Monday, April 6, 2015

King Tiger, Franz Joseph, New Zealand

All right, while we were travelling south Island, we came over to Franz Josef.  It was one bad gloomy day, rainy like cats and dogs, not a shred of sunshine. We drove in, checked into our hotel and then went driving first to the Glacier View point. As luck would have it, nothing was visible and then we drove down to town for some snacks. As I mentioned, there were hardly two streets and its probably more like a village. 

We decided to go to King Tiger, which seemed to be a Thai and fusion restaurant.  Parked our car and the scenario was perfect. The rain had subsided, it was drizzling, and the restaurant had a bit of an open air area. As we entered, there were two parts, one was the covered restaurant which was dark with a deep red shade and sort of a mystic feel. The open area was covered, had a bit of a fire and what surprised me was the fact that on the background there were Hindi songs being played slightly. Wow, in the remote place of NZ, we find a Thai fusion restaurant and playing Bollywood songs. The menu had both an Indian menu and Thai menu.

We ordered for Indian Starters- a mixed platter and masala tea. We seemed to be enjoying the scent of the rain, the slight breeze, the fire which was warming up the environment.  The non veg starter platter came through. It had onion fried crumble or the onion bhajji, 2 vegetable samosa’s , 2 portions of seekh kebab, 2 portions of chicken tikka.  Now initially I was a bit overwhelmed with the fact that I was getting Indian Starters in such a remote place. However the euphoria was short lived.  The onion crumble was ok. The samosa weren’t that great. The tikkas and seekh kebabs were very poor. Quantity wise as well as from a taste perspective. So it was truly a big let down. The masala tea on the other hand was wow. Really good and they served it in a very big kettle, which got us about 3 servings of tea. The tea was simply overwhelming and wow.
Next, we ordered Thai red curry and that was again very delicious. Very simple, fresh and crunchy vegetables and delicious. The quantity was good and I loved this dish.

So all in all, Go to King Tiger for a good ambience, have a few drinks, order a few starters. But whatever, you do, I think please avoid the Indian food.


70 Cron Street 
Franz Josef Glacier 

Phone: 03 752 0060
Fax: 03 752 0656

King Tiger - Easern Eating House & Bar on Urbanspoon

Hogs Breath Café, Port Stephens.

Now we were on our last day at Port Stephens, started driving from Soldiers points, and drove past the marina, to the various bays on route, and then to Anna Bay. It was close to 3 in the afternoon and we were massively hungry. In Anna Bay, there was a small little eatery, but we wanted something sumptuous and relaxing and hence we drove all the way back to the Port Stephens Marina.  We went over on the first floor to Hogs Breath Café. 

One of the reason for this was the fact that from a very long time I was craving for the typical Aussie dish of grilled chicken breast served with mash and gravy, asparagus and something like that. I have had that previously in Adelaide quite a few times and unfortunately, I don’t seem to get it very easily. Looked at Hog’s breaths menu and reckoned that it might have it.

The décor was interesting, more like an outback grill, with wooden interiors. It seemed a bit American as well. We chose to sit outside on the balcony, with a view of the yachts and the blue waters. Looking at the menu, there were quite a few options –especially for us with no beef no pork options. There were quite a few starters, veg and chicken. Then there were the burgers and the wraps, as well as the fish burgers and sea food varieties.
Well for us, we decided to order a mixed starters – which had the salt and pepper calamari, along with the chicken tenders, spring roll, hoggies loaded potato skins- the sicilian. For mains I ordered a chicken Mushroom and Feta.

Well the order did take a bit of time. The starters looked lovely.  The spring rolls very freshly fried and crunchy. The chicken tender were fresh and well fried as well. What I loved was the potatoe skins, which basically were half potatoes, carved out and filled with chese and onion tomato and baked to perfection.  This was yum. The best starter was the salt and pepper calamari. Now we have had calamari at so many places and it always is a bit chewy and difficult to cut. But this was wow, unbelievably soft and delicious. I can tell you I have never had fresher and softer calamari ever. This was yum.
All in all this mixed platter of starters was really a good one.

