• Motto Motto Japanese Kitchen opens in Westfield Garden City to offer more, more!

    Motto Motto Japanese Kitchen – more more!

    Motto Motto Japanese Kitchen opens in Westfield Garden City to offer more, more!

  • The SO had been to Hurricane's Grill on a business trip to Sydney some time ago and wasn’t adverse to the suggestion we should try their Gold Coast location for lunch. Obviously the Sydney outlet had made a decent impression and I had high hopes that a meaty lunch at Hurricane's Grill would satisfy my protein needs.

    Hurricane’s Grill

    The SO had been to Hurricane’s Grill on a business trip to Sydney some time ago and wasn’t adverse to the suggestion we should try their Gold Coast location for lunch. Obviously the Sydney outlet had made a decent impression and I had high hopes that a meaty lunch at Hurricane’s Grill would satisfy my protein needs.

  • It was our last night on the Gold Coast before the return to reality of work and life. The SO did a little online research and suggested we visit Provincial Restaurant & Bar on Tedder Avenue for dinner to top off our little vacation.

    Provincial Restaurant & Bar, Gold Coast

    It was our last night on the Gold Coast before the return to reality of work and life. The SO did a little online research and suggested we visit Provincial Restaurant & Bar on Tedder Avenue for dinner to top off our little vacation.

  • You know there’s some serious shit going down when there is an establishment with a vodka menu that is almost seven pages long on double-sides. Who knew the world of vodka could be that extensive?! If you’re a vodka aficionado, you couldn’t have fallen into a better place than Borsch, Vodka and Tears.

    Borsch, Vodka and Tears, St Kilda

    You know there’s some serious shit going down when there is an establishment with a vodka menu that is almost seven pages long on double-sides. Who knew the world of vodka could be that extensive?! If you’re a vodka aficionado, you couldn’t have fallen into a better place than Borsch, Vodka and Tears.

  • There are many things to reflect upon at the end of any year, and one of my favorites is to reflect on some dining places we've been to in 2014. Some may be oldies rediscovered and some may be contenders that opened this year. Either way, they left an impression and so here's a look at my top five dining discoveries of 2014.

    My Top 5 Dining Discoveries of 2014

    There are many things to reflect upon at the end of any year, and one of my favorites is to reflect on some dining places we’ve been to in 2014. Some may be oldies rediscovered and some may be contenders that opened this year. Either way, they left an impression and so here’s a look at my top five dining discoveries of 2014.

  • “I’ve heard a lot about Claypots, but never tried it. I think it’s Asian,” she quipped as we walked through their door. She wasn’t necessarily right on that account, nor was she completely wrong.

    Claypots Seafood Bar, St Kilda

    “I’ve heard a lot about Claypots, but never tried it. I think it’s Asian,” she quipped as we walked through their door. She wasn’t necessarily right on that account, nor was she completely wrong.

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Motto Motto Japanese Kitchen – more more!

Disclaimer: I attended the media launch event at Motto Motto Japanese Kitchen as an invited guest of Motto Motto Japanese Kitchen and KDPR, where I was provided menu samples for free. I also visited Motto Motto Japanese Kitchen several days later and paid for my own meal. My comments are a reflection of my experience, which may have been non-standard, but remain completely honest and my own.

Japanese cuisine has been well embraced by Australians over the years and what’s not to love? It’s a cuisine that focuses and highlights ingredients and its freshness, offering it in deceptive simplicity. We just cannot seem to get enough for it, if the mushrooming of cheap Japanese curry and sushi roll takeaway joints everywhere over recent years is any indication.

Motto Motto Japanese Kitchen

But cheap isn’t always great and I don’t always want to be unceremoniously handed my meal in a paper container or chucked into a crinkly thin plastic tray to find a corner amongst the hunt-or-be-hunted food court lunch crowd. I want more for my money and better quality, without handing over a small fortune for fine dining. Sono Restaurant owner William Liu seems to have noticed the gap and recently opened Motto Motto Japanese Kitchen in the freshly renovated Westfield Garden City and like its sister restaurant Sono Japanese Restaurant, is offering south side shoppers fresh well-prepared meals in a casual dining setting.

Motto Motto Japanese Kitchen

Besides a vast menu that is systematically broken down into rice bowls, rolls and side dishes, Motto Motto Japanese Kitchen boosts quite the assortment of beverages, including alcoholic ones and flavoured ciders wrapped in adorable packaging. Asahi is produced in Australia under licence, so purists would be pleased to learn Motto Motto import theirs from Japan. Unfortunately being pregnant meant I was on the wagon, but I would definitely be hopping straight onto the baby bottles of Choya after the baby is born. Yum!

