MEXICO CITY

Fonda Fina

A handful of restaurants that we wanted to go to did not take bookings for big groups, I frantically looked for alternatives while we were in Cancun.  I stumbled upon Fonda Fina, which were made famous by its menu being designed by Jorge Vallejo of Quintonil and executed by Juan Cabrera at Pujol- both restaurants which we wanted to go but were all full.

Fonda Fina is located in Roma Norte, similar to Ponsonby in Auckland, a hipster little neighbourhood that is right next to the heart of CDMX. Fonda Fina is easy to find and the manager greeted us from outside. A very welcoming sight after a long day on the road.

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People in mexico city spoke very little English but this did not pose a problem at Fonda Fina. The menu was designed to share , with tacos, sopas, ceviches and rice. Sopas, which almost read like soups,  resembled mini pizzas with cheese and your choice of protein on the top. We ordered a pork belly and octupus, all of which were packed with avocado, mozzarella and tomato and squid ink.

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For the mains, we ordered a Cactus Mixiote. Wrapped in banana leaf, once unraveled, revealed a very moist and tender looking pulled pork. With the way its been done, being steamed under the pot for hours, retaining that moisture and juice in the meat. Oh so comforting and hearty.

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Highly recommend this place as it caters for small groups like us. Fonda Fina has an extensive drinks menu, which provides a wide range of tequila based cocktails for drinkers, all of which had a natural alternative for  non alcohol drinkers, making this restaurant a very friendly place for groups of all ages.

Palmares Azotea

With a free day in mexico city we roamed around the surburb Roma Norte and stumbled upon this beautiful rooftop bar. We were a little early when we walked up as their lunch time only started at 230pm. An open area with garden themed decor, with wooden panels around the bar and the rooftop, made the bar area a lot more cooler than the otherwise dry and hot afternoon in the city. We each ordered a mojito as an instant thirst quencher and soldiered onto the food.

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IMG_7606.JPGWe ordered  wagyu beef tacos, fish tacos with wasabi mayo, ceviches with lime and tomato and an assortment of sourdough topped with figs, avocado, prosciutto, mushrooms and beef. This bar is a quite an upscale bar, we were surrounded by businessmen and couples who managed to take time out in the day to enjoy a drink. Very good service and very attentive staff.

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The staff recommended the oysters but knowing that oysters are not in season or local, we ventured off to another restaurant in the hood. If you wanted to go to a classier place in the hustling and bustling city of mexico, this is my pick!

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Mercado Roma

The next stop was Mercado Roma. This market resembled Ponsonby central, which provided a wide selection of food choices- from traditional burritos, tacos, macaroons, churros, cheese and wine, roast beef, and even a beer garden!

IMG_7651 - Copy.JPGWe managed to snatch over this handsome young man’s job at the Glacee roll. Firstly, you choose your base of choice and toppings to go with it. We opted for the yogurt base with Kahlua (of course). He basically poured the Kahlua infused yogurt onto a really cold plate until it became a shaved ice consistency. Then topped with a heaping portion of walnuts and pecans  and, another healthy dash of Kahlua and Baileys.

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Romita Comedor

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We had an hour to spare before dinner, so we decided to slowly migrate to Romita Comedor, which was fairly close to our dinner place. It took us a while to find the entrance as it was actually a corridor through a vintage looking building. The spiral staircase that led up to the bar was very mysterious but we were welcomed by these glass walls at the end of the fixture. The tiled glass roof allowed natural sunlight and cool wind into the bar, such a  brilliant idea.

I specially enjoyed these greenery in the middle of the bar. The seemingly boring monocromatic decor portrayed quite the opposite. The scenery out from the window reminds you that you’re located in this beautiful city of mexico, while the back of the bar takes you to a bach somewhere along the mexican coastline. The drinks menu seemed to be quite a Gin heavy cocktail list, the ladies ordered Rosemary and pepper Gin and Tonic, and a strawberry and Cinnamon botanics. An interesting menu but must’ve catered for a lot of Gin lovers in the area.

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Snaps in the market of Roma- Cactus leafs ready to be sold for saladsIMG_4859.JPGIMG_7540.JPG

And a selfie. IMG_7711.JPG

 

Nanam eatery

We visited this place last week and was surprised to see how busy it was on a Tuesday night. Nanam only takes booking for big groups which is generally a sign that getting a table for a small group was rather slim.  Anna successfully grabbed us a table straight after she finished work around the block at 6pm, and was amazed at how packed it was when i arrived at 7pm that day. This just proves how popular this little number is in the neighbourhood!

 

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Buns are all the hype in the big smoke this year and we’ve been to a lot of places with baos roaming in their menus.Thee staff told us not to pass on Nanam’s  Signature dish- TacoPao, skeptical at first, until my eyes were drawn to the table next to us who ordered these. The staff emphasized that the bao itself is a vibrant magenta colour and stained with beetroot juice. These little baos were stuffed with sticky pulled pork in Nanam buns, pork crackling and homemade pickle. The magenta coloured buns were weirdly inviting and came with individual small plates and we assembled the bao ourselves at the table. Almost everyone at the restaurant ordered this so we joined the craze and we enjoyed the DIY bao assembling project. This was definitely a fun little addition to the night.

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We furthered our night with Adobo croquettes with pulled lamb shoulder and bay leaf potatoes, laid in a bed of Vietnamese mint creme fraiche dip. Croquettes are usually a very safe choice for dinners out and these were up to par.

Queso de bola was second up for the night, which stands for Ball cheese in Filipino Cuisine. These Edam cheese balls were crunchy on the outside and topped with Wagyu carpaccio on chiptle mayo. These reminded me of a condensed version of steak and cheese pie. The smoked edam cheese provided a depth of flavour and the chipotle mayo added a little bit of heat to these little bites.These were ordered per piece so made sharing super easy.

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Tiger Burger

We visited this much raved burger joint in Grey Lynn on this Saturday night. Being one of the first Korean inspired fast food pop up stores, it has received a lot of hype about the ever so popular East meets West cuisine.  I first encountered the idea of Kim-chi and cheese in Sydney so i was extremely intrigued to try this new innovation in the City of Sails.

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Madam Woo Takapuna

On this cold chilly night, we decided to go to Madam Woo to get our Asian fix. We were very lucky to have found a carpark just right outside the restaurant, so we quickly hopped in hoping not to have to wait to get a table. We went in around 730 and thought it would be packed with people but surprisingly there was already a table ready for us. That successful feeling when you don’t have to wait to get a table- feels like you’re on top of the world.

We started our meals with a Hawker Roll- with soy sesame eggplant and red chilli dressing. There is something so special about a hot roll on a cold night, so welcoming and appetizing. The roti was so light and airy unlike the other ones I’ve had in other places.The chilli dressing added some depth to the vegetarian dish but by no means did this bother uss

For our greens for the night, we got the shredded duck and cabbage salad. Textures are definitely one of the key things that I look for in a salad.The chilli and lime dressing was a little too spicy for my liking, but the shredded cucumber was definitely a good touch to the otherwise boring cabbage salad.

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Sydney Easter Break

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#1 White Taro

Sydney second time around. BOOM. One thing that always intrigues me is to see what combinations of flavours that Modern Australian cuisine has to offer.

Being such a tourist in Sydney, I’ve been googling brunch places and cafes to visit before the trip. I know theres always too many to choose from so my plan was always to go to places that uses wholesome and seasonal produce.

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Cafe Hanoi

Friday night dinners are always one of the highlights of the week. Poh and I were looking something that was light on the palate but also flavourful for this glorious night.

Steamed diamond shell clams in a lemongrass, Thai basil & ginger broth
Pork wontons w chilled spanner crab & bisque
Bánh Xèo – Traditional crispy pancake w sautéed pork belly & shrimp, w nuoc cham, lettuce & fragrant herbs
Mango mousse w fresh shredded coconut & candied green rice

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Project Botanicals

Being part of one of the leading alcohol beverage companies in Australasia, means that i get a lot more exposure to food and beverage related social events. Project Botanicals- featuring 10 pairing created my O’Connell Street Bistro’s chef and leading chefs in Auckland while the cocktails were curated by the Brand Ambassador Chase Bickerton.
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Our first paring of the night was Cubeb Berries- Manuka Smoked Venison Loin with Celeriac Remoulade, Horseradish and Coffee Mayo served on Agria Potato Crisps. A very strong and robust entree of the night. The texture of the Remoulade and the coffee mayo was paired miraculously. I loved a bit of starchiness as a starter and I’ve definitely held high hopes for the courses throughout the night. This has got to be the favourite dish of the night. The crunchiness of the salad and the potato chip resonates with the cold drip coffee mayo beautifully.

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