Saturday, 28 February 2015

Ginza Miyako Restaurant Review - Adelaide - June 2014

Image by Willunga Wino

Tempting photos on Facebook drew me in.

It wasn't long before an excuse was found for lunch at Ginza Miyako Japanese restaurant. 

Describing itself as French/Japanese fusion, at lunch time it is far more Japanese than French. And that's how I like it!

Colourful signage on North Tce. Photo: Willunga Wino

Tucked into the Stamford Grand on North Terrace (near King William Rd), this new little sister restaurant to Ginza Japanese Unley shares an entrance with La Boca.

Bargain lunch specials. Photo: Willunga Wino

An inviting staircase tempts you upstairs.

Follow the stairway. Photo: Willunga Wino

Through the authentic entry doors you find yourself in a restaurant that wouldn't look out of place in Tokyo. 

Authentic doorway. Photo: Willunga Wino

Polished wood floors, a bar well stocked with sake and Sapporo, fresh Ikebana flower arrangements and friendly, polite greetings.

Natural surfaces in the interior. Photo: Willunga Wino

With a bow, I am escorted past the Western-style tables, known as "yōshitsu", to the shoe locker. 

Off come the shoes to step over the floor inlaid zen garden into the traditional dining room, known as "washitsu".

Zen garden inlaid into the threshhold. Photo: Willunga Wino

Traditional Japanese dining rooms either have low tables with cushions on the floor at which you sit cross legged, or sunken floors under the low table so you can put your legs comfortably under - this is the type at Ginza Miyako.

Traditional dining room. Photo: Willunga Wino

Overlooking passing pedestrians of North Terrace, you are afforded a sneaky view into the daily lives of Adelaidians.

Turn your gaze inward, and the traditional dining room is decorated with hand painted sliding paper room dividers, known as Shōji Doors. 

Detail from the paper screens. Photo: Willunga Wino

Menus and water are brought quickly by yukata-clad waitstaff.

There is a compact range of Japanese beers, covering the major brands, and a wider variety of sake. Beer is always fantastic with the delicate flavours of Japanese cuisine and a bit lighter in alcohol for a work day lunch. 

A special Express Lunch menu is available for just $10, but we opt for the larger $19 bento boxes. Vegetarian and vegan options are available in both - which is rare in Japanese restaurants both in Aus and in Japan. Local SA suppliers are used as much as possible.

My dining companion's teriyaki eel box looks lovely.

Teriyaki eel bento box. Photo: Willunga Wino

Authentic red and black laquerware boxes are used for the bento, and match the deluxe chopsticks with stylish stand. 

Lovely serving ware. Photo: Willunga Wino

My vegan bento box was similarly impressive.

Clockwise from top left, there was:

  • Steamed veg, soy pickles (my favourite!) and seaweed salad;
  • A nicely dressed avocado and vermicelli salad;
  • Green salad, with fruit for dessert - an authentic touch;
  • Rice and plenty of it;
  • Pickles, two kinds, daikon and beetroot;
  • Tofu with a shiny, soy flavoured clear mushroom sauce.
It tasted as good as it looks.

Vegan bento box $19. Photo: Willunga Wino

There was also a cup of miso soup, the waitress took care to explain to me that the vegetarian miso is made with a kombu and mushroom based stock, instead of fish based dashi. 

It was salty and satisfying as a good miso should be.

Vegetarian miso soup. Photo: Willunga Wino

With a new chef since I visited, there are at least seven veg*an options- this is amazing! It is usually very hard to find veg*an options at Japanese restaurants. They sound really interesting too:

  1. Veggie Sushi Boat
  2. Tempura - seasonal veg tempura with green tea salt
  3. Yu Tofu - steamed tofu & enoki mushrooms served with soy & chilli dipping sauces
  4. Tofu steak with eggplant and mushroom sauce
  5. Terrine - made with agar - there's that French influence
  6. Seasonal salad with French dressing
  7. Grilled Vegetables with miso sauce

This is all in addition to the $10 express lunch and larger $20 bento.

I must return to try them all!!

To sweeten the deal, dine at Ginza Miyako at night and you can park for free at Wilson Parking 30 Hindley St. Ask for details when you book. 

It must have been fate. I even ended up on their Facebook page the next day!

Yours truly at lunch Post by Ginza Miyako Japanese Restaurant.

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What do you like the look of at Ginza Miyako? Comment below!