Motto Motto Japanese Kitchen. Chicken karage. AUD$5.90. Prawn and avocado salad (soy or sesame dressing). AUD$6.50

Chicken karage. AUD$5.90. Prawn and avocado salad (soy or sesame dressing). AUD$6.50

Motto Motto Japanese Kitchen. Seaweed salted fries. AUD$4.50

Seaweed salted fries. AUD$4.50

Motto Motto Japanese Kitchen. Soft shell crab. AUD$7.90

Soft shell crab. AUD$7.90

Motto Motto Japanese Kitchen. Pork gyoza. AUD$6.50

Pork gyoza. AUD$6.50

After sampling a selection of small bites at the media launch, I returned on our own dollar to have the chicken karage and the prawn avocado salad – again. I hadn’t realised it at first, but the salad comes with either a soy salad dressing or sesame dressing. I tried the soy at the launch, so went with the sesame on our own visit. Both were delish, but I prefer the sesame dressing for the richer flavour and mouth feel. If you prefer the dressings lighter, go with the soy dressing.

The other highlight was the soft shell crab. Dressed in a sweet and sour (possibly yuzu, as it’s more subtle than lemon or lime) dressing, you can chow down on these either piping hot fresh with plenty of crunch or allow the soft shell crab the opportunity to soak up all the beautiful sauce to really put the bang in every mouthful.

Motto Motto Japanese Kitchen. Crispy prawn roll. AUD$8.90. Wagyu beef roll. AUD$9.90

Crispy prawn roll. AUD$8.90. Wagyu beef roll. AUD$9.90

These are definitely not sushi rolls. Served in a classic bun or brioche roll, we got a quarter sized sampling of the wagyu beef and the crispy prawn rolls. These were matched with the brioche roll, which is much lighter in texture and easy on the butter than many other brioche rolls I have had in traditional French bakeries (not a bad thing in my book). Owner William Liu was particularly proud that Motto Motto uses the same wagyu beef they get at Sono Japanese Restaurant, so there’s no question about the quality of the produce. The wagyu beef is thinly sliced and marinated in sweet soy and served with fresh green salad, pickled cucumber and mayonnaise.

Crispy prawn has fresh salad, pickled cucumber and tartare sauce. Both buns were not overly stuffed or soggy, much to the delight of the neat freaks amongst us. Nonetheless these quarter-sized samplings still required two bites, so I recommend slicing a full-sized roll into half to make things more manageable for your gob.

Motto Motto Japanese Kitchen. Ton-kotsu ramen soup (classic). AUD$12.90

Ton-kotsu ramen soup (classic). AUD$12.90

I’ve had a few bowls of ramen in my time and whilst I still maintain that the best are in Japan (often in hole-in-the-wall joints that are tucked a meandering way from main foot traffic), there are none too shabby versions to be found elsewhere in the world, including Australia.

Often the key to an amazing ramen broth is patience to leech every bit of essence from the ingredients into the soup. Motto Motto boil theirs for 12 hours to derive a pork superstock that is rich and fatty – a joy to slurp up when your tummy needs warming, but they didn’t neglect the noodles. Nothing irks me more than limp gluggy overcooked noodles that fall apart like wet tissue paper at the lightest touch, so when I could bite into the Motto Motto ramen noodles and each strand sprung back lightly and could gracefully carry the soup up in every slurp, I was in heaven. The full-sized version includes slices of pork belly and egg, but I didn’t get an opportunity to sample these components.

Motto Motto Japanese Kitchen

Everyone got the opportunity to order their own rice bowl, otherwise known as ‘donburi’. These are bowls of rice topped with a variety of prepared toppings one eats along with the rice and can be quite simple with razor thin slices of beef and onion, or arranged like a Monet painting out of an assortment of raw seafood.

Motto Motto Japanese Kitchen. Seared salmon and avocado rice bowl. AUD13.50

Seared salmon and avocado rice bowl: Tasmanian salmon, avocado and teri-mayonnaise. AUD13.50

Motto Motto Japanese Kitchen. Pork belly rice bowl. AUD$12.50

Pork belly rice bowl: Slow cooked pork belly with vegetable. AUD$12.50

Motto Motto Japanese Kitchen. Raw seafood chirashi rice bowl. AUD$13.90

Raw seafood chirashi rice bowl: Tasmanian salmon, pacific ocean tuna, scallop and yuzu citrus sauce. AUD$13.90

Motto Motto Japanese Kitchen. Saikyo yaki fish rice bowl. AUD$13.90

Saikyo yaki fish rice bowl. AUD$13.90

I would’ve loved to have had the raw seafood chirashi rice bowl, but raw seafood is still off the menu until the baby is born. Instead I tried the saikyo yaki style grilled fish with mixed seafood. The mixed seafood included little chunks of Hokkaido scallops (yum!) and crab sticks (meh) on a bed of creamy rice and vegetables. The SO also ordered this for himself when we visited and quite liked the rich flavour of the miso marinated grilled white fish. If you’d like to try something a little different, the saikyo yaki grilled fish donburi would be my recommendation.

 

Motto Motto Japanese Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Disclaimer: I attended the media launch event at Motto Motto Japanese Kitchen as an invited guest of Motto Motto Japanese Kitchen and KDPR, where I was provided menu samples for free. I also visited Motto Motto Japanese Kitchen several days later and paid for my own meal. My comments are a reflection of my experience, which may have been non-standard, but remain completely honest and my own.

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Jelly Roll Jam II quilt project

Jelly rolls are the best beginner quilter’s project and after the success of sewing my first quilt with one, I have been itching to make another for our little bub on the way.

I missed the Craft and Quilt Fair in Brisbane the last couple of years, but I managed to squeeze in a little time to drop in this year and picked up two gorgeous Moda jelly rolls: Deb Strain‘s Family Tree (a cute palette of cyan and orange, with deep browns, reds and blues as accents) and Eric and Julie Comstock’s S’more Love.

Fat Quarter Shop's Jelly Roll Jam II pattern

With this project, I used the Fat Quarter Shop‘s Jelly Roll Jam II pattern and half of my Deb Strain’s Family Tree jelly roll to make a crib blanket.

Fat Quarter Shop's Jelly Roll Jam II pattern

Fat Quarter Shop's Jelly Roll Jam II pattern

Fat Quarter Shop's Jelly Roll Jam II pattern

I love that they also have a video tutorial for it, so I can follow step-by-step if I felt lost reading the pattern. It was so easy I finished most of the panels in 2 hours in one evening, but that’s probably because I didn’t starch.

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DIY Project: Wild Flower Pincushion

This has been my pincushion for as long as I can remember.

My old pincushion

It was really my mother’s and was the top half of a plastic container meant to hold extra pins, but over the years, it wouldn’t shut. I gave up using it after countless accidents spilling pins all over the floor.

Trawling through Pinterest, I found a tutorial on how to sew a lovely wild flower pincushion, which also included the pattern. It took me awhile to work it out and I was lucky to find some additional tips from another blog.

Wild Flower Pincushion

Seeing as this was my first attempt at the pattern, I dug out some scraps in my stash tub of fabric and some stuffing from an old cushion that’s too fat. Two of the petals have been squished under and the resulting pincushion is much larger than I initially envisioned, but otherwise it’s all secure and is already securing my collection of sewing pins.

Wild Flower Pincushion

Wild Flower Pincushion

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DIY Project: Kimono cardigan

Am I too late? Have I missed the summer kimono cardigan fashion trend?

You know what? Screw it. Everything in fashion comes back around and I’m sure it’ll be hip again if it isn’t.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learnt as a psoriasis sufferer is that black is not your friend. Every skin flake you shed shines like a lighthouse beacon on black clothing and you look like the sorry unhappy ‘before’ character in a dandruff shampoo ad.

Unfortunately for me, a lot of maternity wear tends to be black for the sake of versatility. So what’s a girl to do?

Sew her own camouflage full of colour to distract the eye! And the kimono cardigan is one of the simplest. You don’t need to buy a pattern – just plan your fabric blocks based on your measurements and away you go on the sewing machine.

This first kimono cardigan took me about one hour to measure out, another hour to cut out the pieces and an hour to sew together, so this is quite a quick and easy project you could complete in a day. I followed Elle Apparel’s KIMONO COOL tutorial. The fabric is a silky satin from Lincraft, which frays easily, so it took me a little longer to finish the edges. But for $20 for 1.5 metres of fabric, I’m not complaining.

Kimono cardigan

Kimono cardigan

Sleeve detail

 

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Hurricane’s Grill

The SO had been to Hurricane’s Grill on a business trip to Sydney some time ago and wasn’t adverse to the suggestion we should try their Gold Coast location for lunch. Obviously the Sydney outlet had made a decent impression and I had high hopes that a meaty lunch at Hurricane’s Grill would satisfy my protein needs.

Being a weekday afternoon, Hurricane’s Grill wasn’t busy at all and we were shown a seat with a view overlooking Surfers Paradise beach. We surveyed the menu, while keeping an eye on the darkening skies overhead.

Hurricane's Grill and Bar - Steak and ribs combo. AUD$49

Steak and ribs combo. AUD$49

It wasn’t terribly hard for the SO to make his choice: a steak and ribs combo. The plate arrived with the 200g free range sirloin grilled on an open flame with their original basting and a half rack of pork ribs. All steaks are served with chips, baked potato or mixed salad, so the SO opted for a simple baked potato.

Hurricane's Grill and Bar - Warm seafood salad

Warm seafood salad

 

My choice was on Hurricane’s Grill specials menu – the warm seafood salad. An assortment of seafood, including calamari rings, baby octopus, grilled prawns and scallops were piled upon a bed of tossed lettuce leaves, cucumber, tomato, capsicum and Spanish onion. Extra lemon wedges were left on the side to up the citrus notes to your own preference.

 

Hurricane's Grill on Urbanspoon

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