Saturday, May 17, 2014

155 Restaurant

I was quite surprised when I discovered 155 Restaurant tucked in between the 1 2 3 Mart and the tattoo parlour. I usually pride myself on my keen observations skills so naturally I assumed that I had discovered a cool new dine-in Chinese restaurant hidden among the opshops and convenience stores on K'Rd.

Little did I know, that it was pretty well known to everyone else (much embarrassment!) but we trekked up there on a Friday as no one had actually eaten there before.

Complimentary Soup
It seemed as if the restaurant wasn't quite ready for us and the service didn't seem very attentive even though we were the only people there. The starter soup was very plain and needed a lot of salt. We were handed a salt shaker when we told the waitress and felt as if we were being very difficult customers.

Eggplant and Fish Casserole
Luckily, our experience became a lot better after the bland soup. The Eggplant and Fish Casserole arrived hot and bubbly and smelled amazing. The pieces of fish were incredibly soft and probably would have fallen apart had they not been battered. The eggplant was crispy on the outside and covered in a delicious, thick fishy sauce.

Steamed Organic Chicken
One of my co-workers was immediately put off by the steamed chicken and, I must admit, I found the head a bit scary to look at (this is why I don't usually have whole chicken at Chinese restaurants). The simple flavours of soy sauce, spring onion and coriander did very well to compliment the chicken. 

Stir Fry Gailan (Chinese Broccoli) with Garlic
We finished off with some gailan stir fried in garlic.  This is my go to veggie dish at at chinese restaurants but I often find that the gailan can be tough and stringy. Luckily, this wasn't the case here and I found that every piece was tender. The portion size was also quite generous and I was able to save some for lunch the next day!

Other than the complimentary soup, I found lunch at 155 Restaurant to be quite enjoyable. I also noticed that they had some very nice lunch deals which I think I will try on my next visit!

155 Restaurant is located on Karangahape Rd, Auckland CBD

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Masala Chai

Jason and I aren't really coffee drinkers. I used to be addicted to flat whites when I was at university, but have since moved on to tea because it doesn't make me jittery. We do visit cafes often though, but instead of coffee, we order Hot Chocolate for Jason and a Chai Latte for me.

However, frequenting cafes is not the best for the wallet so I started buying a chai tea mix from the tea store by my work. It was when I opened the packet that I realised that I could make my own! Now that winter has well and truly arrived, it is the perfect time to make up a batch of masala chai to enjoy while sitting under a blanket with a good book.

Tea and spices for masala chai
Masala Chai is a mix of warming spices and herbs brewed with black tea very popular in South Asia. There is no set recipe or method of preparation for masala chai and many families have their own version although they all contain a tea base, spices, milk and some form of sweetener. 

Crushing the Spices
Preparing the spices mix takes practically no time at all and the end result is very rewarding. It's quite comforting to know exactly what has gone into your drink instead of adding ready made syrups. An added bonus is that the toasting process fills your house up with the most beautiful aroma of warming spices.

I'm hoping that this will last us through winter but, judging by the rate we've been going through it, I think I should have made a bigger batch!

Masala Chai Mix 
Makes about 2 1/2 cups


2 Tbs green cardamom pods
4 whole star anise
4 4" cinnamon sticks
1 Tbs fennel seeds
2 tsp whole cloves
2 tsp whole black peppercorns
2 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 cup chopped candied ginger or dried orange peel
1 1/2 cups loose black tea


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C
2. Place all the spices in a baking dish and toast in the oven for 5 minutes
3. Lightly crush the toasted spices in a mortal and pestle (or use a rolling pin)
4. Add the candied ginger and black tea to the spices and mix well.
5. Spoon into a jar to enjoy all winter!

Brewing Instructions:
For two


1 cup boiling water
1 cup milk
1 Tbs Masala Chai mix 


1. In a plunger, pour the boiling water over the chai mix and let steep for 5 minutes. The tea will become bitter if you leave it too long. Alternatively, you can put the mix into a tea bag or mesh ball.
2. While the tea is brewing, heat the milk in a saucepan or in the microwave.
3. Mix the hot milk and strained tea and sweeten to taste.
4. Enjoy :)