Over the last few weeks, I’ve been lucky enough to see a couple of great musicals. I saw Singin’ In The Rain, and also The Sound of Music. Both were great, and you should take the opportunity to see them if you can! This also meant that I had to find options for quick, pre-show dinners in the city and we managed to find some good offerings.

Down on Swanston St there are a couple of Asian restaurants that I like to put in the cheap and cheerful category. Your Thai Rice and Noodle Bar is located just near the Lonsdale St intersection and is spread across two levels. There is counter, a small amount of seating and the kitchen downstairs, and upstairs there is more seating. One the night we went, I was starving, and I was willing to settle for anything that was affordable and had vegetarian options so I was more than happy to give Your Thai a go.

The menu is set up like a typical Asian menu, with lots of pictures, and very affordable prices. Myself and the other half both decided to opt for rice options. I chose to have the vegetarian tom yum with Rice whilst the other half went for a beef massaman curry.

True to the cheap and cheerful tag, both meals were served on plastic melamine dishes that were sectioned into to compartments for the rice and the curry. Tom Yum is one of my favourite flavours, and true to expectation, my dish packed a good amount of punch. It was also quite generous with the amount of vegetables and tofu through the sauce so I was happy.

The other half was also reasonably pleased with his dish. Again, there was a generous amount of meat through the sauce and a good amount of flavour so he couldn’t complain.

Your Thai Rice and Noodle Bar is not a restaurant you would go to for a fine dining experience, or to impress a date, but it definitely does a decent meal at a good price point. The service is quick, the décor is basic, and the quick turnover of tables means that there are a lot of Melbournians who appreciate what they have to offer.

Your Thai Rice and Noodle Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
This sponsored post is brought to you by Nuffnang and Singin’ In The Rain. 

We often forget how lucky we are in Melbourne. We have some of the best restaurants, an awesome laneway culture, great shopping, and these days we are also privileged to have some of the world’s great musicals play here.

I was fortunate enough to go and see Singin’ In The Rain last Friday. After a sold out West End season, four Olivier Award nominations and a major UK tour, Singin’ In The Rain is set to delight Australian audiences starting with Melbourne, and following with seasons in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

Admittedly, I didn’t know much about the musical. I had never seen the movie, and my entire knowledge of the show revolved around the title track, after all who hasn’t seen a clip of Gene Kelly singing and splashing about in the rain?! I could have done some research and read up on the story before I went to see the stage show, but I decided to go in blind so that I could get a genuine experience without any preconceived expectations.

Her Majesty’s Theatre is one of Melbourne’s grand theatres, and as we walked in to the hall, I thought of all the hundreds and thousands of performers who had graced the stage there. Like I said, we are certainly lucky to be in Melbourne.

Singin’ In The Rain tells the story of two silent movie stars, Don Lockwood played by Adam Garcia, and Lina Lamont played by Erika Heynatz, whose careers coincide with the cusp of the sound being introduced to the movies. Don and Lina are famous as the ‘it’ couple of the silent screen, but alas, Lina’s grating voice and inability to sing means that their time as a duo is looking shaky. Enter Kathy Selden played by Gretel Scarlett who is enlisted to be Lina’s voice behind the camera, throw in a love triangle and some comic relief from Cosmo Brown, played by Jack Chambers, plenty of 1920’s glitz and glamour, and you have yourself a great musical!

Adam Garcia draws on his dancing skills that led him to being one of the founding members of the Tap Dogs, and in Singin’ In The Rain, he is given the opportunity to showcase his talents. The star of the show is however, Erika Heynatz. She perfected Lina’s grating voice to a tee, and when the other half turned to me and said, ‘man she’s annoying!’ I knew she had mastered her role!

The trademark scene where Don Lockwood is singing and dancing in the rain is done superbly. 12000 litres of water are used each show (don’t worry, the water is recycled and reused!) and the first three rows of the theatre have been dubbed the ‘splash zone’ with patrons being given ponchos to protect themselves from the splashes! It certainly makes for a fun experience, and a word of warning, the splashes travel further than just the third row!

Playing for a limited season in Melbourne, Singin’ In The Rain is definitely not to be missed!
Given the warmer weather was still hovering late into April, perhaps it is not surprising that my kitchen was still full of garden produce.

Firstly, the avocado tree at my parents’ place was fruiting like crazy this year. I think there was about a hundred fruit picked in total, with the tree still full. It’s just that the fruit was way too high to reach, even with a ladder. The thing about avocados is that they don’t ripen on the tree. They need to sit in a bowl for about a week until they are ready to eat. This means, that you will go from having no avocados, to having a bowl full of avocados that need to be eaten ASAP! Having said that, avocados are worth close to their weight in gold, so when I started handing out avocados to my work colleagues to ensure nothing went to waste, I ended up being very popular!

My parents’ chilli plant is also full of fresh, and super hot chillies. I have been packeting these up and giving them to family friends who I know love hot food! In the Bengali culture, we have a superstition that chillies should not be gifted to anyone. The story goes that if you give someone chillies, the heat and fire from them will translate into the relationship and the friendship will be in jeopardy. To circumvent the superstition, Bengali aunties ‘sell’ their chillies for a small fortune of 5 cents. The monetary transaction means that it is no longer a gift, but a sale, and the friendship is not risked! It’s funny, the logical part of me knows this is completely ridiculous, but yet, it is something I have seen since I was very young, and so the practice is almost inherent in me! I still have lots of chillies left for myself, so I’m thinking about turning them into a chilli paste or chilli sauce.

At the start of the year I spent a whole month strictly shopping local. Whilst I can’t say this practice has continued 100% (it’s just not always financially practical), I have made some changes to some of the products I buy. One of these products is milk. I did a lot of research, and came to the conclusion that milk from St. David’s dairy was the best choice for me. The cows from which the milk is sourced are located mainly in Eastern Victoria and the dairy is located in Fitzroy where the milk is processed and bottled, which means there are very few food miles. It is not a cheap milk, at $3.80 for 2L, but given that it lasts me about 10 days, I feel like it is worth spending the extra money on. On a side note, it is also bloody delicious. I can definitely taste the difference between St David’s and the el cheapo supermarket milk.

This post is part of the In My Kitchen series hosted by Maureen from the Orgasmic Chef. Head over to her blog to see what is going on in other people's kitchens!
I pride myself on knowing the dedicated vegetarian restaurants around Melbourne, so when a friend suggested we have our regular catch up dinner at Sister of Soul, I was blindsided! I had never heard of Sister of Soul, and a little Zomato research revealed that it was a vegetarian restaurant! I had been blindsided! But on this occasion I was happy to have been blindsided, because I love discovering new places!

Located on Acland St, just across the road from The Vineyard, and on the diagonally opposite corner to the newest vegan café, Matcha Mylkbar, Sister of Soul is named so because it is a run by some of the team from the previous vegetarian institution, Soulmama.

We were there on a Wednesday night, and when we got there, the restaurant was relatively empty. I had a quick peruse of the menu, which read very much like a fusion menu. The dishes were a mixture of Thai, Indian, Mexican, a little bit of Italian, and some American. I’m usually wary of menus that are so diverse, I feel like if they do too many things, they end up doing none of them properly. Still, I took a plunge and ordered a Thai sounding curry, the Jungle Madness, which was served with rice.

The first thing I noticed about my dish was how generous the servings were. I was super hungry, so this made me very happy and my first box was already ticked. On the surface the dish looked hearty and wholesome, filled with lots of vegetables, big chunks of tofu, and lots of chilli. There was also a wedge of lime which I squeezed for added freshness and zing. When I tasted the dish, I knew I had made the right choice. It was full of flavour, and the sauce was thick and creamy. The ratio of sauce to rice was also appropriate, and it was clear that nobody was skimping on the curry. Overall I was very satisfied with my choice, and my meal made me very content.

My dinner date also made an Asian choice, The Green Sister Stirfry. This dish was filled with all the standard Asian green suspects, gai lan, wombok, bok choi, as well as tofu and cooked in a choice of sauces - satay was the sauce of choice on this occasion. Rather than being served with the standard jasmine rice, this dish was served with brown rice, making it a very healthy option. It was declared to be delicious, so it was evident that Sister of Soul definitely do Asian food well.

We decided to indulge and share a dessert between us. I am not a big fan of vegan desserts, especially when they try and replace the dairy component with tofu (think tofu cheesecake – gross), so we decided to try the Not So Rocky Road. This dish came out as a deconstructed rocky road, and looked gorgeous on the plate. There was a scattering of house made vegan marshmallows, cherry jelly, fresh strawberries, dark chocolate ganache, salted chocolate dirt, toasted almonds and coconut. When we put a little bit of everything on the spoon and into our mouths, the flavours combined beautifully together. Dessert was definitely a big hit!

Overall I was quite impressed with Sister of Soul. Having never heard of it before, I will now be adding it to my list of go to vegetarian restaurants! I have also dismissed my initial reservations about the diverse menu. Perhaps next time I go, I will have to try something from a different culture!

Sister of Soul Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato