So whenever a macaron baking session fails and they turn out like rocks that belong in your garden, natural instinct is to give up and go eat out instead.
And with the sheer variety of choice here, yummy prices, and the amount of times my macarons do not end up turning into macarons, I'm going to be at Cambridge Forum a whole heap. Coming here TWICE within 15 hours maximum has set a personal record thats gonna be hard to beat.
I'd say impressive, and not even slightly gluttonous, no matter how I try to look at it.
(But in all seriousness, it's hard not to be).
|Teh Tarik - $3.50|
Having one sole drink store in the food court seems to be how Cambridge Forum and Spencer Village like to operate. It was a sad moment when I saw the choice of a coffee cup to hold our Teh Tarik in, when I'm so used to downing the stuff in something like a beer mug instead of sipping it daintily from a delicate coffee cup.
As it wobbled and slid en route to our table, I was really wishing for a bigger cup. And bigger handles!
|NOT a coffee|
Unfortunately this layer is not due to the pulling technique, but from a normal, commercial coffee machine's steam wand. It tastes nice, but not as satisfying a teh tarik as I'd hope for.
|Assam Laksa - $9|
The Assam Laksa at the Malaysian Hawker store is a weekend specialty only, in all its gluggy glory. Its intense aroma instantly travelled into our nostrils - the salty, the spicy, the sour elements in the dish instantly recognisable.
Unlike conventional laksa, there's no solid meat in this. Fish is minced and ground up into the soup, which carries a sourish tamarind-like taste. The soup is gritty and thick from all the minced fish and pungent shrimp paste that makes laksa so unique. A full on breakfast, but it's hard to get full on just a bowl of noodles, onions, pineapple and lettuce shreds!
|Vegemite Chicken Rice - $10.50|
"How do people even like this s#!t!!!", my 8 year old brain thought. (If my vocab was already that vulgar).
And to this very day, I still stay true to my opinion, but to a lesser extent.
|Why would you eat a slice of bread for breakfast ever again?|
Ladies and gentlemen, vegemite chicken, is about to change everything. Your like/dislike for vegemite, your diet, and unfortunately, your size. Please go and try the marmite chicken dish from Hawkers Cuisine in Northbridge if you haven't already, for your own good.
|Those vegemite-on-toast days are long gone...|
I blame the chicken that's cut up into very small bite sized pieces, which is convenient to eat but gives you a mouthful of batter instead that overrides the meat taste. And while vegemite sauce sounds disgusting in the mind, the sweet caramel flavour in the mouth is another delicious story.
|Mini Shanghai Dumplings - $4.20|
At Wembley Dim Sum in the food court, you can get your Dim Sum fix easily, minus the hassle of fighting for a parking bay and minus the risk of getting lukewarm, unfresh Dim Sum baskets that have ran a few tiresome laps around the dining floor.
|Our doughy babies|
Unfortunately, as tough as the dumpling skin appears, it ripped on the way to my mouth. Thinness is not the problem, but rather because every 1 of those 4 dumplings stuck ever so tightly to the sheet of paper beneath them. Impossible not to cause leakage of hot soup inside.
Which saved my life. (My tongue).
|Birds eye view has never looked so good!|
I used to eat all my dim sums with vinegar in rain, hail or shine, but I've gotten over that stage. A dash of vinegar might enhance their taste sensation, but I prefer to go without. Sourness can really distort the original flavour too easily.
|2 Meat Curry Combination with Dhal & Rice - $11.50|
Not feeling particularly inspired by the mainstream Asian stores even after a few laps around the food hall, I opted for the nice smelling Wembley Curry House, with all its ugly brown food giving off beautiful aromas.
It's hard to make a choice if you take the 2 meat combination offer. Ultimately, we went for the Lamb Rogan Josh and the ubiquitous Butter Chicken, and a bonus of one more vegetable choice! It is messy (to eat AND to look at), but oh so tender and satisfying.
|My mighty good looking and tasting curry beef and chicken with dhal and potatoes for breakfast.|
Served warm, a glass of this goes down a treat.
|Bak Kut Teh - $10.50|
This dish already has all the hotness it needs (temperature wise). In with the tasty soup is a party chock full of pork on the bone, vegetables, tofu and plump Chinese mushrooms. After working your way through all this and leaving yourself with nothing but soup, you can make yourself another meal by ladling the soup over the plain steamed rice.
A steaming hot Bak Kut Teh has got to be one of the most comforting dinner (or lunch or breakfast and everything in between) meals ever.
|Tom Yum Soup - $10.50|
So out of the 4 stores offering it, I ended up at Malaysian Hawker AGAIN. There hasn't been a time I have diverted away from them. And I am glad I chose them to be my Tom Yum provider, for it fully justified the comment "Oh my god that looks so good" that a stranger made when walking past my table.
Indeed it was, you have good taste.
Afraid that this hot and sour soup would be too hot and too sour for me, I had no reason to be. This could have just been my appetiser, for each consecutive spoonful whetted my appetite and made me progressively hungrier. Loaded with fish balls, chicken, onion, fish cake, broccoli, snow peas, carrots, mushrooms, beansprouts and prawns (PHEW!) AND noodles, utterly delicious.
First spoonful, I died. Every other spoonful after that, I'd gone to heaven.
And when I emptied out the bowl, I came crashing down to Earth.
|My 3rd Tom Yum on my 3rd visit in (probably) 3 weeks. Too good.|
|Chicken Rice - $8.50|
The Singaporean store just about sold me with their advertised boneless chicken rice, before an invisible force pulled me next door to its neighbour, Malaysia.
And to my joyful discovery, Malaysia's chicken is also boneless! Hurrah!
|More skin than meat that meets the eye|
The chilli sauce the dish is served with is a little on the watery side, but still a good accompaniment to the chicken. The chicken is passable but not at its best as it could be, if it were smoother and the skin not as dense and "fat".
|Steamed Custard Buns - $4.20|
And you can be sure that the centres in these will flow like a river, filling your mouth with a creamy golden liquid (and the table, if you aren't fast enough).
|Big round white balls|
Although more suitable to eat at the end of the meal, it is wise to eat these at the beginning instead when they are hot and at their absolute best liquid state.
I cannot lie, I like big buns. And get my hands on them ASAP.
|Plain Rice Flour Roll - $4.20|
Usually fillings like pork or prawns are rolled in between the sheets, adding texture (and protein!) but these vegetarian rice flour rolls' simplicity are just as good.
|The still life of deliciousness|
The movement looked beautiful on my camera screen, until I realised what was happening and threw down my camera to rescue it.
Just one more second...
And I would have been licking my tissue.
So when one mentions the words "food court", what comes to mind is usually mediocre, mass-produced edible items that can sometimes be referred to as food. Having grown up in one (sort of), this is not the case and Cambridge Forum here is also far from that misconception. And after a sit back in my chair rubbing my tummy satisfaction level kind of dinner here, home, die in bed, and come straight back here for breakfast situation, it is my home away from home (whenever food is needed)!
And while most food courts generate business via random foot traffic and provide convenience food, this food court provides purpose food - people actually come here for it specifically, and not just because they need a tummy filler after emptying out their fortune after shopping for 5 hours. Perhaps AFTER late night shopping in the city, as Friday night here was one big busy food party with LOTS of hungry attendees.
A spacious complex with lots of parking, complete with an indoor playground and mounted televisions makes a very comfortable family environment. Good news for families, but not exciting news for those intolerant to excessive noise and movement when dining out. The food hall ambiance is inescapable, but the layout is clean and comfortable. Just behold and beware the prominent NO OUTSIDE FOOD ALLOWED warning upon entering!
It's all about honest, inexpensive good feeds here, and grab your own cutlery and provided wine glasses (yep, BYO!) from the central table type of place. I was given $20 to go crazy with, and while that could get me a stingy entree elsewhere, you can get as crazy as 3 dishes here with a red note. And food delivery to your seat means you possibly see more service here than you would at a restaurant where getting your food requires you to get off your ass.
And THAT, is precisely the reason why all my pants are getting too tight for me.
(08) 9383 9318
Tues - Wed: 11am to 9pm
Thurs - Sun: 11am to 9.30pm