Bruges by Boat

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Ash and I travelled to Europe recently and one of the cities we visited was Bruges in Belgium.
The city was incredibly charming and it was no surprise that Ashley and I fell in love with it very quickly, deeming it one of our favourite cities, despite being there for only a day.

One of the highlights of our trip was definitely taking the boat ride at night down the beautiful canals of Bruges. At €8 per person, it is something that we both strongly recommend doing if you are ever in this wonderful city!

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The boat tour was very enjoyable, and the idyllic ride really gave us a different view of Bruges.
Our guide was also very informative, pointing out different landmarks and explaining the history behind them. He also included some interesting personal information about some of the houses that we passed by too!

The water looked very calm, so much so that Ash had to go and mess it up by soaking his gloves and subsequently me as well…

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Belfort Van Brugge – The medieval bell tower in the centre of Bruges

While Venice is famous for their canals, I’d dare say Bruges was just as beautiful!
This holds true especially when you compare the bustling, touristy streets of Venice with the comparatively untouched beauty of Bruges.

I am very thankful that my European blogger friends, Mei and Elisa recommended Bruges to us!
Although I am quite sad that due to our decision of visiting Belgium over Netherlands, we unfortunately missed our opportunity to meet in person (after 7-8 years of knowing one another online!)

Netherlands is definitely a destination that we will visit the next time we head to Europe though.

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Ash and I pretty much knew nothing about this wonderful city, and so the trip definitely exceeded our expectations. We have even both agreed that it is a city we must revisit and to definitely allocate more time to explore it too.

If only Australia wasn’t so far away from the rest of the world!

What European country would you like to visit?

Okami Wantirna

My siblings and I are quite fond of Japanese food, and so when we heard there was a local All You Can Eat Japanese restaurant, we decided to give it a go. What a mistake this was.

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First impressions are important, so it was quite disappointing for us to be led to a table with a only 2 adult chairs and a baby high chair. To clarify, I booked for three people, never once mentioning the word ‘child’ or ‘baby’, so I was quite confused when us 3 adults were led to this table. Did they automatically assume 3 people equaled a couple with a baby? I’m not too sure. Either way, being brought to a table with incorrect seating, and then having to consequently wait an additional 5-10 minutes for them to carry a chair from downstairs (I’m not too sure why they didn’t just grab a chair from one of the spare tables upstairs?) left a bad, first impression.

menu

The ‘All You Can Eat’ menu was quite limited in choices, and for some odd reason, was in incredibly bad shape.

After waiting for a couple minutes longer than we would’ve liked, we finally got to order.
Absurdly, for reasons unknown to myself or my siblings, the waitress had the audacity to question us with, “TWO PLATES? IT FEEDS SIX” when we decided to order two plates of the Sushi & Sashimi Platter. Although we initially felt worried that maybe two plates was too much as the photo on the menu did look like a lot of food, we stuck with our decision to have two plates, as well as couple other dishes. However, despite this, we found it incredibly rude to have a waitress question you with such an incredulous tone, especially at an All You Can Eat restaurant.

After about 15 minutes, we received our first dishes…
two plates of Beef Capraccio and one plate of Prawn Gyoza.

capraccio

Although the Beef Cappracio was nice, they drowned it in a bit too much ponzu sauce, making it less delicious than others I have tried.

gyoza

The Prawn Gyoza tasted very similar to the frozen ones I’ve bought at the shops, and my siblings also commented that it tasted as if it had been microwaved.

The worst part of the rest of the night was the w a i t i n g game. Although we saw dishes after dishes of food coming out, the waiters always seemed to walk right past us and to other tables. After another 15 minutes (now total of 30 minutes that we’ve been waiting!), we were getting quite hungry when our plate of takoyaki and seaweed salad showed up!

 takoyakiseaweed

May I say, this was the most pathetic looking takoyaki I had ever seen, with it’s lack of mayonnaise and stingy amount of bonito flakes on top?! However, despite its look, the takoyaki tasted quite good (or maybe we were just hungry from all that waiting?), and we decided to order another plate. The seaweed salad was fine, nothing different than what you would get at Sushi Sushi.

While we waited, we noticed that the wait staff seemed incredibly disorganised. To paint a clear picture, we were seated near the kitchen / staircase, where all food are served from, yet somehow, the wait staff would breeze past us to the back of the restaurant with plates of food, only for them to come back to our table with one or two dishes. Watching this happen continuously really made us wonder whether the wait staff even knew the table numbers and the orders that were meant for each? This became particularly annoying when we concluded that many of the dishes we had ordered had gone to other tables instead, which would explain our long wait times whilst other tables seemed to continuously have food arriving.

tempurakaraage

Anyway, another 10 minutes passed (40 minutes in total since our first order), and our Seafood Tempura finally shows up …cold. How disappointing. The Chicken Kaarage follows shortly, after taking a nice trip around the restaurant only to come back to our table.

And just as we were about to ask WHERE our Sushi & Sashimi Platter was, ONE PLATE decided to show up!

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I’m not too sure how this was meant to feed SIX PEOPLE, but we promptly order two more plates, fearing that it would take ANOTHER 40 minutes to arrive. Note that we originally ordered two, but only one showed up. My brother did overhear a table nearby declaring they didn’t order a plate of sushi & sashimi when the waiter went to deliver it to them, so it is very likely that it was meant for us :/

harumaki

We received our plate of Vegetable Harumaki two minutes later, and it was definitely nothing to rave about.

At this point, I noticed that many other tables were receiving their ice cream orders, so again in fear of their long wait times, we decided to order our ice creams too. It was odd, yet I guess not so surprising at such an establishment, that they limited the black sesame and green tea ice cream to one scoop per person. Definitely not All You Can Eat, hey? So after successfully waving down a wait staff, we prompt ordered 3 green tea, 2 black sesame and 2 vanilla scoops. I am unsure why but the wait staff seemed quite confused and shocked that we were able to eat more than 1 scoop per person!

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And then FINALLY, after 45 minutes of waiting, we receive our Agedashi Tofu! At least it was hot…

15 minutes after this at 9:00pm, we received our lot of ice cream scoops, all in one rounds thankfully!

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And then 10 minutes later, we finally received our final two (or not final, because that original one still never made it to us) plates of Sushi & Sashimi! It was quite odd to have sushi and sashimi post-ice cream..

sushi

To end the night, we went downstairs to pay, only to have to wait awkwardly while some staff, who I assume didn’t know how to use the register, avoided our looks for assistance uncomfortably. During this time, another group from upstairs seemingly took advantage of this situation, as they waltzed straight out of the restaurant without paying.

Overall, we had a pretty awful experience at Okami and we vow never to return. At $29.90 per person, the prices are reasonable, but with the quality of service and food, it really begs the question on whether it was really worth saving a couple of bucks to have a cheap ‘All You Can Eat’. The obvious answer is No.

We rate Okami Wantirna a 1/10.

Okami Japanese Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Year of the Dog

Wishing everyone a Happy Lunar New Year! ♥
Here’s to a year filled with good luck, prosperity, success, health and happiness  <゜)))彡

◦ 恭禧发财 ◦

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Chinese New Year, this year a was little busier than usual. As it isn’t hugely celebrated in my family, we usually just have casual dinner with our immediate family. However, through odd circumstances, we ended up having more people attend dinner this year, including a relative from Malaysia and Ashley, who doesn’t usually attend our CNY dinners.

Thus, for this special occasion, we decided to do Yee Sang again (first time last year)!
Hilariously, my second-cousin was very shocked that we don’t usually do Yee Sang in our household, and then laughed when he saw the amount of salmon I had put on the plate (but that’s the best bit!?!)

The night was fun, and consisted of many funny stories over delicious food.
Having more people attend dinner made me think of how life may have been different if I had grown up in Malaysia instead, or even if we had a bigger family presence here. Many customs and traditions that are our cousins are so familiar with are lost to me and my siblings. On Facebook, I see that all my aunties, uncles and cousins are visiting each other during this auspicious time of the year, having multiple dinner celebrations; whereas, in Australia, I barely know any of my cousin’s names and the only thing celebratory is this one dinner we had together as a family.

  It’s interesting how growing up in different countries can make you feel like an alien to your own family.

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