When I get a message on a Saturday to check if I'm interested to catch up for breakfast on Sunday morning, and I already know I have a busy Sunday planned, the logical thing would be to decline the invitation. But I've never been one to embrace logic, and instead I've always opted to embrace food, so I did the most sensible thing I could think of, and suggested that we keep breakfast local. A quick scan of the internet, and minutes later I was sending a text back to say that we should meet at Oak Room in Ashburton.

Located on the busy High Street, Oak Room is a perfect place for that impromptu weekend breakfast or brunch. The menu is reasonably vego friendly, and the staff are more than happy to modify dishes to suit dietary requirements.

We started with coffees, and I went with my usual, a latte. I'm always a fan of latte art, and whilst it was traditional, I had ot remark that it was well done. Of course, latte art means nothing if the coffee doesn't taste good, and lucky Oak Room didn't disappoint.

Onto breakfast, and it is a known fact that I can't go past fritters on a menu. Oak Room did them well, Mediterranean spiced corm fritters with rocket, avocado and a tomato salsa.The fritters were deliciously crispy on the outside, just how I like them, and the pairing them with tomato and rocket worked well.

We ended up staying at Oak Room well into the lunch time rush, but the staff were great and didn't hurry us at all. This cafe is definitely one to put into the rotation, and there are a few other things on the menu that I am keen to try!

Oak Room on Urbanspoon
To try and make work a little bit more fun, and to impose some food culture onto my colleagues, I’ve decided to implement a monthly offsite work lunch for my team. I know what you’re thinking, ‘one offsite lunch a month??’ But trust me when I say, this is a big step for us here.

Today, we decided to go to Taste of Singapore, which is a tiny little shop located away from the main strip of Clayton. This however does not deter customers, which is a testament to how good the food us. Although the name pays homage to Singapore, and there is the token crispy noodle dish, the owners are a Malay couple, and the menu is filled with traditional Malay offerings including mee goreng, mee rebus and murtabak. 

We went arrived just after midday and were told that there were no fried options available until 1pm when the burners are started, so our options were limited to rice. This wasn’t a problem at all, because biriyani was the daily special, and there was also nasi lemak available. 

My colleagues A and K ummed and aahed over the choices, but eventually A settled on biriyani with lamb rendang ($9.50) and K opted for nasi lemak with fried chicken ($7.50). I asked the friendly uncle at the counter what he could make for me that was vegetarian, and he suggested I have nasi lemak without the fried chicken and with some additional achar ($6.50). And so our meals were decided!

The service was quick, and before long we had our plates, covered in traditional waxed brown paper and heaped with rice and condiments. It didn’t take long for us to dig and we were all commenting on how delicious the food was. There was a real authentic Asian feel about it, the only thing missing was the 80% humidity that Malaysia or Singapore forces upon you!

Nasi Lemak
Biriyani with lamb rendang

Taste of Singapore is a local gem. It may require you to grab your own cutlery and water or cram you onto a small table, but all is forgiven when you taste the food and look at the bill.

Taste of Singapore @ Ida & Abas Kitchen on Urbanspoon
Taste of Taj is our local Indian joint, and lucky for us it's always delicious! I guess it has to be, given that it's in a Clayton strip that's filled with other Indian places, but Taste of Taj is always the busiest. Last night, my mum randomly suggested that we should go out for dinner there, and who was I to disagree!

Usually when I go, I always have a thali meal which consists of rice, naan, 2 vegetarian curries (a dhal, and one curry of your choice), raita and pickles, all for a measly $10, but last night I decided to break tradition and have gobi paratha instead.

Gobi paratha is one of my favourites. The cauliflower is grated into the dough, and flat breads are rolled out and cooked in the tandoor oven to give it that smokey flavour. This was served with pickles, raita and butter. I never eat the butter, but I demolished the raita and pickles.

Taste of Taj is a trusty local option where the food never disappoints!

Taste of Taj on Urbanspoon