These tastebuds are tripping to Somalia – Safari

Safari Ascot Vale interior The Urban Ma blogSafari Somalian cuisine drinks

Safari Restaurant
159 Union rd, Ascot Vale

Knowing that Baby #2 is due in the coming weeks, I’m not one to say no to a dinner invite, especially when it is somewhere I have never been before with people I haven’t met. Those of you that know me would know by now that I love trying new things and chatting with people ūüôā

The night’s destination was Safari,¬†one of many eateries¬†on Ascot’s Vale’s Union road but this one, serving Somali fare. I don’t think I’ve tried any African restaurants let alone one that serves cuisine from one of the countries occupying the horn of Africa so I was looking forward to it.

We were in good hands with Kenny from Consider the Sauce picking the venue and the meals for the 11 of us having a dinner catch up that night (Kenny is no stranger to this cuisine Рcheck out his posts here and here). Out came the drinks, soup and an abundance of food.

We ordered:
Vimto (a sweet cordial like drink tasting of a mix of berries – yum! I think this is served free with meals ordered!)

A Somali milk tea drink that was sweet and creamy – useful for washing down any dishes that were too spicy.

A bowl of meat broth soup – it was a hundred times more appealing on the taste buds than to the eyes. I could’ve easily slurped down another bowl of this.

Fadaration plate – a plate with on-the-bone marinated lamb, spiced rice and spaghetti-like noodles filling up the rest of the plate along with a salad. It was a huge serving for $18 and I thought I’d be going home with takeaway but I actually polished off nearly the entire¬†plate! The aromatic rice was absolutely beautiful and so too the lamb which was tender¬†easily came off the bone.

Ambience:
Bright and casual. There were three other tables booked out on the weeknight we were there. I’m guessing the communal sink¬†at the back is¬†used by those who wish to eat with their hands ūüôā

Service:
The waiter was very accommodating when taking Kenny’s order and we were served with a smile.

Vimto drink at Safari Somalian restaurant The Urban MaSafara Somalian restaurant The Urban Ma Traditional Somalian soup Safari The Urban MaSafari Federation plate Somalian cuisineSafari Ascot Vale dinner with friends Click to add a blog post for Safari on Zomato

Work lunch #15 – Ramen with friends¬†in Melbourne’s CBD

  Little Ramen Bar
346 Little Bourke st, Melbourne

I ran into a long time friend on the train the other day and her eyes sparkled when she told me all about her recent trip to Japan. I have still yet to visit Japan but it is definitely on the hubby’s list of places to go to in the near future. With sporadic airfare sales my friend was super excited to be going back again in April and it brought us to the topic of food, among other things.

I love Japanese food especially a warm katsu curry for lunch with workmates but I’m¬†not as familiar with¬†ramen as I’d like to be so my friend suggests we try out some of her favorite ramen places in the city. After a couple of changes to our lunch date we finally settle on a day and I enjoy more stories about the beautiful culture, sights and food of Japan and was also introduced to the metal pop phenomenon, Baby Metal as we enjoyed Little Ramen Bar’s authentic ramen bowls.

We ordered:
Vegetarian Gyoza dumplings full of tofu, vegetables, ginger and secret seasonings

Classic Ramen – original Tonkotsu soup rich in porky goodness extracted from over 10 hours of cooking. Topped with seaweed, bamboo shoots (which I omitted from my order), spring onions, & a slice of pork (OMG the pork was so tasty and tender. I ordered my classic ramen with the shoyu (special soy) base).

Chasu Tamago – a classic ramen topped with extra slices of BBQ pork and seasoned egg

Ambience:
We dined at Little Ramen Bar during the weekday lunch rush and got a table after lining up for only a few minutes. There are tables inside and out filled with hungry office workers slurping down their fix of warm broth and slippery noodles. Casual and clean.

Service:
We were served our steaming bowls of ramen quickly,¬†and I was surprised that the waitress actually remembered¬†to omit the bamboo shoots from my order. Nice one ūüôā

I always love catching up with friends and sharing stories over delicious meals…especially if they’re about travel, food and shopping!

What are some of your favorite ramen places in Melbourne’s CBD?


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¬† Feeling brave? – Tina’s will surely heat things up for you¬†

   

Tina’s Noodle Kitchen – Level 1 Highpoint Shopping Centre, Maribyrnong

After coming back from interstate travels, we felt like going somewhere familiar to shop and eat so we headed to Highpoint. I knew it was the Electrix Fields opening weekend but we were nicely surprised when heading down the escalators we were welcomed with wide open spaces. 

An urban feel with an array of new Asian eateries, this area of Highpoint felt a lot different to the rest of the centre and we were starving so we had hit the jackpot.

After wandering around checking out fried chicken, dumplings and ramen offerings we obviously had to try the most unfamiliar to us and so we sat down to peruse Tina’s Noodle Kitchen menu – it’s always an adventure with the hubby because he likes to try new things and hopefully our 2 year old grows up to be just as curious!

“The Masters of spicy surprises” Tina’s Noodle Kitchen has things on their menu not for the faint hearted – pork liver, lamb tripes, blood curd, kidneys, duck web and chicken gizzards were just some of the choices we had! There were also a lot of plant based dishes with exotic mushrooms for those who are vegetarian.

With my reflux never-ending these days I had to opt for a non-chilli dish even though I really wanted to try the Beer Duck with Konjac cake…there’s always next time! Daniel and I enjoyed the huge bowl that was presented to us with mountains of rice noodles in chicken stock soup with a variety of fillings and the hubby happily ate his way through his soup with beef and pickles. Hopefully next time we visit we can dig into the more interesting fillings.

My dad loves spicy food so I can’t wait to take him here and in turn try some of the other combinations.

We cooled down afterwards with some dessert bowls at Dessert Story also found on Level 1 which I can’t believe I only tried for the first time a few weeks ago thanks to a friend craving dessert.

This new section is now open 10am til late for you to explore the Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Malaysian cuisines.

        

Work lunch #14 – Lunch date with Mr Nice Guy

 

Mr Nice Guy Healeys Lane, Melbourne

Only a few weeks left until I start parental leave so the hubby and I decided to have a lunch date. After exploring the area with a friend yesterday, I wanted to check out more of Healey’s Lane so we met up there.

There are quite a few eateries to choose from with Korean, Thai and Vietnamese options well represented, although some were closed opening only during dinner time.

We settled on eating Thai at the place with the colorful door – Mr Nice Guy.

We ordered:
Chicken Pad Thai (the hubby said it was nice and saucy! Almost liked it as much as our fav pad Thai dish from Yim Yam in Yarraville)

Khao Kra Pao stir fried minced beef, green beans, brown onions, chilli, basil leaf, garlic and fried egg. The mince was super tasty and the green beans crunchy. Great dish!)

Jasmine tea

Ambience
Busy with the lunch time crowd, this place makes good use of colour and texture with its cheerful decor. We arrived there at 12pm with the place being pretty empty but within 30mins all the tables were full with people also eagerly placing their take away orders

Service
Fast and on point – I asked for them to cook the yolk well done and they served it up just right fully cooked through

We’ll definitely explore more of Healey’s lane in the coming weeks ūüôā

  

Morning coffee and nutella donuts at Daniel’s Bakery

The Urban Ma visits Daniel's bakery Nutella donuts

I never thought I’d ever get to sleep in again after having a baby. I remember everyone telling me how hard it was and how they wake up really early and you’re just non-stop. It got me a little anxious about having a bub but at the same time I was thinking it couldn’t be that bad could it?

It’s not! The start of a long weekend was began with Toddler sleeping in and waking up wanting to buy a “Dinoco Blue car” – he is obsessed with the Disney Cars movie both 1 and 2 – they’re such great movies, you’ve gotta see them if you haven’t already! Instead of going straight to the shops, we drove out to Hogan’s Corner.

Quality time with Grandma and D was spent spotting diggers, dumper trucks and cranes along the back roads of Hoppers Crossing on our way to Daniel’s Bakery.

We arrived to a line of people who had most likely seen their scrumptious Nutella donuts on Facebook or Instagram and it was so great to see a local business doing so well!

We ordered:
– Nutella donuts (a box of 6 for $7.50, or you can get a double shot size for $4 each)
– lemon meringue donuts
– salted caramel donuts
– peanut butter donuts
– a soy latte and flat white
– vanilla slice and,
– blueberry and chocolate scones

Don’t worry we didn’t finish these all ourselves! (although Toddler D finished two of them whilst I went to the grocery store to get a bottle of water, eeeeek!). We got a variety of flavours to take home to our families!

Service:
Even though there was a line out the door, the service was fast and you could tell the bubbly sales ladies were excited by the crowd as they served up donuts, coffee and fresh bread with a smile. You could even hear the baker at the yelling “fresh Nutella donuts!” from the back where they were working hard catering for the demand outside ūüôā

Ambience:
A bakery with a few tables outside so you can enjoy your donuts fresh on the premises

Details:
Located in a little shopping village called Hogan’s Corner
Daniel’s Bakery
150 Hogan’s Road, Hopper Crossing

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Nutella donut Melbourne Daniel's bakery Daniels loves Daniel's bakery The Urban Ma blog

Work Lunch #11 – Japanese Curry Yummy-ness

 

  O-Bento Japanese Cuisine
Melbourne CBD

It’s always busy with activity, this hip little Japanese place just off Collins at across from the Rialto building.

If you’re looking to get your tummy full until you can’t eat anymore then this is your dig. If you’re looking to have a quiet conversation with your friends or colleagues¬†then maybe just opt for takeaway – this popular place gets quite noisy during the lunch hour

We ordered:

– Curry katsu don

That is all.

That’s all I needed to be full and content!

Even though I knew the huge bowl had enough food in it to feed three people, once I got started I just couldn’t stop.I ended up eating everything except a couple of pieces of potato…dammit! Zero self restraint. I practically rolled back to my desk.

I knew I had eaten way too much when my colleague exclaimed “You’re a machine, Jac!”

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Longrain with my mamma girlfriends

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Longrain Melbourne – 44 Little Bourke street

Sometimes all you need is to get away for dinner and drinks with your girlfriends to talk, vent, relax, listen and unwind.

People who understand what its like to be run off your feet trying to juggle the demands of family, household, full time work and a marriage and still try to look appealing and energetic…

Seems like Thai is always the go-to cuisine for catch ups as I remember going out to one of the Thai restaurants down Keilor Road and observing that about 95% of the patrons were made up of females catching up with their girlfriends, mums, daughters etc! Lol!

It was my first time at Longrain and we ordered the banquet menu with an additional dish.

Favorite dish:
The caramelized pork hock, five spice, chilli vinegar

Service:
Attentive

Ambience:
Loved the interior of this place. I remember thinking as soon as I walked in that it would an awesome venue to hire out for a 30th birthday or some sort of occassion. Long communal tables for groups and smaller tables next to the windows for a group of 4 like us.

Details:
Our banquet menu was $65 and required a minimum of 4 people. Good sized dishes and a great tasting plate for dessert!

Downside:
Bookings for dinner are only for larger groups. As were we weren’t in any rush, it was actually nice to take a seat at the side bar which served good drinks a yummy starters and we were able to chatter away. However if you are the type of person that likes to make reservations for dinner just come in early when it opens and you’ll be sure to grab a table. They fill up pretty quickly though!

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If you want to check out some great Thai eateries you can find some more blog posts here, here and here!

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