Rating : 4 Glasses
Price: $ (especially at lunch time)
Menu: Lunch, dinner, sake bar.
Meal Size: Good sized.
Atmosphere / Ambience: Authentic, calming, beautiful.
Standout Dish: Veg*an Bento Box $19.
Service: Attentive, yukata clad.
Online Booking:Yes or via phone.

Book via Qantas Restaurants for bonus Frerquent Flyer points, plus a free shot of sake.
Restaurant Details and Location:
Level 1, Stamford Plaza Hotel, 150 North Terrace
Tel No:
(08) 8221 6147
Opening Hours: Lunch Monday to Friday 12 - 2.30pm. Dinner Monday to Thursday 5 - 10pm Dinner Friday & Saturday 5.30-10.30pm Dinner Sunday 5.30 - 10pm
Access: Train / Tram, free car parking - ask for details.

Ginza Miyako Japanese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Veg*an means both vegetarian and vegan. :-)

What's In The Box? - Native Box Review - January 2015

Image: Willunga Wino


Native Box has been a part of my life for over a year now, and the monthly boxes have a great balance between food, drink, household and beauty products. It is packed by people with a disability helping to boost social sustainability in Australia. 1% of profits are donated via 1% for the Planet.

Native Box packaging. Photo: Willunga Wino

Unique Features: 

Focus on Australian owned companies to supply products. 

Natural / healthy snack & product focus.

Native Box are a member of 1% for the Planet, where 1% of profits are donated.

Packed by Ozanam Australia which offers meaningful paid employment to people disabilities. 

Boxes are posted in the first week of the month.


Native Box comes in a custom, flat square cardboard box which is decorated with blue.It's the same size as the Notox BoxRecyclability (and recycled content) is high. It is fixed closed with a strip of plastic that is recyclable.

Sample packaging is mostly recyclable, except for some foil bonded plastic packages (for trail bars, or bonded pouches).


Classic Box:

$24.95 a month (inc shipping)

$69.60 for a 3 month subscription ($23.30 per month inc shipping).

$134.70 for a 6 month subscription ($22.45 per month inc shipping).

$264 for a 12 months subscription ($22.00 per month inc shipping).

NativeBox have three other boxes :

Vegan Box:

$24.95 a month (inc shipping)

Supersize Box: (full sized products only)

$49.95 a quarter/season (inc shipping).

Beauty Box:

$24.95 a quarter/season (inc shipping).

Whats in the Box: 

In the Classic Box there is a good balance between food, drinks, beauty, home cleaning products.

There is a good mix between food, drink, household and beauty products.

Products come in sample, travel and full sizes. 

There are 8-10 products per box. 

All subscribers receive the same products.

A colour, folded A4 slip tells you what products and brands are in the box and has their logos. There are also links to websites to purchase, and discount codes if applicable. The RRP is not included. On the reverse side is a welcome note.

In the January 2015 box, the contents were:

  • Anerah Skincare, Lavender Shower Gel, RRP $29.95/500ml (sample size)
  • Natracare, Organic Cotton Tampons, RRP $6.95/20 (sample size)
  • Piranha, Multigrain Soy Mix with Cashew (sample size)
  • Go Green At Home, Eco Bamboo Toothbrush, RRP $3.95 (full size)
  • Essentially Natural, Everyday Surface Spray Citrus Blend, RRP $14.95 (sample size)
  • Anerah Skincare, Rosewater Hydrating Face Mist, RRP $34.95 (sample size)
  • Probiotic Solutions, Cuffs & Collars, RRP $10 (sample size)
  • Bonus - La Mav Skin Care Oil (sample size)

Contents of Native Box for Jan 2015. Photo: Willunga Wino

Favourite Product:

My favourite product in this month's box was the toothbox. It's something we don't even think about - the enviro impact of our tooth brushing routine. All those toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes are non-recyclable - so this is a great solution.

Love the Piranha mix too, have had it in the box a few times before.

Jan goodies. Photo: Willunga Wino


There is a new points based rewards program, where points are earned by purchasing subscriptions and reviewing the samples in the boxes. Every 1000 points earned is $10 off your purchase costs.

If you complete the monthly feedback survey on the box, you also get a bonus product in your box.

There are also regular "fun Friday" competitions via their Facebook page.

Online Shop: 

There is an online shop where you can buy full sized versions of your favourite samples. 

What product do you like the look of most in this month's box? Comment Below!

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook and subscribe via email to stay up to date on other sustainable foodie wino things that make you feel nice, and also to make me feel good about myself!

