Kaffana

Today on the Dining Diaries…

As meat platters appear on other people’s tables, dining envy grows,
Special moussaka was truly special  and
One of us is already setting the date for our next visit and he definitely will be  ordering a meat platter.

Diners today we were at Kaffana in that ever happening, “Hipster” paradise, Peel Street.

18767414_1429320747127999_1531879982924820872_n.jpgKaffana is a Serbian Meat restaurant and hubby had been seeing their ads on Facebook for sometime and has been getting quite enticed by them! I mean how can a meat lover go past those pictures of meat trays!

We were here at 6pm on a Friday night. It was heavily booked. Lots of people were waiting to enter the dining room.
Dim lighting, easy listening music in the background, exposed red brick walls and lots of wood all contributed to making us feel comfortable and welcome.


A server finally called our name and brought us to our table. I wasn’t sure who she was at first as she was a tiny thing in old sneakers and a black beanie with a few strands of platinum blonde hair coming through. But maybe that’s just the way things are in this sort of place.

The menu was pretty cute although it was a bit hard to see because of the dim lighting. They have old “little golden books” there and have pasted their menu to the pages of the story. I liked the idea, especially as I was always walking around with at least one “little golden book” in my hand when I was a kid.

Hubby and I had a look through the menu and he was so disappointed when I said I just couldn’t see myself having half a meat tray. I don’t mind meat, sometimes I even like it but in small quantities. I did feel a little bad for him though when other tables near us started having meat trays brought out to them…

We decided to start with the Moussaka to share as an entree. It was on their specials board and said it was served with sour cream. I didn’t know how that was going to work but was curious to try it. I normally really love moussaka and am still looking for the perfect one.

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It was very hard to take a decent photo because of the dim lighting but I hope you get an idea.

The moussaka was certainly special and not traditional.  I couldn’t see or taste any bechemel but then that probably wouldn’t have matched with the sour cream on top. I couldn’t find eggplant in there either but maybe it was. After all, what’s a moussaka without eggplant right?
It was absolutely delicious though. So much flavor! Makes me want to try to make it myself.
Hubby and I were fighting to make sure we got half each.

As per their menu, all meals come with “mammas” bread which was quite damper like. Very toasty warm and a little smokey tasting. I loved it!
The meals also come with potato salad and coleslaw? It was like a coleslaw sans mayonnaise.
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The potato salad looked nice and it had spring onions in it. 
Hubby didn’t want to eat it before our mains came and when I say he didn’t want to eat it, I mean he didn’t want US to eat it. That includes me. I was starving and it was so hard not to.

For main I chose Karakjordjeva. The menu described it as “Kaffana’s version of a Karadjordjeva schnitzel (no bread crumbs) , char grilled tenderised veal filled with ricotta, danish feta and cooked streaky bacon.”

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I’m not sure what I expected it to look like but probably not that.

That kind of looks like something the dog left behind.

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I have to say though that it tasted quite exceptional.

When you cut into it the ricotta oozed out.

I didn’t know there was supposed to be bacon in there and couldn’t really taste it but it was really so rich and full of flavour that I couldn’t have eaten more than that small roll.

Hubby ordered the Pork Skewers “Char-grilled, crisp and tender skewered park scotch pieces”
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Hubby said his was near heaven. I got to taste a little morsel too. They were just flavoured perfectly. Moist, tender with a gorgeous charcoal taste.
In his words, “Just f’n delicious “

Though the portions seemed small I felt like I’d eaten a lot by the end.

If you’re a meat eater, it would be definitely worth it to save up a few pennies and head on down to Peel Street and have a meal at Kaffana. Don’t be like us though, do yourself a favour and order the meat platter!!!

Have you been to Kaffana?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!!

Till next we chow….

The Hyde Park Tavern

Today on the Dining Diaries…

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Hubby’s not hungry
A bar menu is read and re-read and re-read and re-read…
We celebrate the invention of the microwave

Diners today we were at the Hyde Park Taven on King William Rd.
I had always loved walking along Kind William Road – Especially on a warm Winters day when the sun is bestowing it’s comforting warmth.

What surprised me today, as hubby and I walked down a stretch of this road toward The Hyde Park Tavern, were the amount of empty shops where restaurants and cafe’s had once been. What is going on with this street?
Some of the buildings were occupied, but the businesses had changed since we were last here.
It was a little bit sad to see and I have to hope that it’s not unreasonable rents that are driving businesses away from this area.

It was about 2.30pm when we entered The Hyde Park Tavern. Hubby only wanted to come in for a drink but I hadn’t had lunch yet and was starving as usual.

Before I get to the food we ordered from the bar menu, I should tell you that hubby hardly ever eats soup. He doesn’t count it as a meal. The bar menu had a “soup of the day” and he decided to go with that because I guess he figured it didn’t really count as eating.
I would have had that too but soup of the day was bacon and lentil and I’m not a fan of bacon in soups so I went for the Shepherds Pie because there wasn’t too much else that appealed to me although in fairness, they did have the usual pub fare on there.

The staff were really friendly and I don’t know if it was the atmosphere, the sunny Winters day, or the laid back music that was playing that had me in a relaxed mood.
I just couldn’t help feeling a bit sad that there weren’t more people in this place while we were there.

The food didn’t take too long to come out.

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I love the bread that came out with this soup. It was really warm and quite dense so it actually felt you were eating something. The soup was well flavoured.
It was probably a good thing to eat when you weren’t really hungry.
I was still in shock that hubby had ordered soup.

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I wasn’t sure but I was expecting with the shepherds pie but it probably wasn’t this.  It was really really really temperature hot. After the initial spoonful, I suspected it had been sitting in the fridge for a couple of days and had been zapped in the microwave.
I thought Shepherds Pie was traditionally with lamb and Cottage Pie was with mince? I’m not sure, but this seemed to be beef mince to me.  I would have also expected to see a bit of tomato in there but didn’t. That’s how I make mine. I think it would have stopped it from being so dry.
The mash on top was crusty and hard to break through. What was underneath was ok once it had cooled a bit. It wasn’t overladen with flavour but it wasn’t unpleasant.
A bit of salt helped it go down.

Those green veggies on the side were really nice! They were a little crunchy and dressed with a bit of olive oil. Nice! And the bread was warm and toasty too so that all helped.

All in all I didn’t hate it, it was an ok meal in a comfortable setting. I probably wouldn’t order it again though.

Once we were done hubby was suddenly hungry so after a little walk down King William Rd again, we had a sneaky (almost unspoken) stop at 50 six one and got one of these to share

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As you can see we started before I took the photo… It was delicious!!

The Hyde Park Tavern is a decent pub to go along to and I wouldn’t mind trying something from their regular menu on another day.

Have you been to the Hyde Park Tavern?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!!

Till next we chow…

Vay Cay to Jay Jay – Part Thirteen

Well today was extra special because it was hubby’s birthday!
I had a special day planned in Kyoto for him.

IMG_4047Last time we were in Japan we really messed up because when we went to Kyoto, we didn’t have any idea what we were going to see. We just hopped on a train and got here and really saw nothing.
Everyone raves about how beautiful Kyoto is so I really wanted to make sure we saw something in the small amount of time we had.
I researched self guided walks in Kyoto and came across a site that had 11 points of interest in the Higashiyama area. Click on the link to read more
http://www.gpsmycity.com/tours/higashiyama-area-walking-tour-2454.html

So I’ll just name the site we were at and add a couple of photos I took there.

1) Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art

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Just outside this museum there was a market happening.

So many people!!!

And so many really interesting goods and foods on sale.

We couldn’t even get to what we wanted to look at because there were just too many people.

2) Shoren-in

 

3) Chion-in Temple

4) Gion District

We went here during the day – It comes alive at night!!! Very interesting place though.

5) Yasaka Shrine

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6) Kodai-ji Temple


We then walked up hill for quite some time passing glorious shops and women/girls dressed as geisha’s. This was the best part of the walk for me!

7) Kiyomizu-dera Temple

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8) Kawai Kanjiro Memorial Gallery

This looked closed so I only took a photo of the front.

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9) Kyoto National Museum

Saw this sign in front of the museum… and there really has been a LOT of police about these last few days.

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10) Sanjusangen-do

11) Kyoto Tower

And just before we got to the Kyoto Tower, we passed the side of Kyoto we saw last time we were here… and you may understand why our impression was not so good..

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After that we explored Kyoto Station which is quite an interesting building. So much to see!! And there is a peaceful garden on top. This is really really high!! High for a building you don’t expect to be high. You can get to the top mostly by escalators and I think if you have a fear of heights it might unnerve you a bit.

 

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And seeing as I write about food, here are pictures of what we ate today!!

First a “sandwich” at Tully’s. It was a bit disappointing. Three slices of bread with a bit of stuff inside. It was nice and fresh though, I think I just wanted more.

For hubby’s birthday dinner we went to Hard Rock Cafe and got some nacho’s to share a couple of burgers and more Sangria!


While this has been our most pricey meal, it was really good!! And the service was pretty amazing too!!
We had been sitting there a little while and one glass of Sangria had already been drunk. I said to hubby “Honey it’s your birthday, you can have whatever you want!”
“Oh now you tell me” he replied, “We’ve already ordered!”
Whoops

On the way back we had to stop at Hommachi station. I was busy trying to work out the ticket machine and trying to work out how much it was going to cost us to get from Osaka to Hommachi. Hubby was still trying to work out what our route was going to be. He came up to me and said “Hommachi”? I said “180 yen”
I thought he’d said “How much?”
And as he normally does make that kind of joke, I really thought he was being clever but he was genuinely just confirming what station we were getting off at…

And to finish off this entry, have a look at the cute little socks I bought here!
I feel adorable with these on!


Tomorrow, we’ll eat local, I promise!

Vay Cay to Jay Jay – Part Eleven

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Thankfully the rain cleared and hubby and I were able to have a relaxed look around some of our favourite spots from last year.

We walked to our favourite Aeon Mall and once we were there, kind of wondered why we’d come.

I mean, there is a Starbucks there so hubby was able to get a coffee but apart from walking down the same shops, we didn’t see anything exciting.

Oh, actually I’m wrong, we did see a bakery with an interesting sign out the front.

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I keep forgetting to take photos of the interesting English translations that there are here.
I’m not having a go at the Japanese, after all, it’s not their language, I’m just having a little giggle. If I tried to speak Japanese I’m sure they’d have a big giggle!

After reading that sign I had to try some of their items and found that everything in that store was 100 yen!! That’s like $1.20 AUD! Bargain!!
I was so excited I forgot to take a photo of what we ate but here is a photo I took later. I wonder what they thought as they saw me come up and take photos shortly after purchasing and eating some of their goods.


The two things I photographed were savoury but they had amazing looking sweet baked goods too.

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We went to a liquor store and I took photos of the giant (four litre) bottles of alcohol.

I got hubby to hold a smaller bottle next to them for some perspective.

I’m sure you can get that kind of stuff in Australia somewhere but it’s not as readily visible as they seem to be in Japan and they’re a quarter of the price that you’d get it for in Australia.

After that we walked back to Dotonbori. This place is just amazing. Any kind of food you want and always stacked with people!!


And a couple of interesting pictures along the way….


Hubby and I tried to take selfies along the canal. I think I took about fifty seven but here’s two that just made the grade. I’m posting them both even though they look the same and are not really showing scenery because it took us so long to take them that I feel they both deserve internet space.


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And oh look, another sign that made us smile…

Lots of seafood here… if you love seafood you would be in heaven but unfortunately I don’t and was feeling quite queasy by the time we were walking out.


Look at all the people!! And this is on a Thursday morning. I think it was about midday…

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We really really really wanted okonomiyaki for lunch and had passed so many places that were doing it, but when it came time to eat, couldn’t find one place. Unbelievable!!

So we went to Red Rock. A place we’d visited last time we were here and had had a really yummy beef bowl.


One is a “sliced beef” bowl and the other is “roast beef” bowl. We couldn’t quite work out which was which but pretty much shared them anyhow.

IMG_3979OH….  and I had the worst Sangria I’ve ever had in my life in this place. The food was good, the Sangria was crap. It was like drinking cask wine.
I’ve had Sangria a couple of times since I’ve been in Japan and every time it’s been amazing!! Better than I ever expected so my expectations were high today. I was really let down.

I had to giggle though because I took this photo as soon as they were put down on the table and doesn’t it look like one has been drunk already??? I gave that one to hubby… after all, he’s not the wine person in this relationship!

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We went back to our apartment to recharge our devices (and ourselves) and set back out to see Dotonbori by night.

We walked and walked and walked. In fact we almost got to Osaka station!

Hubby was sorry he missed the AFL game last week and wondered if there was an “aussie” type pub here where he’d be able to watch it. Not only IS there a pub, but it’s pretty close to where we’re staying!!


The game is on tomorrow but we thought we’d check it out. It’s not traditional by any means by there were a few aussies in there and the soccer game they had was being played in Adelaide! So that made us feel at home.
The guy behind the bar said they’d be playing the Adelaide Crows game (AFL) tomorrow so no doubt we’ll be back!

Drinks were a little more expensive here though and I asked for a red wine which was 500 yen. I was more than horrified when I saw him take a glass up to a cask and pour me a red wine from that.
Cask Wine?
In full view of all the patrons?
I wanted to cry.
What did it taste like? Well, as it turns out, it tasted just like Cask Wine.
Okonomiyaki was still on our minds. We researched this a little bit before heading out and knew which Okonomiyaki place we wanted to go to tonight.

We watched the food being made as we were right near the kitchen

Pretty interesting place!!

While I was having mine I thought it was the BEST food I’ve had in Japan

Hubby had one too although I think his might have been pork.


We also got some rice to share.

The thing about the food here is that it can be quite rich and heavy with sauces. So it was great while I was eating it but it felt heavy on me for quite some time after.
In fact, I told hubby tonight that I think I want to eat “Western” tomorrow…

I may change my mind after a good night’s sleep! No plans for tomorrow yet although I’m wanting a trip to Osaka Castle so maybe it will be there!

Oyasumi!

Vay Cay to Jay Jay – Part Eight

Another beautiful day in Japan today! I love that we’re experiencing gorgeous warm weather. I think I might have to move here during the Winter months in Adelaide!

One thing I don’t understand is how the majority of people seem to be slim when their food is so processed and fried. The supermarkets are full of ready to go meals. Most of them are fried.
There are so many places that sell those delicious looking pastries and cakes and they all seem to be so highly processed!
You won’t easily find diet soda’s here and in fact there aren’t many “soft” drinks around. Actually it’s not really that hard to find it, especially as the West continues to have an influence, but it’s not as common as you’d find back home.

IMG_3817Hubby and I are almost out of ideas for what we want to do.
This morning we decided to walk to Ueno, have another look around and then maybe, eventually, make our way on foot to the Tokyo Metropolitan Building.

We stopped for a coffee at Starbucks. See that pic on the right? That was in their cake display. Alongside the delicious looking cakes they had a meat pie!!

We sat there enjoying the scenery in Euno park. It was very relaxing!

 

Next stop was Harajuko. I seem to get these places mixed up. I just didn’t remember going to these shops before!
Hubby says it must be wonderful being me, it’s like I’m experiencing it all for the first time every time I go there…
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We walked down Takeshita Street again and this time I noticed the huge Candy Canes!

Can you see it on the left?

It doesn’t look as big in her hands as it did when a four year old was holding one.

There was a huge line to get these as well!

We’ve been noticing a few places here that do Kebabs. I can’t imagine that they would be like “our” kebabs but today curiosity got the better of us and we had to get some.

 

One Beef and one Chicken.
They actually tasted not bad!

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I don’t know if you can notice the meat as it’s cooking.

Chicken on the left and beef on the right.

This guy was quite busy too!!

And alongside him was a place that was selling fries…

Moving right along…
After walking past the high end stores of Harajuku again, we decided to walk to Shinjuku.
I have to confess, I really love saying it. Shinjuku. There’s just something about that name!

IMG_3825We walked past the Meiji shrine and were amazed at how close it was to the station. Last year when we’d come here we’d gone via another station and walked a few kilometres to get to it.
The more you walk, the more you realise that so many stations are so close to each other that you probably don’t have to take the train as often as you think.

I found the display of the old wine and sake barrels very interesting.
Hopefully you can read the information in the pics below.

 


I just LOVE the Metropolitan Government Building.
Firstly, because it’s free to go up it!!

 

There’s great views of Tokyo from there and on a good day, you can even see Mt Fuji.
Today was not one of those days but we did see Fuji last time we were here.

 

Secondly, I like coming here because there’s a couple of gift shops and a restaurant.
Yes, the gift shops are slightly over priced but there’s not many people around and while hubby goes to have a coffee in the restaurant, I can take my time and really look at everything they have for sale.

I came away with a few goodies that are now tucked safely in my suitcase!

 


Another thing we love about Shinjuku is Brooklyn Parlor!!
We stumbled across this place last time by accident and this time, sought it out.

There’s just such a great atmosphere here!!! Hubby and I were definitely the oldest ones in there though.
We had a couple of drinks and shared some fries while giving our feet a bit of a rest.

As we made our way back I couldn’t help but wonder what side of the road we’re actually supposed to walk on. They drive on the left so you’d figure when walking on paths you should keep left. This is especially true as you share the path with so many bikes!!! Yet people don’t tend to keep left. I don’t think they stick to any side actually!

At the train station they have signs keeping you to keep left or right. Sometimes it’s left, sometimes it’s right.
When riding escalators, everyone keeps to the left… or right… (I love how they do that!!!) Leaving the other side free for people that want to race on by.

I was too late to take pics of our dinner but dumplings and rice made another appearance (not surprising)
I do like the food here but I’m not one who says I LOVE the food. I kind of miss having different vegetables and fruit. While you can have those things here, a lot of them tend to be very expensive and I don’t see them as a common thing being offered in restaurants.
I could be wrong, just what I’ve noticed in the short time we’ve been here.

Tomorrow is our last full day in Tokyo… I’m not sure what that day has in store yet!! Time to plan.