The first thing we did with my family, of course, was go in hunt of some noodles to share. We wanted to go to Idea Fine Foods for their excellent combination of CNY and noodles but, alas, they have closed! Warm and hungry and slightly grumpy, we turned around and went to the Thai restaurant across the road, Sawasdee.
Up the stairs we found the mezzanine busy, but were quickly seated even without a reservation. Our waiter claimed that there was no fish sauce or shrimp paste in the vegetarian curry, so we took him at his word and ordered a green tofu curry and a dish of noodles. The curry was spicy but quite flavoursome, and it was a good meal. And there was a guy playing a piano! Which made me laugh.
On Sunday we jumped on the train and ventured out to Box Hill for yum cha. We were excited! I love going to Vegie Hut for a nice combination of yum cha menu and lunch menu, but upon our arrival we were disappointed to find out that, due to CNY, there was no lunch menu available! Only limited yum cha, and a special Chinese New Year menu. We can eat a CNY menu anywhere, we were there for yum cha! No radish cakes, no taro cakes, which was a bit disappointing, and if you can't order noodles than what is the point? Still, the grilled dumplings were good, as was the sticky rice, and we finally tried the four seasons buns. A word to vegans - the green bun is definitely kaya, which always contains egg (it is next on my list of Malaysian treats to veganise).
We ended up at Penang Affair on Brunswick Street for dinner. The uncle there was delighted to meet my mother, with whom he immediately started chatting (in Hokkien) to work out if they knew any of the same people (they did not, although they did remember the same restaurants of the streets of Georgetown some forty years ago).
My parents started with some popiah (vegatarian but contains egg so not vegan), which mum declared 'okay, not quite soft enough.'
Of course (of course!) we ordered a CKT, because I love the CKTs available at Penang Affair. We also ordered a couple of serves of roti, a sayor campor, and a really great gulai campor. The gulai campor was seriously delicious, and went perfectly with the roti. I also ordered a spectacular cocktail, containing a whole lot of fresh chillies, that was a little too much for me to finish.
Monday morning saw us at Grigons and Orr, to which I have been eager to return since our first visit in December. I ordered the pan-fried tofu in soy sauce, with a side of baked beans. It was delicious, but I'll be honest - it was nowhere near as delicious as the cous cous porridge of my previous visit. Orange juice was pretty tasty, and Julie really liked her mushrooms and toast (and her hashbrowns, which are not suitable for vegans).
We adventured out to St Kilda, where we had lunch at Lentil As Anything. My mum had watched a documentary (or something?) on Lentil as Anything, and was saddened to hear he was running out of money so was particularly interested in going. There were a lot of things not on the menu on Monday, and we suspect it's because their vegetable delivery had yet to arrive (it turned up as we were leaving). So my parents shared the mixed curry plate, and Julie and I both ordered the okonomiyaki. It was massive! Delicious, but massive, I had to grab a container from the Spud Bar next door and take the remainder home!
For Monday dinner we hit up Shakahari, dressing up and ordering cocktails. Danni and I shared the potato gnocci which was served in a tamari sauce with snow peas - it was odd but tasty. My parents shared the soup of the day, it had almonds and broccolini which didn't appeal to me but was apparently very good.
For mains I tackled the 'memory of medina,' cous cous with an eggplant curry. My mother, Malaysian to the core, picked the Malaysian curry. Danni and my sister both opted for the pie, filled with mushrooms and accompanied by giant garden salads. All verdicts were good, and my father decided that this was the best vegetarian restaurant I had brought him to all weekend, which is a compliment I suppose.
Then on to dessert, for which I was glad I had kept room, for Danni and I shared the mango rice pudding and it was delicious, oh so lovely. My parents had the fruit crumble which was light and tasty, and my sister the mango sorbet. Mangos all around! As it should be.
On Tuesday I took them to the airport, and that was the end of our CNY adventures with my parents (not, of course, the end of CNY adventures as there is yet time!)! It was super awesome that they were able to come across to share noodles and traditions with us, and bring us CNY goodies and an adorable tiger, as is custom.
There could have been more noodles, though.
Level 1 139 Little Bourke Street
984 Whitehorse Rd
325 Brunswick St
Grigons & Orr
Corner of Queensberry St and Chetwynd St
Lentil As Anything
41 Blessington St
201-203 Faraday St