Next, we had the chicken and mushroom feta. Now this dish when it arrived looked yum. A grilled chicken topped with a creamy white sauce with mushrooms, the famous hogs breath curly fries and some boiled veggies- corn, broccoli, and carrots. As I dug into the dish, I think it fell short of my expectations. The grilled chicken was a bit too bland. The creamy sauce with mushroom tasted good, but didn’t exactly mix well with the chicken and it was a bit too bland for me.  The curly fries were good, the veggies ok, but it was something about the chicken breast which made it a bit too bland and the chicken was too stringy. So didn’t come up to what I was expecting.

Nonetheless a great afternoon,  great location and views and I would definitely suggest going to hogs breath café. Try the starters and enjoy the great waterfront views.

Shop 16, Upper D’Albora Marina, Teramby Road, Nelsons Bay, NSW2315

02- 49842842

Hog's Breath Cafe on Urbanspoon

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Harry’s Café De Wheels

Now this is Sydney’s classic. My first tryst with Harry’s Pies was way back in 2009, when a friend took me over to Harry’s saying this is the true Aussie meal. Back then I didn’t have an appreciation of pies. But over the years, if there is anything which I have loved in Australia, it is the pies. And to top it all is Harry’s Pies in Sydney. Initially I had gone to the one next to Capitol Theater in the city. The regular order was the chicken and mushroom pie. 

The pie served with ketchup as it is, is anyways the regular. But then when you go to Harry’s , order the tiger. It comes served with one of harry’s fresh pies, topped with mashed potatoes, followed by peas and then topped with gravy. This is just yum. The tower, or the stack or as Harry’s calls it- the tiger.  There are other combinations such as simply the pie and ketchup, pie and peas, pie and mash.

There many locations now. There is the one at Capitol Theater in the city. Next there is one at Woolloomolloo, next to the naval base and the Blu O hotel. This is the original Harry’s Pie Café de Wheels, from way back 1930’s.

The latest one I have covered is the one at Strathfield on Parramatta Road. The chicken an mushroom gravy is yum, but try the curry chicken Pie and it is amazing. My favourite.
If you are at Harry’s you get a chance to look the pictures of all the celebrities who have visited harry’s and it is quite a vast range. From sportsmen to Hollywood stars quite a diverse range of celebrity pics. Now, you get a choice to also have the pasties with pies and mince, hotdogs. And to gulp all of it down, try the thick milkshakes. I have tried the caramel one, to be onest, the chocolate one is my favorite.
Most pies are about $5 abd the tigers are $7.50.

Corner Cowper Wharf Roadway & Brougham Road, Woolloomooloo, NSW 2011
374 Parramatta Rd, Burwood, NSW 2134
Hay Street (near crn of George), Outside Entrance of Capitol Square Shopping Centre – Next to Paddy Maguires Pub, Haymarket, NSW 2000

Harry's Cafe de Wheels on Urbanspoon

Harry's Cafe de Wheels on Urbanspoon

Harry's Cafe de Wheels on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Trailer Sixty 6, Garston, New Zealand

All right, this one is about a food truck in Garston, New Zealand. We had started from Lake Wanaka, driven through the Cardona Range, by the sides of Lake Wakitipu, towards Te Anau. On the way, we came across a small little village – Garston, which had the famous Honey Shop. While I write separately about the Honey Shop, I was hungry and after visiting the honey shopped, I inquired if there was any food and I was asked to go to the food truck right next to the shop outside. Well there was a nice little space with flags of hot food, a shiny steel silver truck and perfect New Zealand pure air with a scent of flowers. 

