Love Exposure (Restaurant Review)

Blog, Restaurant Review

On our way to Mt Eden after watching Tully (great film BTW, I definitely recommend watching this one), my father and I kind of stumbled across Love Exposure. We went from planning on eating somewhere in Mt Eden, to seeing Nandos and deciding that would do instead, to noticing Love Exposure from the opposite side of the road and wanting to know more… What type of place was this? What was it called? What sort of food did they offer? The neon lights and the Brothers Beer sign drew us in.

Overall: It’s not going to suit everyone, but if you like Asian Fusion food or want to try something a little different, I would definitely try it out.

Where are they?

They are located at 191 Dominion Road in Mount Eden. They are on the corner of Dominion Road and Onslow Road and they’re pretty hard to miss as the entire place is lite with neon lights!

What sort of vibes were going on?

From the get-go, the vibes are great. They had music playing in the background and there were plenty of people packing the seats up, so there was an awesome buzz going on. The neon colours and what would usually seem like tacky decorations create a fun and bubbly environment. As I say, the decor is something that would usually be considered tacky… yet, somehow, they make it work!

There are three different ‘areas’ that you can be seated – two inside areas and one outside area. It looked like they had room to cater for some bigger groups, as well. I enjoyed sitting on a mermaid patterned seat!

So what’s their service like?

They seated us as soon as we walked in, giving us the option of sitting inside or out. They then presented us with the menu (unfortunately a little hard to read under the neon lights, but not impossible) and came back a few minutes later to take our order. The food was served to us really fast – although it should be noted that things didn’t turn up all at once, which was fine as we were sharing food. They also came back to check up on us later, which is always a nice little touch and works out well in regards to ordering more drinks (or food if you didn’t pick enough to begin with).

Fast service, funky decor and flavoursome food! 

And their food?

Extremely tasty. We ordered the Vietnamese spring rolls, the free-range chicken satay skewers and the grilled pork shoulder with lettuce cups. All of the meat was beautifully flavoured. My only wish was that we had more lettuce (or rice) to help compensate for the flavoursome meats. Perhaps we can adjust our order accordingly next time! I also got a Lemmy lemonade and my father got some good ol Brothers Beer.

I enjoyed that each dish has an aspect where you were involved. We had to wrap our spring rolls in lettuce and dip them in a sauce, we had to dip our satay skewers in the satay sauce and then sprinkle peanuts on top and we had to wrap our pork shoulder in a lettuce leaf and top it with this delicious sauce.

A lot of the food is also gluten-free (bonus for me!) and there were a few vegetarian dishes on offer too. The food ranges from $10-$16 and I think it’s recommended to share the dishes. As mentioned above, my father and I purchased three between us. The only potential downside to the food is that all of your pictures turn out pink!! (See below)

 

Brunch Club: The Lula Inn

Blog, Blogging World

Yesterday I went along to my first NZ Bloggers Brunch Club event and it was fantastic! The location for this month’s Brunch Club catch up was The Lula Inn and we participated in their “Bottomless Brunch”.

We planned to meet at 11am for our two-hour booking, but in order to catch a ride into town (because I currently can’t drive due to my arthritis), I arrived around 9:30am. I figured I could find a cafe somewhere and get a coffee while I waited, but as I walked past The Lula Inn, I thought I would try and see if I could be seated early. To my delight, I was taken over to our table and ordered myself a coffee. Now, they did accidentally forget about my coffee but I’ll forgive them as they offered me a Prosecco ‘while I waited’ – how kind – and I got my coffee in the end (and it was a really good coffee).

It turned out I wasn’t the only one who was early – the delightful Danielle turned up and kept me company before everyone else arrived! Our table was set up with the menu and our glasses ready to be filled over and over again. It was so awesome to have a chance to meet other bloggers, especially since I’m quite new to blogging! Everyone was so friendly and easy to get along with. We began talking, ordered our food and continued to drink the morning away – I had lots of OJ, but their Citrus Boost Soda was rather tasty too. I ordered the Cured Salmon Potato Hash (with poached eggs, horseradish, beet kraut and watercress) for brunch and boy, was it delicious! The eggs were perfectly cooked on a wide/flat potato hash (first time I’d seen it like this before) and the mixture of flavours was superb.

What were my impressions of The Lula Inn?

I had walked past The Lula Inn previously but never ventured inside before. The first thing I thought to myself was “wow”. I absolutely adored their interior designs, their fabrics and patterns and of course, their foliage. The general vibe is modern, fresh and relaxed. The service I received was top notch (despite the coffee delay) and whenever I asked someone for attention, they kindly served me straight away. They had a DJ playing some tunes while we were there and although it was occasionally hard to hear what people were saying, it was nice to have good music playing in the background.

When I first heard about the “Bottomless Brunch”, I wasn’t sure if it would be worth it, seeing as I don’t drink a lot of alcohol but I can safely say that I would definitely recommend going to The Lula Inn and experiencing their “Bottomless Brunch” for yourself. I would actually be quite keen to go back again!

If you’re a blogger, come along to the next event and say hi! The Brunch Club is such a cool way to network and connect with others who have similar passions as you. Thanks to the ladies who organised the event!!

Hello Friends & Allies (Café Review)

Blog, Cafe Review

Overall: Hello Friends & Allies is my absolute favourite local café.

Where are they?

They are located at 93 Great South Rd, Epsom, which is known as ‘the Market Road Shops’. It’s a prime location, being situated at an intersection with four directions filled with hungry customers. It’s parking, however, is not so prime. I often feel like swinging by to grab a coffee or a cabinet treat, but sadly end up driving away as the parking is too hard. Sunday before 10am is the best time for a park, as the bus lane is open and most people haven’t got out of bed yet! There is also a side street close by and you may just have to earn your food by walking a little bit to get there.