Rating : 3 Glasses 
Price: $$
Menu: Healthy edibles and natural cleaning & beauty.
Meal Size: Sample, travel and some full sized products.
Atmosphere / Ambiance: Beautiful, natural, indulgent. 
Standout Dish: Handy dandy samples.
Service: Friendly, prompt service via email.
Online Booking: Order online.
Restaurant Details and Location:
Access: Online or email.


Friday, 27 February 2015

Sharing After Five Event Review - I Am Tall Poppy - Willunga - Feb 2015

Image: Willunga Wino

I Am Tall Poppy is a bit of an institution in Willunga.

Owner Corina Kowald is a big part of the community. 

Her boutique clothing, homewares, and gift store sits prominently on the corner of Aldinga, Main, and High street at the entrance to Willunga.

Little wonder then that Corina developed a new event to involve the community with small local businesses. 
Sharing After Five logo. Via I Am Tall Poppy.

Sharing After Five's inaugural event was held in February 2015 with a theme of "Sunshine and Bubbles". On a warm Wednesday evening, a festive atmosphere was created with a jovial crowd of locals, an ice cream truck, a free glass of bubbly for all comers, and handcrafted soap stall.

We were greeted warmly at the door by Corina with a lucky prize draw ticket and an explanation of how the evening would progress.

Corina from I Am Tall Poppy. Photo: Willunga Wino

There was just enough time for a quick browse before Corina welcomed us to the first Sharing After Five event. Each month, three local, micro-businesses will be invited to attend to present their story, sell their wares and offer samples. 

Colourful locals enjoying the event. Photo: Willunga Wino

The first of the three businesses for February was Sunshine Ice Blocks, owned by ex-corporate workers Courtney and Brendan. Sunshine grew out of a desire to get out of the "rat race", do something fun and make healthy treats for their family and other local families. Brendan and Courtney carefully source the ingredients to be pesticide/herbicide free, local, from other small businesses, and they continue to create new seasonal flavours and combinations that meet dietary requirements.

Courtney sharing the Sunshine story. Photo: Willunga Wino

 All this ice cream talk worked up an appetite! I'm lucky to have already tried much of the Sunshine range as a regular customer at Willunga Farmers Market. To try something new I opted for shaved ice with apricot & vanilla handmade compote topping. 

The shaved ice machine is a beautiful vintage looking machine that shaves ice from a big square block via a hand crank. Love it!

Hand cranked shaved ice machine. Photo: Willunga WIno

While looking beautiful and full of real fruit with no nasty "numbers" added, the taste is even better. Scented and flavoured with real vanilla bean, and a real, ripe apricot flavour made this healthy, cooling and delicious.

Shaved ice with vanilla apricot topping sample. Photo: Willunga Wino

Strawberry and Cream ice block is also a winner, made with real local strawberries whgich are in season right now, and local Jersey cream, it tastes like real strawberry, and is creamy and very, very smooth.

The secret, we learnt, to super smooth ice blocks is freezing at an extremely low temperature. That's why making my own Gin & Tonic ice blocks resulted in icy, messy (but still very yummy and naughty!) treats. Not sure an industrial freezer would look good in my country kitchen though.

Six packs of Sunshine Ice Blocks are $20 for Willunga Farmers Market Members and very handy to have in the freezer over summer. 

Strawberry & Cream sample pop. Photo: Willunga Wino

Next up to share their story was Fox Creek Wines, great supporters of the local community and art, including holding Fringe events, sculpture exhibitions, and film nights under the stars.

The business was founded by a group of doctors and their wives, and when the property was found they were advised not to grow grapes there! 31 years later, haven't those nay sayers been proved wrong?!

And the name? Well there is a creek, and there are foxes!

Lovely representative of Fox Creek. Photo: Willunga Wino

On tasting tonight are the local favourite sparkling shiraz, cab sauv, cab franc the "Vixen".

Launched on the night was the new "Arctic Fox" Grand Cuvee, comprised of vermentino, sauv blanc, and verdhelo. It was crisp and light and a nice aperitif. 

Fox Creek bubbles. Photo: Willunga Wino

Third, we heard from Jacinta White, from White Soaps. A health professional by day, with the help from her family, Jacinta started making 100% natural, palm oil free soaps using traditional techniques with a twist. 

Each batch takes weeks to be finished, with the soap set inside old milk cartons before being cut using a Danish cheese cutting wire. The finished products smell amazing and have a beautiful shape. 

Jacinta from White Soap. Photo: Willunga Wino

I was lucky enough to win the door prize of three of Jacinta's lovely soaps - the lavender and cinnamon clove ones smell  particularly gorgeous. The packaging is also lovely, designed by Jacinta's brother. 

Lovely prize, I'm so lucky! Photo: Willunga Wino

A spot of shopping in the I Am Tall Poppy boutique, which has lovely and unique cards, decorations, soaps and wall hangings, plus clothes and babyware. On the night, there is also a 10% discount on all goods.

Sharing after Five has a lovely community feel and was lots of fun with plenty to try. It looks like it will be a monthly event if it is successful.

Get along to the next Sharing After Five, themed "Humble Hearts and Sweet Thoughts", March 4th 6-7.30pm will feature Adele Basheer from Intrinsic gifts, Rebecca and Rob from From Humble Grounds coffee, plus Catherine and Robin from Heartstrings musicians. 

What's in The Box? - Vegan Mystery Box Review - Jan 2015

Image: Willunga Wino


The Vegan Mystery Box is my most recent goodie box discovery. I've been really impressed with the full sized products, products that allow you to make a whole meal, the number of products and variety. It is the largest box I subscribe to.

Both local and imported products are included, with a focus on edibles. 

January 2015 Vegan Mystery Box. Photo: Willunga Wino

Unique Feature: 

All profits made by the sale of the Vegan Mystery Box are donated to an animal rescue group, with the recipient being nominated each month by members on Facebook, and then voted on by subscribers. Very democratic and you know it's for a good cause. Approximately $8-10 from each box sold goes straight to the animal rescue group.

This month, all funds raised went to Animal Angel Sanctuary. 

All products are vegan.

Local and imported products are included.

Focus on edibles.


The Vegan Mystery Box comes in a large, flat square shaped recycled cardboard box. It is the biggest subscription box I receive. It is made from recycled material and is recyclable.

Sample product packaging is mostly recyclable, except for some foil bonded plastic packages (for trail bars, or bonded pouches).


$40 shipping included (except for NT, remote WA and FNQ, which is an additional $14).

Whats in the Box: 

In the Vegan Mystery Box there is an emphasis on food and drinks, with some beauty and home. 

A good mix of sweet, savoury, full meals, snacks, sweets and meal starters are included.

Products come in sample, travel and full sizes. 

There are 10-14 products per box. 

All subscribers receive the same products.

An A4 single sided black & white info sheet is included which tells you what is included in the box, and a welcome note. It doesn't include the product RRP's.

In the January 2015 box, the contents were:

  • Nature's Organic Natural Skin Expert Face Wash (full size)
  • Nature's Organic Natural Skin Expert Face Scrub (full size)
  • Go Max Go Jokerz Candy Bar (a vegan Snickers!) (full size)
  • Billy's Farm Organic Apple & Cranberry Cookies (full size)
  • Soyspresso Soy Coffee Drink (full size)
  • Skittles (full size pocket pack)
  • Pukka Chai Tea Bag (sample size)
  • Sunbeam Australian Sultanas (snack size)
  • Riviana Dried Mediterranean Apricots (sample size)
  • Bare Fruit Crunchy Apple Chips (full size)
  • Mr Munchies Adventure Time Golden Cookies (sample size)

Contents of the Jan 2015 Box. Photo: Willunga Wino

Favourite Product:

My favourite product of the month was actually two products - the Nature's Organic Natural Skin Expert products. The scrub keeps my skin smooth and the foaming face wash washes away the day's dirt & makeup.

The Soyspresso also made a welcome treat one hot summer's morning!


The $8-10 support for an animal charity per box is fantastic.

This is the biggest box in size and number of products that I recieve.

Full meals and meal bases are included.

There are also regular competitions via their social media feeds.

Online Shop: 

Boxes are ordered online via the Facebook page. Occasionally there are "special" boxes offered on a first in best dressed basis via the Facebook page as well. 

There is no online shop to buy full sized products from the box. 

Why not share this with your friends by using the buttons below so you can tell them about this great home delivered goodie box?

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook and subscribe via email to stay up to date on other sustainable foodie wino things that make you feel nice, and also to make me feel good about myself!

Which goodie from the Vegan Mystery Box for January would you have liked to try? Comment below!

Rating : 5 Glasses 
Price: $$
Menu: Sweet & savoury products.
Atmosphere / Ambiance: Generous, variety, charitable. 
Standout Dish: Kirkland Organic Black Bean Soup.
Service: Friendly and prompt.
Online Booking: Order via the Facebook Page.
Meal Size: Sample, travel and full sized products.
Restaurant Details and Location: