Loft: 2790JPY ~ 32.8AUD

Total: 20722JPY ~ 255.7AUD

BLOG SALE | Nail Polish (OPI, China Glaze, Essie etc)

The nail polishes have all been sold!

I’ve spent my holidays clearing out some of the things that I just don’t love/use anymore, and one huge category was nail polish!

I bought an Ikea Helmer to store my nail polishes a few years back, and over the years, it’s become overfilled with nail polish. This time round, I looked through every single one of my nail polish to make sure that first, it’s still in decent condition; second, I don’t have any dupes; and third, it’s still a colour that I will reach for.

After the whole process, I threw away 23 nail polish and kept 289. And out of the 289, I’ve decided to part ways with 103 through a blog sale! I have listed all of the nail polish in a Google Spreadsheet, including information like its brand, name, amount used, and the price. Check out the spreadsheet here for all the detailed information.

These are all the polishes that are up for grabs just for your reference!

 

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Kaprica

Kaprica has been a hidden gem close to uni for as long as I can remember. It is easily missable if you don’t know what you’re looking out for, but on any sunny day, there’s sure to be a crowd sitting outside, and that’s what gives away its location.1

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Provelone (Small) – $16.00

I’ve been here from time to time throughout my study, but is still yet to test every pizza on the menu. On this occasion, I went for the Provelone, which had the topping of artichoke, provolone, rocket and tomato. This was a very lightly flavoured pizza, and all four ingredients worked in harmony. I especially loved how the rocket cut through the richness of the provolone and the saltiness of the artichoke, and the tomato base lent every bite some acidity.3

The small pizza is very satisfying for one person, and doesn’t break the bank, which is why Kaprica remains popular amongst students nearby. I’m pretty sure we visited at around 3pm, hence the empty tables, but trust me, if you’re visiting on a Friday night, be sure to make a booking so that you don’t have to wait out in the cold.

How to get here:
Kaprica is located on Lincoln Square, catch any tram heading out of the city from Melbourne Central/Swanston Street and get off at Lincoln Square South, Kaprica is less than two minutes walk away.

Kaprica Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato