Saturday, 7 May 2011

Valentine in the City

I think everyone in Sydney has heard about the arrival of Swedish fashion powerhouse, Zara. On 20th April, the wait was finally over for Sydney fashionistas when Zara at Westfield Sydney opened its doors. According to the media and some of my friends who made it to the store on the first day, everyone was frantic and the lines were massive!

I was able to check it out on the 23rd April and I can confirm that it was indeed chaotic! Security guards manned all the entrances and were only allowing groups of four or five to enter the store at any one time. The line outside the Zara store in the open air was intimidating. The line was honestly massive and it didn't look like it would move anytime soon. At one point it was raining and people were just standing without umbrellas - dedication, much?

They must not have realised that there were four other lines they could join within the actual Westfield complex where they wouldn't have gotten a drop of rain on them.

I went to the lower level where the queue was much smaller and I waited about ten minutes before let in. Staff were giving out bottles of water for people who were lining up and telling those with coffee to finish or dump them.

Once inside the store, it was war. I am so serious. I have a massive bruise on the top of my left foot from being knocked into shelves. It is STILL there! Omigod. . .I don't heal well from bruises *cries a river*

I even got bag bashed a good few times and the corners of my Le Pliage are looking more frayed than usual =(

It was utter chaos and super crowded. Everyone was huddled around racks, fingering material, picking up clothes, taking them to the mirrors to hold against their bodies and then dumping them back onto piles of clothes. Some girls literally were hugging ten garments to themselves and still running around looking for shoes.

I managed to find a few pieces that I did like but they were already out of my size - major letdown.

I think an absolute bonus is how friendly the staff were. Despite how disorderly the place was and how demanding some customers were with sizes and assistance, they all remained very calm, helpful and attentive.

I actually spotted a pair of high-waisted navy trousers that I bought in Zara while in Hong Kong! To be very honest, if nothing, I really believe that the trousers and coats at Zara are a must-buy. They are genuinely comfortable and the material isn't bad. I've been wearing my trousers pretty much non stop now because I just love the cotton material against my skin.

Since my first excursion to Zara, I've been back once and the scene is just as chaotic. A friend just messaged me and said that there's STILL a queue to get in! Hopefully the hype will die down in a few more weeks and then I might go back in for a coat.

But I bet you anything that every other girl is thinking exactly the same thing!

I had lunch at Westfield Sydney's food court. Had a lovely seafood tasting plate from Cloudy Bay Fish Co and a seafood Pad See-ew from Thairiffic. I am a huge seafood fan - mostly because I am allergic to beef and by default don't eat a lot of lamb or pork. My main protein is chicken and fish!

The tasting plate was absolutely delicious! It had roasted king salmon, prawn cocktail, braised tuna and poached kingfish, served with two slices of bread and salad. The salad as mediocre, but the seafood was both divine on its own and as a spread on top of the crusty bread. Slightly pricey at $19.95, but I will definitely be back. I kind of want some now!

The Pad See-ew was nothing spectacular but the serving was quite generous. It was slightly too salty for me!

I would rather a second serving of the tasting plate. Haha!

I think every single one of my Asian friends has been to Meet Fresh in Chinatown. This Taiwanese dessert store opened last year and I've been meaning to go ever since. The general consensus is that people love this place because the desserts are quite different and tasty. Since I have a massive sweet tooth, I thought I'd love it too. Especially, considering that it's supposed to be healthy with taro, green beans and herbal jelly. The health freak in me has wanted to go for ages!

At $5.50 a bowl, we ordered a cold Taro Balls 1 with green bean, pearls and lotus seeds, and a hot Herbal Jelly 2 with sweet potato, coix seeds and pearls.

And the verdict?

I don't think I'll be going back again.

I felt THAT jipped. Maybe it's because I am lucky to have a mother who regularly boils herbal concoctions whenever we're run down and I'm so used to how they taste. Or maybe because the herbal jelly was just too sweet and that Herbal Jelly 2 didn't have enough ingredients in it. I think there was literally three small pieces of sweet potato in it and the rest were coix seeds and pearls. It was more liquid, than jelly - which was disappointing because I really expected jelly or at least something more solid than what we were served.

Our Taro Balls 1 didn't have taro in it and I'm not sure if that's how it is supposed to be. Instead, I got these yellow and white lumps of sticky rice flour which I think was supposed to resemble taro. Now I love cooked rice flour, but this was again disappointing. I expected real taro. The serving looks generous but it all sat on a bed of shaved ice.

*sigh* I really wanted to like this place!

I still can't figure out why it is so popular. It's not the best place to sit for an after-dinner chit-chat. The place is extremely bright, cramped, noisy and the seats are uncomfortable. But I guess in a city where the alternatives are bars or pubs, no one can really complain?

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