Grand Hyatt Melbourne Collins Kitchen– Mouth-watering dishes from the Burn City Pop Up

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During our holiday in Melbourne, we had the opportunity to check out Collins Kitchen at the Grand Hyatt. The name Collins Kitchen might bring about a rather casual restaurant image in your mind, but it is actually a pretty contemporary looking restaurant with an ultra high ceiling and an enormous kitchen in full view of the restaurant.

While we were there, Burn City Smokers was helming the kitchen and they will be there until the end of November. Burn City Smokers, as their name suggests, are experts in the art of smoking with wood, combining traditional techniques with modern flavour and style. Their menu for Collins Kitchen include Tasmanian free range baby back pork ribs, smoked lamb rump, pork scratchings, corn bread and popcorn ice cream sandwiches. Basically all the good stuff that will leave you feeling like you’ve just been to a traditional Southern American barbecue.

Grand Hyatt Melbourne Collins Kitchen (20)

The 3 of us were very impressed with the food, the ambience and the service. We managed to get a nice booth seat next to the windows so we felt like we were in our own little world, even though the restaurant was packed since it was Melbourne Cup day. Speaking of which, all the ladies were dressed to the nines, with their fascinators and all. Aside from the spring salad which was a little difficult to eat (too many long stems), we enjoyed all the dishes that we ordered. The meats were fabulous as expected. The hanger steak had beautiful flavour while  my 8 hour smoked beef short ribs was bone tender and very rich tasting. It might actually be a good idea to share this, because a little goes a long way!

Collins Kitchen Burn City Pop Up

More than once during the meal, and during the course of my holiday, I mentioned to the Partner that we should plan another visit to Collins Kitchen. Great pricing (this meal would probably have cost much more in Singapore!) and a great experience, alas we just didn’t have time during our trip!

Scroll down for more pictures!

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Antoinette– The new Hakka-inspired dishes taste fantastic!

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You may know Antoinette for it’s dainty and delectable desserts, but did you know that Antoinette serves up delicious mains as well? These are not just a few savoury dishes to cater to those that happen to be hungry, but a full-fledged menu that you would find in a good restaurant.

Award-winning Chef Pang Kok Keong is always experimenting with new dishes. You can tell when he makes it a point to come up with a cake collection launch every single year. Recently, he decided to create Hakka inspired dishes so as to showcase his culinary heritage. When you look at these dishes, you’ll wonder, are these Western dishes, or are these Asian dishes? Therein lies the excitement of dining at Antoinette’s, some of the new dishes are so different, you’re kept on your toes wondering what’s coming next!

Take a sneak peek below of what the 6 new dishes are like. The revamped Antoinette menu will still feature some classic French dishes as well as these 6 new special dishes. So glad to know that my favourite Nougatine crepes are still available, although only during tea time and weekend brunch. One of the best crepes I’ve ever had!

 

Antoinette - Bread and Butter  (2)

Bread Basket $5

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Is Melbourne Baby/Toddler Friendly for tourists with children?

Parents with young children often wonder if a country or city that they’re travelling to is baby or toddler-friendly. Just check the mommy forums online and you will know that this is a perennial question. And rightly so too. I mean if your baby or toddler is already a handful in Singapore, the last thing you want is to be unprepared and ill-equipped in a foreign location. It’s very easy for bystanders to say “go with the flow, it’s a holiday!”, but if it’s an issue that you have to face every single day of your trip, it will take its toll.

We just returned from Melbourne last week. Prior to visiting, I had been told that Melbourne is pretty baby-friendly. My biggest concern before going was how to let Baby nap comfortably, and whether the streets would be stroller-friendly. I wasn’t too concerned food-wise because Baby loves his food, and also Melbourne seems clean enough. On the whole, we had a pretty good 10 day holiday in Melbourne, yes 10 days entirely in Melbourne city.

Is Melbourne baby / toddler-friendly? Here’s what I found out.

1. Baby food is super affordable in Melbourne!

Baby Food in Melbourne

So cheap! $1.50 for Rafferty’s Garden, $1.65 for Macro’s Organic and $2 for Bellamy’s!!

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6 Unique and Memorable Things to do in Auckland

The December school holidays are about to be upon us and one of Singaporeans’ favourite countries to visit during this time of the year is New Zealand! It being in the Southern Hemisphere means that you get to enjoy a nice temperature and long daylight hours. I have been told that New Zealand’s climate is mild, so you won’t run into scorching hot summer temperatures, or at least not for long stretches anyway. And if you’re like me, it just feels more holiday-like if it’s cooler than Singapore!

Most tourists will want to spend some time in Auckland, it being the most populated city in New Zealand and where 1/3 of New Zealanders live. However, if you’re short on time and want to know what best to visit in Auckland, here are my top 7 picks, each of which can be covered in half a day or less, including travelling time there and back.

1. Have afternoon tea out on the jetty at the Hilton’s Bellini Bar

Hilton Auckland

Hotel pictures from Hilton Auckland, Iced Chocolate my own

In my opinion, this is one of the best places to be to get a good view of the Auckland harbour without actually being out at sea. The Hilton is styled in a nautical theme, and set 300 m out to sea. They even have an outdoor lap pool with an underwater view window of the harbour, the only underwater viewing point in Auckland. Check out the Bellini Bar for a quick drink (the iced-chocolate is really good!) or indulge a little with their High Tea sets.

http://www3.hilton.com/en/hotels/new-zealand/hilton-auckland-AKLHIHI/dining/index.html

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The Marmalade Pantry–Revamped dishes and revamped cupcakes!

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Here’s another update on another F&B business that has been around for awhile! Did you know the Marmalade Pantry has been around for 18 years? They opened in 1999, and after a few location changes, are now located at ION Orchard, Oasia Hotel Novena and Oasia Hotel Downtown. Thanks to the ION Orchard outlet, I’ve always had the impression that The Marmalade Pantry is the place to see and be seen, and I guess that is still correct because it is almost always full house there! If you want to beat the crowds, you can try the Oasia Hotel Downtown outlet, which is very much more spacious.

Anyway, The Marmalade Pantry has recently done another revamp to its menu, with a focus towards new interpretations to existing favourite dishes. The dishes are meant to be unfussy and to score on taste. Scroll down to see the new dishes, as well as the revamped line-up of cupcakes. Has your favourite cupcake been retained?

Spanish Heirloom Tomatoes & Burrata Cheese

This Spanish Heirloom Tomatoes & Burrata Cheese is an elevated version of the traditional Caprese Salad, but using burrata and seasonal heirloom tomatoes. Arbequina (olive) oil is used.

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