There are plenty of different seating options, either out the front or out the back – both providing different but lovely atmospheres.

So what’s their service like?

I have not once turned up here and been disappointed. The service is wonderful and the staff seem happy to be working there. They could potentially take orders a wee bit faster sometimes, though. They are also responsive to images/comments on Instagram which is an added bonus, making customers feel like they’re wanted and welcome in store.

Beautiful food, friendly service and colourful but not over the top decor – what else could you ask for!?

And their food?

The food always looks amazing – even when I order food ‘off the menu’ (i.e. just make up an order). They take pride in the food they offer their customers and ensure that it not only tastes amazing but looks like it tastes amazing!! They also have a wide range of delicious cabinet food, with gluten-free options for those that need them. As you can see from the pictures below, I thoroughly enjoy their berry smoothie!

 

Cost?

I believe they would be considered an average café cost – around $20-$30 for a cooked meal and a drink. Not super cheap but not crazy expensive either. Totally worth what you get!

Opening times:

Mon – 7am to 4pm
Tues – 7am to 4pm
Wed – 7am to 4pm
Thurs – 7am to 4pm
Fri – 7am to 4pm
Sat – 7:30am to 4pm
Sun – 7:30am to 4pm

 

Tackling My Eating Habits

Blog, Thoughts

What does being healthy mean to me? That’s a question that I’ve often asked myself over the years.

As part of my self-care and awareness journey, I am wanting to become healthier.

What does that mean exactly? Well, although I may not be 100% certain what that means, I am certain that I want to be healthier in my mind, my body and my soul.

The aspect of my life that I am currently trying to tackle is my eating habits.

Previous attempts (and there have been many) of me trying to change my eating habits have always failed. Why? Because I wasn’t doing it for myself. I was always doing it for other people and my emotions controlled how much value I placed in their opinions.

Over the past couple of years, as I have tried to manage my emotions and become aware of what makes me tick, I have learnt that my emotions play a large roll in the way that I eat. My PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) also plays a part. So does my social life. There are many aspects of my life that combine together to form the eating habits that I have.

I am now at a point where I understand myself enough to try and make a slow, steady and realistic lifestyle change.

I acknowledge that things need to change, but I know from previous attempts that there is no magic trick that will change the way that I am overnight. I also acknowledge that I enjoy cooking, I enjoy going out with friends for food and I also have a sweet tooth. I don’t want to deny myself things that I enjoy – but I can, however, cut back. I am wanting to make an actual lifestyle change, so it’s something I can maintain and that I actually enjoy.

I will be posting pictures of some of the meals that I make, create and/or eat on my Instagram if you would like to keep up to date with how I’m going.

Are there any small tips that have helped you change your eating lifestyle? If so, let me know!

Geeks On Sainsbury (Café Review)

Blog, Cafe Review

Overall: I’ve been to Geeks On Sainsbury twice now and I’m definitely keen to go back again!

Where are they?

Their location, 1/55 Sainsbury Road, gives them enough privacy that they aren’t packed with people, but enough exposure that you don’t feel like you are hidden away. Both times I ate here, I happened to be in the area. They are right beside this little park which has a few seats in it, so you could easily get takeaways on a nice sunny day and have a picnic!

They are also just down the road from St Luke’s Mall, so if you want some nice food that isn’t from a food court, then this should be your go-to place!

My sister used to live across the road and it would have been such a joy to have Geeks On Sainsbury as a local.

So what’s their service like?

They come up to you relatively straight away when you arrive and ask where you’d like to sit. The second time I went I was on crutches and that didn’t seem to bother them, which was nice. They were fast on taking our orders, although didn’t mind coming back to let us spend a few more minutes deciding what to get. All of the staff I have interacted with have been super friendly and the ones who see you leave say ‘Thank you’ and/or ‘Goodbye’, which is always a nice touch.

It’s a cute location with delicious food and friendly staff. I would recommend it to anyone in the area!

And their food?

Delightful! Below are a few shots – Eggs Bene, Pork Salad, Bibimbap and a drink. I would recommend their ‘Yellow’ smoothie and anything with a side of their potato stack… because it is absolutely divine. There a quite a few gluten-free options, which is great and overall they have a relatively wide selection of food to choose from. They also have a cabinet with sweet treats and a few sandwiches, if that’s more your style.

Cost?

I believe they would be considered an average café cost – around $20-$30 for a cooked meal and a drink. Not super cheap but not crazy expensive either. Totally worth what you get!

Opening times:

Mon – 7am to 3pm
Tues – 7am to 3pm
Wed – 7am to 3pm
Thurs – 7am to 3pm
Fri – 7am to 3pm
Sat – 8am to 3pm
Sun – 8am to 3pm

 

Summer Smoothies

Blog, Recipes

During the summer months here in New Zealand, making smoothies becomes a common occurrence in our household. The ingredients usually consist of whatever I have available at the time. I do, however, like to keep my freezer stocked with frozen berries! My current favourite is the Smoothie range from Oob Organics.

Knowing that I was getting take-out for dinner tonight, I decided to have a smoothie for lunch. Today’s concoction involved: @oob.organic berries, @biofarmorganic organic low-fat natural yoghurt and a @huckleberrynz fair trade banana 🍌

As part of my self-care journey, I am also trying to investigate and explore ways that I can care for others and the environment. One way that I have found to care for the environment, is to purchase some CaliWoods reusable smoothie straws! The @caliwoods_eco straws “.. are made from food-grade, type 304 stainless steel so are easy to clean, completely dishwasher/steriliser safe and can be used over and over.”

I’ve always been a fan of using straws but felt bad about the plastic that I was using. Now, I don’t have to worry!