The menu was limited, as it was a food truck. There was bacon and egg roll, salmon and cream cheese in a bagel, cheese burger, lamb burger, basil chicken, the monster burger and American style hot dog. In the drinks you can order a wide array of coffee’s and teas. Now when we came in the chicken was sold out, pork and beef out of scope for me. The one thing which I wanted and I had been craving for was the Lamb Burger.  The lamb burger was served in a short while. I usually ask for mustard, but the young lady who runs the truck indicated I may not like it, considering that the burger had tzatiki. When the burger was served, oh, it was love at first sight. Just like in the movie, Kumar and Harold, Kumar dances with the big bag of weed, I was euphoric and emotional seeing this lamb burger, my first in New Zealand and all nervous how it would be. 
The buns looked perfect, the patties was a large thick one. It was much bigger than my mouth could open, yet, I gave it all my love. The big bite. The burger was wow. Very yum. It had parmesan cheese, a good fried patty, tzatziki and rocket. The taste of tzatziki was wow, which mixed with the burger was unbelievable. The lamb patty was good. There is one particular taste which I did miss in the lamb. The lamb patties was a bit bland, but then the taste with the tzatziki and parmesan cheese was really wow. All in all, I loved it and hence this blog. Highly recommended. I did speak to the young couple who were cooking and it seems they had come over from Scotland and were travelling and working for the last two years in NZ. The young lady who was running the truck was also quite friendly and mentioned, she had also stayed many years back in Australia in Woolongong.
All in all, if you are driving by Garston, you cant afford to miss this food truck.

SH 6, Garston, New Zealand

+64 210 243 0699

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Pedro’s House Lamb, Queenstown, New Zealand

The jewel of Queenstown is the single menu takeaway joint- Pedro’s House of Lamb. Situated on Gorge Road, this place is wow. I had heard so much about this place, that this was on my wishlist. In fact I came in the morning to buy groceries to the fresh world and realized, this was just opposite. 
This place is a simple outlet, with just takeaway. Their specialty and the only item on their menu- Lamb shoulder, slow cooked and baked. As I drove in the evening, luckily there wasn’t too much of a rush and may be I was a bit early.  It’s a pretty shop with great tiles and colors for interiors. As you order, there are aluminum baking trays which is loaded with a whole lamb shoulder from the oven.  It is served with garlic, rosemary and scalloped potatoes. Once the  lamb along with the potatoes are served on the tray, its topped with some of the stock or the lamb juice, and then sealed with the cover. It is then put into a cardboard carton with newspaper and provided for the car.
As we head back to our room at Earnslaw Lodge, with a room having a view overlooking the enormous Lake Wakitipu, the sun setting behind the mountains, it couldn’t be a better and perfect set up for us to open the lamb. We bought a cheese batana and sliced it, toasted it and served with butter and the lamb. Perfect. Now the lamb was well, amazing. 
It was gently roasted on the top, crispy, and as you dig in, you would just be surprised at house gently the knife glides into the lamb. It is unbelievably soft. Now I  am at times concerned with a very strong flavor of the lamb which does not do good with me, but this one was well without the strong flavor. There was a lamb flavor, but it wasn’t too strong and blended well with the potato and garlic. Soft portions of the meat with some fat and and great flavors. I was impressed with the lamb shoulder, the softness, the well mixed combination with the garlic and potatoes. The bread with the butter and lamb was great. All in all, loved it. I would highly recommend this joint and it gets a full 5 on 5 from me. Value is great. Lamb shoulder for $40, not bad. Quantity is enormous. They say it is good for 2, but ask me, Id say for 3-4 people. We couldn't finish the entire amount, so packed it and had it for lunch next day at Mount Cook.
All in all, Id say the best lamb shoulder I have ever had and highly recommended.

47, Gorge Road, Queenstown, New Zealand 

Pedro's House of Lamb Queenstown on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Fergburger, Queenstown, New Zealand

Have you ever seen those American movie like Snatch by Guy Ritchie, where some one is at immigration in America and they ask” Anything to Declare”. The guys in turn says, don’t go to England – fish and chips, tea and bad weather and rain. Likewise, if anyone were to asl about Queenstown, the things Id say is awesome city, swiss alps of the southern hemisphere, skiing , Ferg Burger and Pedro’s lamb.
 Now Fergburger, is right at the heart of the city and some have termed it as the best burgers in the world. You wouldn’t be surprised, that there is a line, and big line outside the store almost throughout the day. It’s like this big nonstop event, people just don’t stop pouring in. Apparently the store is usually open for 22 hours in a day. The menu is quite diverse.  A whole array of beef, chicken, fish and hamburgers.  We reached here at 4 in the evening and it was full. There is limited seating in the shop itself.
I ordered the Lamb Burger and the Kids chicken burger. Now usually I have been in the search of the perfect lamb burger for quite some time. This would be a thick juicy lamb patty, along with an interesting amount of cheese, and other accompaniments.  Now the burger here was really interesting.  The lamb in New Zealand is supposed to be famous. It was I must admit the most unique and tasty burger I have had. Contrary to my expectation, this actually had a thin lamb patty. The taste was unique cos it had a sweet taste. It had mint jelly along with lettuce, onion tomato. There was aioli,which gave t a creamy texture and a tomato relish, which made it a bit tangy. So all in all, an interesting one, an amalgamation of a tomato relish, with mint jelly and aioli just tasted yum.  Well, let me tell you that it was so yum, that I came next day and had it again.
The next burger was the Spring Chicken burger, which is in the kids burger section. I wasn’t sure how big the regular burgers would be and if two burgers might be an overkill. Now usually when I have chicken burgers in Australia, I see there are these big chicken breasts which are very stringy and bland, topped with a whole lot of sauces. Now this one was a simple and basic burger. Chicken tenderloins, grilled, along with lettuce, cheddar cheese, tomato. The lettuce was crunchy, the chicken was juicy. And the mix with tomato sauce and mayonnaise was great. The fact that something so basic, and it was unbelievably delicious. I loved it.
So good were the Fergburgers, that next day I went it again. Again, had the Lamb burger. The the new burger which I had was the Bombay Chicken burger.  This one had a again chicken which was marinated in the western Indian style. When I saw western Indian- it’s an interesting cos it was the western view and palate of acceptable Indian taste which meant it was mild. It did mention it was marinated in a chilli, ginger and coriander yogurt with cucumber raita, lettuce tomato, red onion, aioli and mango chutney. Phew. What a combination. Well to be honest, I initially jumped out of my pants to see an Indian version of the burger here. The taste was yum. It was a big burger, the chicken was juicy. The mint chutney, yogurt, aioli made it quite soft and creamy texture, and the marinated chicken gave it a mild Indian touch.  All in all another lovely burger.
I sides, I tried the crumbed calamari and I was expecting rings, but these were calamari triangles like dorito’s and very coated bread crumbs and deep fried. Lovely.
Most of the burgers are in the range of $12 -$15, which makes them extremely affordable.
What I loved about the Fergburgers is there combinations of accompaniments, the amalgamation of flavors. Just yum. Usually burger joints are more gaga about beef and pork and may be one version of the chicken, but here, it was wow, no discrimination. There was seven varieties of chicken burger,  one fish burger, and 2 veggie burgers. It is truly for the love for the burgers.
They do have fries with various sauces and onion rings in sides. The joint also sells beers and wines.

All in all Fergburger impressed me and I wish I can go there again sometime in the future. If you are in Queentown, you have to visit this jewel.

42, Shotover Street, Queenstown

Fergburger on Urbanspoon

Guruji Indian Store Samosa, Christchurch

All right, this is a bit of a different review. I usually write about food joints and so, you may wonder, how come I write a review about the Indian Store. Well, we were in Christchurch, about to commence with our 10 day tour across the south island on a self drive itinerary. Now I would highly suggest and recommend to stock up the supplies at Christchurch itself before you embark on the journey ahead. Being of Indian origin, we did want to stock up indian supplies and I suspected there wouldn’t be too many options in most of NZ. In fact, not just South Island , but even in Christchurch, there are very few Indian stores in Christchurch.  Guruji is one of the big ones.

Well along with regular groceries, the thing that makes me write this review is the snacks at this store. Well, it was morning 11 aprox and a fresh load of samosas had come over. The special samosa was the corn and cheese samosa. Well, these freshly fried samosas with a load of cottage cheese and sweet corn, was simply out of the world. The shop also serves masala tea. Tell you the truth, we had an awesome breakfast by the car in the parking with masala tea and the samosa’s. The samosas were so good that we went in for a second round followed by another round packed for the route.

Highly recommended.

1/103 Gasson St Sydenham, Christchurch, NZ
Postcode: 8023
Phone: 03 374 5222
Fax: 03 374 5221
Mobile: 021 617 352
Store hours: 9:00 am - 6:30 pm Open 7 Days