[BRISBANE] A FRESH NEW START

Back at my favourite hideout in Brisbane: The Passion Tree Cafè. This time round I skipped the shaved ice and had my froyo cravings satiated. Regrettably it wasn’t the best of days for the girl serving my froyo. I get it, we all have our bad days right? Paulo Coelho’s biography saved me from boredom; I had to tune out the incessant chatter all around me, mostly in Korean, but hey not complaining. Anything’s better than listening to repeated broadcasts of year-end tragedies and disasters on BBC. An hour later I hit the streets to check out Aussie’s post-season sales.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/4e6/59639104/files/2014/12/img_5968.jpg

Dinner was: Roast Chicken Supreme! I’ve just learnt that the PieFace round the corner of my hotel is open 24 hours … yay to a happy belly any time of day! Savoured it whilst filling in my diary for 2015.

Skipping all the fluffy resolutions I do every single year with less than half fulfilled 365 days later – maybe I’m just jaded by impracticalities of ideals we set for ourselves but fall short of, so freaking often.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/4e6/59639104/files/2014/12/img_5973.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/4e6/59639104/files/2014/12/img_5988.jpg

In a few hours I’m heading to Christchurch, New Zealand. As much as I’m not looking forward to spending my last few hours of 2014 in the air, or counting down to 2015 35,000 feet in the sky, it’s pretty exciting to be chasing time down south, where time passes faster than it does in Southeast Asia (by a whole 5 hours). Being faster than time – a fresh new start to what I hope to emulate for the new year.

Hello 2015 I think I’m more than ready for you! Who else is with me?

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

P.S Probably won’t be updating as often in the days to come as I’m heading to Bangkok for a getaway with my favourite ex-colleagues. Follow me on instagram @silhouettekiss for faster updates teehee.

[MELBOURNE] oo6. 65. DEGREES CAFE

65 Degrees Cafe is a retail outlet for Gridlock Coffee specialty coffee roasters – masters of latte art and which offers a vast range of blends and single origin coffee beans. I wasn’t there for coffee, though, as I’ve only recently experienced some nasty side effects of caffeine overdose.

Winter in Melbourne has its way of chilling right to the bone, and a bowl of 65’s soup of the day with fresh baked bread and buttered toast warmed me right up. This place was actually recommended to me by an old Australian couple I spoke to on the flight to Melbourne, whose favourite pastime includes sipping cappucinos alfresco-style. I’m not entirely sure of what 65 is famous for. If you ask me, the interior’s not exactly pretty and the menu has nothing special at all. The spinach, potato and zucchini soup was great (a tad on the greasy side in my opinion), and its toast was crunchy with hints of asian spice. If you aren’t too particular, the food’s not too bad for a cosy sidewalk cafe in Melbourne’s busiest district. That aside, the cafe is run by a couple of Asian ladies with very ready smiles and quick nimble hands. Their hospitality was fantastic and I figured that is what makes 65 Degrees an incredible place.

20140806-195927-71967211.jpg

20140806-195929-71969714.jpg

20140806-195928-71968866.jpg

20140806-195928-71968038.jpg

20140806-200045-72045991.jpg

20140806-200048-72048575.jpg

20140806-200047-72047720.jpg

20140806-200046-72046858.jpg

20140806-200049-72049499.jpg

[MELBOURNE] oo5. THE LEAGUE OF HONEST COFFEE

Darned long walk in the cold but all’s good after a cuppa flat white from Melbourne’s very own The League of Honest Coffee. Waking up from a 3 hour nap straight off a flight from Singapore to Melbourne (during which there’s no rest at all), the caffeine hit was my fire-place in subzero winter. Australia has indeed amazing coffee brewers, as a Kiwi acquaintance once told me on a brief exchange of words onboard another flight. A warm mixed berries muffin later, I was convinced that League was way too underrated.

20140806-150921-54561935.jpg

Big enough for social gatherings, yet cosy and subtle in its choice of furnishing, League proved to be just as great a place for coffee runs, brunch or tea break, as well as collecting your personal thoughts if you ever should need a quiet space.

20140806-150911-54551119.jpg

20140806-150911-54551960.jpg

20140806-150922-54562741.jpg

20140806-150924-54564365.jpg

20140806-150931-54571921.jpg

We all know that orgasmic taste of moist, warm muffins…this one’s unbeatable! The mixed berries exploded on my tongue while the melt-in-your-mouth muffin dough was just the right level of softness. So. Good.

20140806-150932-54572778.jpg

20140806-150923-54563531.jpg

20140806-150942-54582852.jpg

Coffee is life, that’s all I’ve gotta say.

20140806-195808-71888171.jpg

The League of Honest Coffee
8 Exploration Ln
Melbourne VIC 3000

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[MELBOURNE] oo4. WINTER SNAPSHOTS

What’s great in Melbourne, besides taking photos with koala bears and trying not to get ass-kicked by kangaroos in their local zoos? . Just walk around the central business district and you’ll be surprised by all kinds of quirky finds. Hipster cafes, graffitied streets, an alley dedicated to pub-crawlers, giant chess pieces for challenging an opponent you’ve never met…the list goes on. Winter does not stop Melbourne from being still one of the best places to be.
20140806-203334-74014863.jpg

20140806-203339-74019708.jpg

20140806-203335-74015637.jpg

20140806-203334-74014068.jpg

20140806-203338-74018111.jpg

20140806-203338-74018894.jpg

20140806-203333-74013110.jpg

20140806-203336-74016442.jpg

20140806-203340-74020580.jpg

20140806-203337-74017286.jpg

I have a confession to make: I’m into grocery shopping. Australia is my favourite place for stocking up big-time on coffee and cereals. Their supermarts boasts the craziest selection of bottled juices and smoothies (that effectively kills snacking urges, because it’s just too damn hard to say no to one of the world’s yummiest gummies (Starburst!) and chocolates (Haigh’s), both of which are classic buys when you’re in this part of the world. Unless of course, you’re a Special K Addict and your luggage is jam-packed with boxes of these stuff.

20140806-203915-74355440.jpg

20140806-203917-74357138.jpg

20140806-203917-74357967.jpg

20140806-203916-74356298.jpg

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[SYDNEY] THE UNIVERSITY OF

Jean Li Viktoria Jean Australia

Beautiful campus on a brilliant part of town, right out of the page in Harry Potter’s Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

20140722-231051-83451490.jpg

20140722-231054-83454098.jpg

20140722-231048-83448966.jpg

20140722-231049-83449844.jpg

20140722-231053-83453183.jpg

“Go on . . . Go out with me, and I’ll never lay a wand on old Snivelly again.”
“I wouldn’t go out with you if it was a choice between you and the giant squid,” said Lily.”

(Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5))


20140722-231050-83450658.jpg

xoxo,

Viktoria Jean

[SYDNEY] BOURKE STREET BAKERY

Tarts and tea at the Bourke Street Bakery on a weekday afternoon. Surry Hills is home to a flourish of yuppie bars and cafes where misfits are the new chic. People no longer go to cafes seeking lattes. Instead, we pay more physical attention to the space we spend time in. Naturally, we want to surround ourselves in a creative, culturally-inspiring, aesthetically pleasing and innovative environment.

20140719-204712-74832753.jpg

And I found my little indie heaven on Bourke Street where Cass brought me for afternoon tea.20140719-204713-74833569.jpg

Small as it is, the cafe is nothing more than a corner-shop with tables and benches on the outside for patrons. In my opinion, dining alfresco has its definite perks! Great air, good view of the streets and biking hippies.This does not however include the fact that it started drizzling and we had to prop open our umbrellas to continue eating in the rain. Great fun it was.

