Piggy goes out and about in the city

Hubby had a work function Friday night, which usually meant a big piss up and staggering home late at night.  Rather than feeling sorry for myself and being bored at home, I decided to have a fabulous night out with Shoe Queen and her hubby B.

First Stop: Red Hummingbird
246 Russell St, Melbourne, VIC
03 9654 2266

We decided to unwind with a couple of drink in Red Hummingbird.  With its unobtrusive entrance, it’s hard to spot the venue unless someone brings you there, or if you happened to glance up and see people drinking at the rooftop bar.  Best way to find this place is to go to the corner of Lonsdale and Russell St and try to look for a red bird cage hanging over a doorway.

Red Hummingbird is certainly not a spacious bar, and what’s annoying is people pre-booked tables but don’t really turn up on time, so there’s empty tables and chairs everywhere but no place to sit.  I would recommend management to give those people a 5 min rule.  If they don’t turn up, then it’s free for all.
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We ordered a jug of Hummingbird cocktail, which said “serves 3-4”.  Shoe Queen and I shared it between both of us because for $30 it sounded more economical to drink that than order two Red Hummingbirds seperately, for $18 each.  The Red Hummingbird is very fruity and not very strong but it served its purposes of getting us chillaxed but not smashed.  We did eventually found a little spot to have a great chat and a drink.  Then it was off to dinner.

Red Hummingbird: 7/10- points deducted for not having enough seating or tall bar tables for people to perch on.  Also, a 3% surcharge applied to any credit card transactions.

The Red Hummingbird on Urbanspoon

Stop Two: Ying Thai 2
110 Lygon Street, Carlton
03 9639 1697

IMG_4085 [640x480]For authentic Thai food, my Thai friend Ying took me to Ying Thai and I always wanted to go back.  At Ying Thai you can get your run-of-the-mill Thai Green Curry and Thai Red Curry, but if you are adventurous, you should think outside the square and try something different.  Last time Ying ordered Nam Prig Gapi Platu, which is like this super pungent shrimp paste that you can dip with vegetables.  It’s interesting, but I probably would not order this in case my non-Thai friend declined a second helping and I would be stuck with it.

IMG_4091 [640x480]So I decided on something that my friend Ying has previously ordered which I loved.  Gang Som Cha aom Kai Tod $16.90 is a Thai sweet and sour soup served with seafood and omelet in a hot pot style.  OK, it WAS 30 degrees that day but I really love this hot pot so poor Shoe Queen and B kindly obliged (poor things!).  Even the waiter looked at me weird.

Now the waiter did ask if we wanted spicy or not, we did say mild because Shoe Queen and B cannot eat spicy food.  Sadly “mild” didn’t seemed to translate and most food, especially the hot pot was quite spicy.  We made notes that we should really order NOT SPICY AT ALL next time if I get to have dinner with Shoe Queen and B again at Ying Thai.

IMG_4086 [640x480]Anyway, that was our mains, but to start off with we ordered a Somtum salad with fish skin ($12.90).  Somtum is a shredded papaya salad with shredded carrots, crushed peanuts and tomato.  The crispy deep fried fish skin goes well with the salad, creating a lovely  textural contrast.

IMG_4087 [640x480]Shoe Queen also ordered Fish Green Curry $16.90.  I must admit I don’t really like Ying Thai’s green curry.  Perhaps it’s because I am so used to the “non-authentic” green curries, I felt that Ying Thai’s one is just not creamy enough.  Their fish fillets are also not very fresh and a touch slimey.  Another complaint is that one small bowl of rice costs $3.. seriously?  I don’t understand why it costs that much.

IMG_4088 [640x480]Our last dish was the Pud Kee Mow noodles with seafood $17.90.  The noodles itself has fantastic flavour and texture but once again the seafood itself was a slight let down.  At least the freshness isn’t a problem this time, it’s just that the seafood was overcooked so it’s just a bit chewy.

We would love to have dessert here like sweet sticky rice stubbed (?!) with taro or banana served with icecream ($5.9), but sadly they ran out of dessert.  Apparently they freshly made this every day and it was sold out at lunch.  DAMMIT!

It actually quite funny at Ying Thai 2.  From my observation and humble opinion, it seemed as if the dishes that Westerners would like e.g. green curry, pad kee mao noodles etc uses mostly the same type of vegies (cabbage, cauliflower, carrots) and the dishes that are more authentic Thai style (like som tum w fish skin and the hot pot) they actually use more “exotic” vegies like snake beans.  Not convinced?  Go and see for yourself.  7/10

Ying Thai 2 on Urbanspoon

Last Stop: Meet Fresh
147 Swanston St, Melbourne

Since we didn’t get to eat dessert at Ying Thai, we decided to find some Asian dessert to satisfy our craving.  I have heard a LOT about Meet Fresh and how it has taken Sydney by storm.  Knowing that hubby would never go to Meet Fresh with me I decided to urge my friends to visit.

IMG_4092 [640x480]It was not very busy on a Friday night which was quite surprising.  Given that it’s about 9pm I thought it was a ripe time for dessert.  We found plenty of seats upstairs and decided to settle there.  The bad thing is no one greeted us and we didn’t realise we had to grab menu downstairs, so B ran down to get us some menus.  Then we realised once we have selected our desserts we have to go downstairs to order and pay.  So down we go again.  After we paid, we hung around in the narrow corridor, only to realise that they have given us a beepy thing, so when our order is ready it will beep.  We weren’t told, you see.

IMG_4093 [640x480]Anyway, after a lot of walking up and down stairs we finally got our dessert.  B ordered a Red Bean and Milk crushed ice.  Unlike a lot of the Taiwanese dessert place we visited where the crushed ice are like sheets of creamy snow, this one is simply crunchy crushed ice which wasn’t crushed very finely either.  The red bean itself wasn’t bad I guess, they are plump and slightly yielding, which meant is freshly made instead of coming from a can.

IMG_4094 [640x480]Shoe Queen and I shared a taro ball dessert No. 4 with red bean +taro+pearls.   It was apparently one of their best sellers.  I mean, it wasn’t bad.  But I wouldn’t call it awesome and certainly didn’t understand how it could have taken Sydney by storm.  The taro balls are yellow and purple in colour and the yellow ones tasted more like sweet potato balls.  The purple ones were just tasteless.  There seemed to be more ice than anything to make the bowl felt bigger, and the ice were drenched in this syrup that was way too sweet.  We both danced around the ice and tried to eat some pearls, but really, pearls without ice tea is just flavourless blobs.  The red bean and taro was the highlight of this dessert, and they were consumed quite quickly.

Overall, I can’t say that I can understand the hype.  Although it seemed to market itself as a passionate venture to bring people the best and freshest Taiwanese desserts, it smelt awfully like a money grabbing scheme instead and fell very short of expectations.  5.5/10
Meet Fresh on Urbanspoon