20140719-204714-74834366.jpg

20140719-204715-74835166.jpg

Nonetheless I loved how dilapidated the outdoor benches were. Not deliberately so, I suppose. Its concept just seemed so casual like an everyday neighbourhood bakery.20140719-204716-74836001.jpg

Ah… This, my dear friends, is the insanely good GINGER BRULEE TART. It is to-die-for. You may find a rather complex recipe at A Table For Two as adapted from Bourke Street Bakery’s cookbook but don’t expect to replicate the famed goodness! The caramel layer is perfectly burnt to crisp chewiness whilst the inside retains its custard-y moist. Infused (but not overwhelmed) by ginger, the spice added an extra zing toward an unconventional sweetness. No wonder it’s a hit at the cafe!

Bourke Street Bakery Ginger Brulee Tart

ginger brulee tart

20140719-204732-74852048.jpg

20140719-204732-74852846.jpg

20140719-204735-74855331.jpg

Aside from a fixed menu, the bakery comes up with daily specials. Apparently, I have to try their strawberry meringue tart! Yup, definitely on my to-do list, next trip to Sydney.

Bourke Street Bakery Surry Hills
633 Bourke St
Surry Hills NSW 2010
Australia

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[SYDNEY] AUSTRALIA’S BEST-LOVED GELATO

I’ve finally tried Messina, voted the best gelato in Australia by the Good Food Guide!

Our double-scoop picks:
Salted Caramel and White Chocolate: salted caramel gelato with white chocolate chip, and
Tiramisu: egg, marsala and mascarpone gelato with lady finger biscuits soaked in espresso coffee
True to form, the combination tastes much better than it looks i.e. heavenly and as sinful as salted caramel may sound, its worth every damn calorie I will need to burn after scarfing this gelato cup down!20140719-203421-74061765.jpg

This one’s located at The Star, a short walk to and from Darling Harbour, Sydney CBD, Chinatown etc.
20140719-203401-74041987.jpg

20140719-203419-74059021.jpg

20140719-203419-74059915.jpg

I’m tempted to try everything on display but there’s not enough room  in my tummy after a seafood platter, sashimi and sushi from Sydney Fish Market. This must be a third-world problem – going to a foreign land, only to encounter so much good food in so little time. And then we complain of not having gastronomical variety in our own country. What a sin. I mean, look at these temptations!!20140719-203418-74058151.jpg

Hmm-mmm…20140719-203422-74062623.jpg

20140719-203420-74060910.jpg

20140719-203417-74057245.jpg

Check out these GREAT FLAVOURS (taken from GelatoMessina, but watch ’em allergic hazards):
ALLERGY CHECKLIST 

– (G) Contains Gluten, (N) Contains Nuts, (E) Contains Egg, (A) Contains Alcohol

Apple Pie (G)(E) – real apple gelato with our own house made apple pie throughout
Banana Split (N) –
 caramel and banana gelato with chopped peanuts and whipped cream
Bounty
 – coconut milk gelato with desiccated coconut and choc chip
Caramelised White Chocolate 
Choc Mint – real fresh mint gelato with chocolate chip
Milk Chocolate with Choc Peanut Fudge (N)
Chocolate Fondant (N) – a rich decadent dark chocolate (contains traces of nuts)
Chocolate Chip – light cocoa gelato with chocolate chips
Coconut & Lychee – coconut milk gelato with lychee fruit
Coffee – made with real espresso coffee (seriously)
Dulce De Leche – an Argentinean caramel made by reducing milk until it becomes a sweet jam.
Gianduia Bianca (N) – white chocolate & hazelnut gelato with hazelnut praline
Gianduia (N) – chocolate & hazelnut
Hazelnut (N) – made with fresh roasted hazelnuts from Cortemilia in Italy
Italian Nougat (N)(E) (A-traces) – honey based gelato with roasted nuts, egg whites and Italian nougat
Pear & Rhubarb – fresh pear gelato with our own poached spiced rhubarb
Pistachio (N) – made with freshly ground roasted pistachios from Bronte in Italy
Poached Figs in Marsala (A)(E) – baby figs poached in Marsala (a fortified Italian cooking wine)
Salted Caramel and White Chocolate – salted caramel gelato with white chocolate chip (our biggest seller!)
Tiramisu (G)(A)(E) – egg, marsala and mascarpone gelato with lady finger biscuits soaked in espresso coffee.
Vanilla (E) – made from fresh Jersey Milk
Pannacotta with Fig Jam and Amaretti Biscuit (G)(N)(E)(A-traces) – pannacotta gelato base.
Yoghurt & Berry – yoghurt gelato with poached raspberry and blueberry coulee
Yoghurt & Caramel – yoghurt gelato with dulce de leche

Sorbets (all dairy free)

Salted Coconut and Mango Salsa
Blood Orange
Chocolate Sorbet
Lemon
Lychee Martini
Mango
Pandan & Coconut – 
Pandan is a green asian leaf used in asian cooking.
Passionfruit
Raspberry
Strawberry

See what I mean? We had such a hard time choosing.

Messina at The Star
80 Pyrmont St, Pyrmont NSW 2009, Australia

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[SYDNEY] DARLING HARBOUR

A weekday morning nonetheless sees throngs of students, tourists and locals alike flocking to the harbourside. Gastronomically, they only have the best! The best raved-about restaurants and eateries on UrbanSpoonAustralian Good Food Site, and TripAdvisor can be found this side of town.

Winter at Darling Harbour: chilly, breezy and picturesque. Named after Lieutenant-General Ralph Darling, Governor of New South Wales from 1825 to 1831, the harbour is not only a key attraction on its own, but home to many of Sydney’s major tourist sites – Paddy’s Markets, Powerhouse Museum, Sydney Aquarium, Madame Tussauds and the Australian National Maritime Museum to name a few!

20140719-203847-74327428.jpg 20140719-203846-74326508.jpgAnd on a cold morning we walked (really quickly) from The Star to Darling Harbour! Along the harbour, you’d see pirate ships, navy warships, submarines, fishing boats, and many more floating vessels. One of ’em photos that you must take at least once in your lifetime, featuring Sydney’s alluring CBD coastline:20140719-203848-74328475.jpg 20140719-203845-74325571.jpg 20140719-203850-74330459.jpg 20140719-203849-74329534.jpg 20140719-203851-74331524.jpg

In the vicinity is Sydney’s highly-acclaimed Chinatown. It is not much to say that it’s barely more than a street, with a reputation for very good Vietnamese noodles (as told to me by a Sydney born-and bred-businessman now residing in Singapore) and also Emperor’s Cream Puffs! (as recommended by Cass!) Yummy~ 20140719-204031-74431907.jpg20140719-204030-74430280.jpg 20140719-204031-74431131.jpg

Never a dull moment in Sydney~20140719-203844-74324700.jpg

Darling Harbour
Sydney NSW 2000
Australia

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[SYDNEY] ADRIANO ZUMBO’S OTHERWORLDLY DELIGHTS

Viktoria Jean Li - Sydney zumbarons

So I caved in to macarons. Or zumbarons to be more accurate.
20140717-161824-58704960.jpg

But how could you not, after stepping into Adriano Zumbo’s at The Star, Sydney, only to be consumed by sight of an array of beautiful sugary goodness and crazy exotic macaron flavours?
20140717-161837-58717720.jpg

20140717-161838-58718614.jpg

I’ll allow you to feast your eyes on foodporn ahead.

20140717-161836-58716799.jpg

20140717-161839-58719534.jpg

20140717-161842-58722054.jpg

20140717-161845-58725482.jpg

20140717-161840-58720332.jpg

20140717-161841-58721116.jpg

20140717-161844-58724631.jpg

20140717-161842-58722899.jpg

20140717-161843-58723816.jpg

20140717-161846-58726299.jpg

20140717-161937-58777020.jpg

Adriano Zumbo at the Star
Shop 1, Cafe Court, The Star/80 Pyrmont St
Pyrmont NSW 2009

P.S. THANK YOU CASS FOR BRINGING ME HERE! AND AROUND SYDNEY! I’ve seen so much of Sydney’s CBD in a short time ^^

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean