Tetsuya’s rerun

I had the best time with other foodies at the Food Lovers Trivia Night for Oz Harvest; it is such a wonderful cause and another bonus was when TimmyC surprised me by winning the silent auction that allowed us to have a degustation at Tetsuya’s with matching wines.

We quickly decided that we would go for my birthday and we booked several weeks in advance. I love where Tetsuya’s is located, it is a very unassuming building amongst all the hustle and bustle of the city.We were seated near the window on the ground floor to overlook their beautiful peaceful garden. They were very accommodating when we explained that we don’t drink wine (I know, I’m such a waste TheFoodMarshall) and they suggested we could get the tea pairing.Tetsuya’s set degustation menu ($230 per person normally)

Complimentary bread and whipped truffle butter.Pacific oysters with ginger and rice vinegar. I remember when I had my first dressed oyster from Tetsuya’s, it was incredible and the same overwhelming feeling came across me as I had it 5 years later. The dressing enhances the flavour but you can definitely still taste the natural oyster. What a wonderful way to start the meal.Tuna with kohlrabi. It was a perfectly dressed tuna that was so super fresh, I wanted more than the three pieces given to me.Warm octopus salad with fennel & shiso oil. A simple salad with remarkably soft tender octopus.Confit of Petuna ocean trout with a salad of celery, witlof, apple & unpasteurised ocean trout roe. This is Tetsuya’s signature dish, it is stunning visually and tastewise. I don’t want to describe it, I want you all go to and taste this for yourself. It has been on their menu for over twenty years and for a good reason!Grilled Shio Koji toothfish with fregola and roma tomatoes. I loved the texture of the toothfish as it reminded me a cross of mudcrab and scallops but without the sweetness.You could have easily mistaken it for scallop meat when you take a spoonful.Miso cured duck breast with pumpkin and cauliflower. This was well executed but I didn’t think it was anything special. It might sound pompous but I think it was because everything had been so great up until this point.Beef tenderloin with mushroom cream. I was hoping for a more flavoursome beef, it was very tender but I feel that the seafood items were much much better. Lychee granita with strawberries and coconut. A beautiful clean refreshing dessert with all my favourite fruits. I’m very tempted to make a variation of this at home for summer.Tetsuya’s Chocolate Cake. This had the most beautiful mirror finish but I had to move TimmyC away from the table because no matter what angle I moved my camera, I could see his reflection on the cake. I was so impressed with the neat presentation of such a delicate dessert. The chocolate glaze encased a beautiful soft not OTT chocolate mousse, a real delight to eat.All gone!Petits Fours vanilla macaron dusted with bee pollen and a mango filling along side a perfectly delicate toffee chocolate with a biscuit base. Both made really well but the chocolate blew us away with the flavours and intricate detail.The discs were so delicate, so much effort for a little petit four.Tea pairing~

It was amazing to have a tea pairing with our degustation, I’ve never had one before. The teas varied from hot and cold and also carbonated.  Each tea was chosen especially to compliment the food from darker teas for meat courses and the most sweet-smelling concoction served with dessert. I loved it all (although as a result of so much tea, I did go to the bathroom a lot) but my favourite might have been the cocoa with matcha as I’ve never had anything like it.

Buddha’s tears brewed with spice and orange peel.

Single estate organic sencha green from Kyoto stirred with lime.

Gently infused darjeeling with thyme, rosemary and basil served chilled with bubbles.

Yunnan red from one of China’s most ancient tea growing regions.

Orange pekoe brewed with red fruits and vanilla pod.

West African red cocoa with soy milk and macha.
The staff were very attentive and very knowledgeable which always adds to a good experience. Our 4 hour lunch just flew by with incredible food, drink and company.

See my first experience with terrible photos here.

Venue: Tetsuya’s

Address: 529 Kent Street, Sydney 2000

Phone(02) 9267 2900

Advertisements

Yat Bun Tong re-run

I recently met up with a few fellow food bloggers (check out some of their awesome blogs here and here) for dinner at Yat Bun Tong (see my first post here). It is so nice to meet up with such like minded people and laugh about the same things we go through like- forever questioning ourselves of who is actually really ever reading our blog other than our number one fan (thanks for your support YummyLummy).

Serina from MsFrugralEars with her awesome mandarin skills took charge with ordering and conversing with the staff. It was refreshing not having to look at the menu or having the responsibility on deciding the whole table’s meal, which is the default mode that my friends usually put me in.

Shanghai steamed bun (10 pieces $13.80). It is still no Din Tai Fung, but I guess it is unfair to compare. The dumpling wrapper is the Goldilocks of thickness, not too thin and not too thick, it was just right. I’m still not completely sold on the soup interior but am still happy to have it there. They don’t always remember to give you a spoon but please do request one for easier eating.   Shallot pancake ($7.80). The pancake was crispy and flaky which reminded me of roti with flecks of shallot. I really enjoyed the texture but I think I would have liked more shallots and more salt throughout the pancake.Hot and sour soup ($5.80 per serve). My eyes widened when they lowered this bowl on the table. It was enormous! I asked Serina ‘I thought you only ordered two serves?’, she responded with ‘I did’. The waitress explained that the chef wanted to give us more but would only charge for two serves. I loved that the soup was full of lots of ingredients and most of us easily had two bowls. If it was a tad (chilli) hotter and you added a few drops of chinese vinegar like you’re supposed to, it would have been perfect.I took a photo of the serving bowl next to my bowl so you could see how big it was.Shanghai pan fried pork buns (10 pieces $14.80). This was the one dish I was determined to order after seeing photos from Michelle’s instagram who in turn saw it from Wita (#contagiousfood). The buns were light and fluffy with a good meat filling and a little bit of soup inside. It reminded me very much of Sydney food, which says a lot. I would happily return just to eat these.The filling inside the buns.BBQ duck spring rolls (2 pieces $6.80). We were told that this was a popular menu item and I can see why. A crispy hot spring roll filled exclusively with delicious duck meat complimented by the hoisin dipping sauce. These would make a good starter, maybe I’ll order these next time before I sit down and even look at the menu.Fried handmade noodles with black pepper beef ($15.80). People were starting to get full but insearchofgoldenpudding and I wanted to try their handmade noodles. I really like black pepper beef but usually with rice, it felt odd eating them with noodles especially when I’m used to eating my noodles with pork and vegetables. Some people might not like the fact that it came with no vegetables.

I really liked their handmade noodles, it wasn’t overly oily although it was a tad softer than I would usually have it.  I really like black pepper but even I  thought it was borderline overwhelming, next time I might try their handmade noodle with seafood in X.O sauce.I had a much better experience at Yat Bun Tong this time around because of the selection of food. I will definitely be back to eat more pork buns and eat more noodles.
Yat Bun Tong Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Yummy Chinese BBQ re-run

I haven’t been back to Yummy Chinese BBQ since it just opened but with the cooler weather setting in, my friends and I wanted to warm ourselves with hot food over some hot coals. See my first post here.

Things have changed slightly since my last visit; there is no more steam boat, the small hot plates that sat in the charcoal chamber have been replaced with big gas hot plates which means more room to cook chicken wings and there is no more confusing iPad to order things from.

Yummy Chinese BBQ offers you ‘all you can eat’ from a range of skewers and raw meat that you cook yourselves and a buffet of hot Chinese food for those who can’t wait for the food to be cooked.

$36.00 per person all you can eat and $3.00 for unlimited orange juice and Coca Cola.
Skewers on offer include prawns, smoky lamb, beef and caramelised pork. We were not constrained with a time limit which was good because the coals took a while to arrive and we didn’t mind sitting outside because it meant it was less smoky. The food choice might seem a little odd to some because it is more ‘traditional’ Chinese food (that night’s buffet selection included pipis, fish in a chilli sauce, chicken feet and sesame balls filled with red bean) but it is a fun and different way to dine with friends.

We were done eating just under two hours and I basically just ate my weight in chicken wings.
Yummy Chinese BBQ Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Temporada re-run

With so many new restaurants coming out and so many good existing ones, I rarely would go out of my way to go back to a place where I found it mediocre but I’m always up for second chances. I didn’t love Temporada like everyone else did when it first opened but it has been a few years so maybe things have changed. TimmyC was keen to go back because we had such fond memories of their beef rib sliders.

We were seated at the bar which meant lots of table space but the seats were uncomfortable and towards the end of the meal, TimmyC and I ended up standing up while finishing our meal. 

 

To start~
House-made sourdough and cultured butter ($2.50).Their bread was delicious but the butter was definitely the best part. Order this when you sit down, then it will be perfectly timed to arrive when you have just finished ordering the rest of the meal.
Wood grilled pippies, saffron and chorizo ($20.00). I found the sauce to be most addictive to eat and I resorted to dipping my bread in it to get every last drop. Unfortunately the sauce and really salty chorizo probably drowned out the natural taste of the pippies.
BBQ King prawn, bourride ($9.00 each). TimmyC’s prawn came out of its shell rather easy but I found mine was stuck to the shell which made it really difficult to eat. I got a lot of ‘burnt’ taste in my mouth from the charred legs as I resorted to pulling the prawn meat off with my teeth. The prawn meat itself was sort of sweet but I didn’t enjoy this dish.
Zucchini flower, spanner crab, lemon ($9.00 each). These don’t look like much but they came out piping hot without being oily and they were delicious. Definitely my top pick of the smalls plates that we tried.
Filled with crabby goodness.
Wood grilled dry aged 500g T-bone, smoked potato, pink peppercorn, leeks ($45.00). TimmyC always jokes that T-bones are a ‘private steak’ for me because I like to pick up the bone and get every last bit of meat, but this was served pre-cut which meant for easy eating and sharing. The steak itself wasn’t anything special and I was hoping for more butter and smooth texture from the potato.
The steak wasn’t amazing but it was cooked perfectly.
We still weren’t overly impressed with the food but more importantly our bums were super sore from the seats, so we decided to pay the bill and head somewhere else for dessert. My friend who was also there having dinner that night was coincidentally sitting at the bar next to us, eventually she got a sore bum too but her party of two really enjoyed their duck main and would happily come back again. I guess it depends on experiences and the food that you order, but I won’t be in a hurry to come back again, maybe if they get beef ribs sliders back on the menu.
We sat near the kitchen entrance so it was easy to flag down staff when we wanted a water refill etc, the food wait time was very minimal and it was fairly busy by the time we had left.
See my previous post about Temporada here.

Temporada Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Space re-run

TimmyC and I are not morning people, but everyone has a price so when TimmyC suggested that we wake up early and go to Space to have breakfast, I agreed although our early morning progress would be negated by said breakfast and we would just arrive to work at the time as we would normally.Polenta waffles lemon thyme sautéed mushrooms, goats cheese, poached eggs, corn puree, salsa verde and truffle oil ($18.90). I thought the addition of dry ice and truffle oil to create a ‘truffle cloud’ upon serving was more for showmanship rather than for taste, but it gives Space a more theatrics side of things setting them apart from their sister cafe Ricardo’s. The waffles themselves were rather crunchy with a soft centre and I loved it paired with the mushrooms and sweet corn puree but I found the goats cheese flavour too strong. I would easily order this again if I wanted a unique vegetarian option.The truffle cloud presentation.Space benedict pulled pork croquette with poached eggs, beetroot hollandaise, pork crackling brioche crumble and pea puree ($18.90). I loved the interesting presentation of this dish and I can’t resist a croquette. The crunchy croquette coating which encased the tender pulled pork was brilliant although I wasn’t a fan of the pea puree. I was surprised to see that I found the slightly sour beetroot hollandaise really addictive and kept dipping my fork into it. Definitely a breakfast classic with a twist that is worth trying.Served with beautiful violets and perfectly cooked eggs.
The dynamics and atmosphere of Space is really different to Ricardo’s, you can see that this cafe is more ‘mature’ and invites a different clientèle in that would be suited to the surrounding office buildings. I love the addition of this funky cafe to the south side and I would definitely recommend this to anyone for a great breakfast and lunch, although I am not sold on their cakes yet. I can’t wait to go back and try more of their menu.

Read the blog post that my awesome guest blogger wrote here.

The District re-run

As my friends and I were planning yet another trip overseas together (when you travel well together, you may as well stick together), an essential part of our planning involves eating dinner first, followed by dessert and then eventually some planning with some random YouTube videos in between. We went to The District because it was close by and we enjoyed our meal there last time.

Margarita pizza with Napolitana sauce, mozzarella and fresh basil ($16.90). A simple pizza topping flavour but it was nice and fresh and I like their pizza base.Champagne chicken risotto with bacon, mushroom and parmesan ($24.90). A rich heavy bowl of cheesy comfort food.Chicken schnitzel with beer battered fries and salad ($18.90). Nothing too fantastic but the gravy that we ordered was ridiculously salty and so we asked for mushroom gravy and they were happy to give us another sauce for free.Specials~

Surf and turf I really enjoyed the hollandaise sauce but I didn’t like the dried, shriveled seafood mix that was  placed on top, they should just stick with the big prawns. The steak was a bit tough and dry but I don’t know if it is because Chifley’s has just ruined me for life.Seafood chowder with penne pasta. There was a nice mix of seafood in the chowder and I liked how the sauce had a nice chilli kick to it. I like the family feel of The District and I also like how it is tucked away out in the suburbs, I hope more establishments like this pop up in suburbia shops.

See my previous blog post about The District here.

Akiba re-run

I did intend on returning to Akiba but not this soon, this was all TimmyC’s doing, he was super keen! Despite the bad weather, we head in with enthusiasm and we giggle when we are seated in our previous seats with the same server from our first visit (see my previous blog post here).

Here is the menu, this time complete with prices.IMG_7690.JPGNatural oyster, ume mignonette (4 pieces $10.00). All of the oysters were still anchored down in the shell so when I tried to one shot my oyster, I ended up sucking all the mignonette and then having to go back and set my oyster free, which by then was then just an oyster. Bits of the shell did break off so I had to spit them out after eventually getting to the oysters. Instead of four quick shots of oysters, it ended up being a little bit more effort than I thought it would be and the flavours weren’t particularly amazing.IMG_7692.JPGKingfish sashimi, coconut, nam jim, coriander ($12.00). We loved this dish during our first visit but this time it was much hotter and it caught TimmyC off guard. I still really liked it but TimmyC couldn’t eat much more after his first bite.IMG_7693.JPGYellowfin tuna, organic Japanese soy, wasabi panna cotta ($14.00). I had forgotten that there was supposed to be a wasabi panna cotta until I re-read the menu just now. I didn’t notice this component and to me this was just a really nice sashimi.IMG_7699.JPG

IMG_7698.JPGSteamed prawn and chicken dumpling, chilli oil, black vinegar dressing (4 pieces $10.00). I thought this was a really nice dumpling and I really enjoyed the black vinegar, but I didn’t think there was anything special about this dish.IMG_7696.JPGPork belly bao, char sui, asian slaw ($8.00). Wow, what a turn around in almost every aspect. The cut of pork was much more suited to fill the bao, the bao itself was much nicer but still not perfect; they are now made in-house rather than brought in from Sydney. There was definitely a bit of everything within each bite which makes it easier to stomach the steep price attached (Ippudo buns are $4 a pop).IMG_7694.JPGThe bun is brimming with excitement and it can barely contain itself.IMG_7705.JPGIMG_7710.JPGSweet corn pancake, chilli caramel, togarashi ($4.00).

Kimchi and angasi pancake, kewpie mayo, sirracha, ittogaki (4.00). I liked how you can just order one pancake as this allowed us to explore more of the options. Both were really nice but I think we liked the kimchi and angasi pancake more comparatively because it had more bold flavours.IMG_7703.JPGIMG_7704.JPGSmokey roast potato, pecorino custard, smoked eel teriyaki ($5.00). “Here’s your one potato”, I giggled at the introduction of our dish. I’m surprised that TimmyC ate and liked this because he isn’t a big fan of cheese. The potato was super super crispy, the pecorino custard wasn’t over powering and a unique concept and the eel helped bring everything together. I really liked this and was very tempted to order another.IMG_7701.JPGWe had ordered 8 items that we requested not to be staggered out, I wanted to see how fast the service could be and TimmyC was very hungry. Between ordering and receiving our last dish it was definitely super fast; I’m going to guesstimate under 10 minutes, but my stomach, mouth and photography couldn’t keep up and I probably wouldn’t do this again unless there was a whole group of us and we were all really hungry.

Caribbean chicken bao,  charred pineapple, kewpie mayo ($8.00). We got greedy. We wanted to try a little bit more; TimmyC wanted another pork bao and I wanted something that we hadn’t tried before, so we compromised and chose this. Although the chicken was super moist and tender, I didn’t think that the pineapple was charred but more importantly I didn’t see how these flavours in the bao work together. I didn’t like it.IMG_7713.JPG

IMG_7711.JPGCharred asparagus, uni butter, seaweed powder ($14.00). The asparagus itself was nicely cooked and the butter tasted lemony and almost had a cheesey flavour. This was cooked in their very big fancy oven (which was very $$$) but I don’t see how it is any better than me cooking it at home in a pan with butter, salt and pepper.IMG_7714.JPGTea smoked duck ham, gruyere custard, umeboshi and rosemary ($7.00). This was almost unrecognisable as a duck flavour, it was more familiar in my mouth as a cured pork product that has a really nice smokey flavour. I’m not completely sold on all the flavours and compared to other menu items, I probably wouldn’t order this again but TimmyC liked it.IMG_7720.JPGTo give you a size comparison, I took a wider shot against my water glass.IMG_7722.JPGChocolate tart, pickled strawberry ($9.00). It wasn’t as great as the first time that we had it; I felt that the soft chocolate tart component had more coffee flavours with harsh bitter after taste.IMG_7724.JPG

IMG_7726.JPGHand crafted pottery is slowly coming in as the training wheels are coming off.IMG_7723.JPGAfter having eaten most of the menu, I still really enjoy Akiba but I definitely have ‘go to’ dishes and other ones that I probably won’t bother with. I cannot wait to see their breakfast menu!

Jamie’s Italian re-run

Nothing annoys me more than wasting a voucher, not a discount voucher but a prepaid voucher card with an expiry date. Luckily for us Jamie’s Italian gift vouchers don’t have an expiry but we were using up a Dendy voucher before it expired so we thought we’d continue on downstairs with our voucher run.

For once we were able to get a seat inside and considering it was 38 degrees outside, it was a happy change of scenery. The menu looked like it had changed since I had last been (I didn’t blog the last three visits), but TimmyC just made sure that they still had his good ol’ favourite tagliatelle pasta and he was set.

Can you spot your favourites in the new menu layout?IMG_7187.JPGCrispy prawns wrapped in angel hair pasta with tomato, basil and chilli sauce ($14.50). I chose this as a last-minute impulse even though I agreed with TimmyC that all we needed was one entree and two main sized pastas because we weren’t that hungry after popcorn consumption and it was so hot outside. I should have stuck with that decision as I felt that this dish was disappointing. Sure the pasta gave the prawns a crunch but the prawns weren’t particular big or sweet. Don’t be put off by the black squid ink looking sauce, it was a really creamy mayo and was the only saving grace of the dish.IMG_7196.JPGBaked mushroom swiss browns with crispy music bread and smoked buffalo mozzarella ($15.50). This is one of TimmyC’s favourite entrees but we both had split opinions that day; I thought it was better than usual and TimmyC didn’t really enjoy it. I really like mild flavours of the mushrooms and mozzarella against the crispy textures of the bread.IMG_7200.JPGTagliatelle bolognese ragu of beef, pork, herbs, Chianti and parmesan with crunchy herby breadcrumbs ($19.50). This is our ‘go to’ dish when we go to Jamie’s Italian, it isn’t because it is the best bolognese we’ve had but it’s one of the better things that we have tried and I really enjoy the crunchy herby breadcrumbs.IMG_7202.JPGI think TimmyC enjoys this more than me, as a personal preference I enjoy my bolognese with more meat.IMG_7203.JPGPolpetta spaghetti beef and pork meatballs, tomatoes, garlic and red wine ($18.00). Why oh why do I stray from the usual, I guess the food blogger inside of me wishes to make a new found discovery of something else that is delicious on the menu but I really didn’t enjoy this. As soon as I put a bite in my mouth, I knew the pasta was too under cooked for me, it was even a tad before al dente. The meatballs were a tad dry and bland but I enjoyed how they gave me a big spoonful of the herby crunchy stuff. I was too hot and bothered to complain and I didn’t finish my plate (which usually never happens).IMG_7205.JPGIt looked so promising before I had a taste.IMG_7207.JPGA dissection of the beef and pork meatball.IMG_7210.JPGI’m surprised that Jamie’s Italian is open during this window period but maybe it is to cash in on the holidays when most things won’t be open. I remember the days where you just eat yourself silly and spend time with friends and family  at home because nothing was open but now boxing day sales start early and even the cinemas are open!IMG_7191.JPGI find it puzzling about where this place goes wrong; the menu looks good, the staff are friendly and attentive, I guess it is mainly the execution of the food. The weird thing is that it isn’t the worst Italian I’ve ever eaten, would I have been this critical if Jamie Oliver’s name wasn’t attached to the restaurant? I guess that’s the problem with trusting another chef with your name branded over a restaurant, it is situations like this that have stopped famous chefs like Adrianno Zumbo from opening a store in Canberra, they need someone who they can trust to consistently create a product of high calibre that they would be happily be associated with.

Les bistronomes re-run (yes already)

You know it wasn’t that long since your last visit when all the wait staff recognise you. I knew we should have worn fake moustaches and spoken in a Spanish accent! Truth be told, we couldn’t wait any longer to go back to Les Bistronomes (see my previous post here), when you promise your stomach something, it won’t forget until you’ve satisfied the craving.

We were back to try their beef wellington and crème brûlée that we weren’t able to order last time. When I rang to book the table, the manager said he was completely booked out and he could only give me seating outside. My mind casted my memory back to when I peered at the patrons who sat outside last time, they were barely lit in the dim moon light and with no heating. I was desperate… I really wanted that wellington so I reluctantly said yes. The manager mentioned he was going to put fairy lights outside so it wouldn’t look so dark and dreary but he advised to bring a jacket to keep warm. I stressed to him that we really wanted a beef wellington

When we were shown to our seats, my eyes widen and I didn’t question it when we were shown to a table inside. It turns out that the electrician didn’t finish the job so the fairy lights stayed in their box. Deciding that he didn’t want anyone to sit outside until it was modified, the manager arranged for our table to be inside. How very nice of him.

Complimentary cute smoked tomato butter, I just wished that the bread was warmed.IMG_6031.JPGSoft Diabolo (strawberry $6.00). Ooops, I forgot to take a photo, it was served in a really cute mason jar with a handle. I was expecting something crazy sweet when the waitress said that this was a lemonade mixed with a strawberry syrup from France, but instead got something that tasted like soda water with a hint of strawberry flavour, when the waitress asked me if it was really sweet I knew something was wrong. The manager took my drink away and replaced it with a new one, the tap had run out of syrup and the new one was sweet alright, it reminded me of raspberry lemonade. Much better!

Entrees ($17.00)~

Escargot Et Fillet De Porc En Persillade garlic snails and pork loin with parsley cream. This isn’t the first time I’ve had snails so there was no hesitation on eating these but if you’ve never tried them before, the taste and texture remind me of a beef tortellini. The garlic puree is strong and has it definitely pierces the tongue. It went well with the parsley puree and snails. The pork loin is rolled in a leek ask giving it it’s interesting colour, the meat itself was really moist.IMG_6048.JPG

Salade Nicoise Nicoise salad: tuna, potato, french beans, olive, capsicum, egg. A little hard to share this dish but I got one of everything. I found this dish really disconnected, it seemed like I was eating separate ingredients and nothing really brought it together.IMG_6042.JPGGorgeous colour and presentation, it was just a salad that wasn’t for me.IMG_6041.JPGPlat Pour Deux/Mains for two served with one side dish of your choice($88.00)~ We chose Frites as our side.

Filet De Boeuf En Croute Au Foie Gras Et Duxelle De Champignon Beef Wellington, mushroom Duxelle, foie gras and red wine jus “Pre-order only”. It’s not French but I don’t care. This gorgeous golden brown parcel was brought to the table, photographed to death before being whisked away and cut into three pieces (usually shared between two people they were nice enough to cut it into thirds for us). My friends offered me the centre slice as I am a very big meat eater which meant I got less pastry but I didn’t mind. I tried the pastry which was golden, buttery and flakey. Next I tried the beef which was ridiculously moist and tender. I wanted to try elements of the dish before I poured over the gravy but oh my!! It was tasty before but with the red wine jus, it was perfection. We loved it so much that we asked for more to lather it onto our portions as well as dip our chips into it. I’m not usually a fan of foie gras but I couldn’t even tell it was in there with all the buttery, meaty goodness. My mouth is watering as I write this.IMG_6051.JPG

IMG_6052.JPGSorry, I got a bit carried away with the photography.IMG_6055.JPG

IMG_6059.JPG

IMG_6060.JPGOf course the light was fading when we were served the star of the meal, so my lovely friends helped with their phone flashlight.IMG_6062.JPG

IMG_6065.JPGGarnitures (side dishes $9.00)~ we chose the same sides as before

Petit Pois A La Francaise (French peas). The sweetness of the onions and the saltiness of the chunky bacon bits really compliment each other well.IMG_6056.JPGDesserts ($14.00)~

Crème brûlée A La Vanille vanilla crème brûlée. It is a big call but this is one of the best crème brûlées I’ve ever had even though it doesn’t the essential toffee hat that I like to crack with my spoon. After all the dramatic flames subsided, we all took a spoonful. Utterly flawless with its varying contrasting textures between the chunky sugar crystals and the absolutely smooth crème brûlée. It wasn’t overly sweet or eggy, it was just – perfect…

Our dessert up in flames!IMG_6068.JPGGoing…IMG_6069.JPGGoing…IMG_6070.JPGAlmost going…IMG_6071.JPGGone!IMG_6073.JPGA perfect mouthful of dessert.IMG_6082.JPGCharlotte A La Fraise and Surea strawberry and elder flower Charlotte. I really liked the combination of finely diced cucumber with strawberries, it has a really nice cooling effect. The flavours of this dessert are really light and refreshing. I love the variation of textures on this plate.IMG_6074.JPG

IMG_6075.JPG

IMG_6078.JPGWe got talking with the owner Abel Bariller, formerly the sommelier for Sage restaurant, he was very charming and informative. After the first few weeks of opening, he said he has learnt a lot about running a business and it is a lot busier than he envisaged as he didn’t know the Braddon area well, he also added that they are always learning and adjusting things as they are brought to their attention, which is nice. I hope they are here to stay because I cannot wait to taste their Winter menu.

From my first visit, I wasn’t quite convinced that this was a spectacular restaurant with food that was worth returning for as the menu is quite limited but after tonight’s dinner I’m looking for people to go with to make another return trip even if it is just for brunch.

 

That Gelato Place re-run

It’s always hard to explain where I went for dessert and I answer with ‘that gelato place‘, it makes me sound obnoxious and vague but that is really what it’s called. Now with different opening hours during Winter, my friend and I were able to squeeze in before they closed after dinner at Ming’s.

They stock a large range of award-winning Pure Gelato gelato. I tasted a few flavours that I thought I would like but upon tasting them I didn’t like their interpretation. I ended up choosing white chocolate and hazelnut while my friend couldn’t help herself but get the waffles with tiramisu gelato.

See my previous post two years ago (wow, that was ages ago!) here.

Waffle with a scoop of tiramisu gelato and chocolate topping. The smell of freshly made waffle started to fill the store and seduced other patrons into getting one also. The waffle wasn’t cooked long enough and it was more like a pancake molded into a shape rather than a crispy waffle.
20140712-202853-73733503.jpg1 scoop of white chocolate and hazelnut gelato. I had tried several flavours and I started to feel bad for trying so many but there wasn’t one where I was like ‘wow I must have more’ so I just chose the one that I liked the most from my samples.20140712-202855-73735004.jpgThese are the new Winter hours.20140712-202852-73732064.jpgIt’s nice to have something like this on the south side.

 

Breakfast at Monster

Monster wasn’t my first choice for breakfast but it provided good opening times with a convenient location. Luckily we didn’t need a reservation that Sunday morning.

I was impressed that the waiter took our breakfast order as well as our drinks without putting pen to paper but then I was less impressed when he had to come back and re-ask for our order again. Things were a bit slow and I had to prompt service to give us menus, more water etc but that was because we had to leave in just over an hour.

Gluten free muesli, winter fruit ($11.00). I love the beautiful colours that are in this dish.20140712-203755-74275164.jpgEggs any way on gluten free toast ($10.00) with mushrooms ($7.00). I thought you would get a few more extra mushrooms for a $7 side.20140712-203756-74276548.jpgHome made crumpets with Hotel Hotel honey (hive #9) ($11.00). I thought it was super cute that they used the honey from their hive. Their homemade crumpets were true to a crumpet texture and when lathered in butter, I thought it was much tastier than mine even though it is a humble menu choice.20140712-203757-74277841.jpg65° egg, sweet corn, polenta, chorizo ($17.00). I disregarded all the parsley, it just got in my way without adding anything to the dish. There was a strong taste of sweet corn which I liked but I wasn’t that fond of the chorizo. I didn’t see the $17.00 value in this small serving. 20140712-203759-74279166.jpgBreakfast and drinks for four people came to $70.00. We also ordered another coffee which never came but we weren’t charged for it.

I didn’t think that there was anything spectacular about breakfast and I probably wouldn’t come here again for it, but I would come back for late night tapas.

See my previous Monster dinner experience here.

Jamie’s Italian re-run

—– 23rd Dec 2013 —–
Another day, another early bird special without a booking, this time with the more ambitious number of 6 patrons. I was browsing dresses when I get the following text message from a friend: “you have 5 minutes to get here before they give away our table”. I put the dresses on hold and run down stairs to the outside area of Jamie’s Italian. It is a bit of a squeeze but all of us managed to fit around the table.

Drinks~

‘Refresher’ mocktail – fresh lemon, elderflower cordial & cranberry juice, topped with lemonade ($6.50). This had a lot of lemon juice which made it crazy sour which is not what it tasted like when I ordered it during my previous visit. I think that these mocktails are very inconsistent and the bar staff need to taste them before sending them out.20131226-181736.jpg

Entrees~

Italian bread selection homemade rosemary foccacia, Italian grissini, crispy ‘music bread’ & ciabatta from our bakery. All served with Rylstone extra virgin olive oil & aged balsamic. $1 from every bread tin we serve is donated to Jamie’s Ministry of Food Australia ($1.50). Since there was 6 of us we just ordered three serves for the table, it wasn’t enough to satisfy our want for also getting entrees, so this was just a starter while we were browsing the menus.

20131226-181644.jpg

Baked mushrooms swiss browns with crispy “music bread” and smoked buffalo mozzarella ($14.50). As the waiter places down my entree and I danced about take photos of everyone else’s food, he mentions he loves this dish even though he doesn’t like mushrooms. That’s the thing about Jamie’s Italian, all the waiters and waitresses all have their favourites and are not afraid to tell you.

It was a great medley of mushrooms and herbs, although I’m not quite sure about the thin base. When there is no mushrooms on it, it comes brittle and hard (around the edges of the dish) but when it is the base with mushrooms, it becomes really soggy and hard to eat. The cheese is really subtle and I wish there was more salt to this.20140114-230655.jpg

20140114-230702.jpg

Crispy squid fried quid garlicky may and lemon ($12.50). Due to an ordering error from the waitress, only one of these were served so we cancelled the one that was never put through to the kitchen and we were given more bread complimentary (we still had to pay for the previous bread, they just gave us an extra box for free). These had a nice light batter that went really well with the sauce, unfortunately the portion size was really small.

20140114-230711.jpg

Crispy tomato and mozzarella arancini stuffed rice balls with pickled red chillies, spicy arrabbiata sauce and parmesan ($10.50).20131226-181657.jpg

Tagliatelle bolognese ragù of beef, pork, herbs, Chianti & parmesan with crunchy, herby breadcrumbs (entree size $13.00, I didn’t take a photo of the main size but it was much bigger than the previous main serve that we ordered). Tim took another risk and re-ordered the same thing that disappointed us so much last time we were here. This time it was much much better! The crumb was crunchy, pasta was perfect and the bolognese sauce itself was fantastic as always. 20131226-181726.jpg

Simple baked lasagne slow-cooked beef & pork with roasted squash, herbs & wine, baked in an oozy white sauce with tomatoes, mozzarella & Parmesan ($21.00). I steered clear of previous menu items hoping to try something new that night. The lasagna didn’t have the same sauce as the bolognese otherwise this would have been spectacular. I didn’t understand the constant addition of rocket to all the pastas; I just tossed it aside. There was nothing special about this dish; it wasn’t particularly cheesy, the red sauce was mediocre and I didn’t feel that there was much white sauce. I got more enjoyment from eating from TimmyC’s plate.

.20131226-182232.jpg

20131226-182244.jpg

Italian farm sausage grilled pork sausage flavoured with red wine & spices, served with sweet & sour capsicums, capers, chilli & garlic ($23.00). My friend liked this as much as I ‘liked’ my lasagna. It tasted a bit ‘herby’ but it was missing something, a chutney or sauce perhaps? My friend didn’t even eat half of this, I think he got bored with the meal or he was completely underwhelmed.

20131226-182206.jpg

The Jamie’s Italian burger Aussie Black Angus steak with smoked mozzarella, pancetta, sticky balsamic onions, tomato, pickles and chillies ($19.50). My friend really enjoyed her burger but I still think by looking at it, that the bun to meat ratio is all wrong.

20131226-181805.jpg

The back of the burger looks less appetizing.

20131226-181756.jpg

Spaghetti alla norma a classic Sicilian pasta dish of eggplant, oregano, chilli & basil, all in a rich tomato sauce.

20131226-181833.jpg

Sides~

Our famous polenta chips crispy fried with rosemary and parmesan ($8.50). The polenta chips were rather nice, exactly the same to the Sydney store; they were crispy, salty and you wouldn’t think that they were made from polenta.

20131226-182219.jpg

The staff were nice and friendly as always, the food came out promptly, the only thing that was disappointing were some of the dishes, there were more ‘misses’ than ‘hits’. I’m not completely sold on this place yet.

Versace high tea re-run

A new year begins and I find myself sitting at the glamorous Versace Hotel at Main Beach QLD a year later. I don’t plan to make this an annual event, it was just a happy coincidence.

Couture High Tea (basic high tea with no alcohol) $48.00 pp. It was ok, better than your average high tea.It is mostly just novelty to sit on Versace chairs near the beautiful lobby, eat with Versace cutlery on Versace plates. The selection of sweets are definitely better than last year. $30 for valet parking if you just want to roll up and not worry about parking. See my previous experience here.

20140101-163712.jpgTop tier~

A selection of sweets including macarons, meringues, mysterious waffle cones, cake pops, mango (?) tart and a chocolate and passionfruit cake.20140101-163728.jpg

Middle tier~

Plain scones and fruit scones, double cream, savoury quiche, a jelly cream dessert, a variety of olives and a very indulgent salted caramel tart.

20140101-163735.jpg

Bottom tier~

A selection of sandwiches and crisp bread with a sun-dried tomato dip.20140101-163744.jpg

Each High Tea set comes with a tea or a coffee. I chose ‘Prince of Wales’ tea to be a bit different from the norm, Russian Caravan was also supposed to be good.

20140101-171717.jpg

I always end on savoury when I can help it, it doesn’t matter if I’m at an all you can eat restaurant, fine dining or high tea. It does get a little sweet towards the end and you might pass out due to a food coma with all the tea so I do suggest leaving a little sandwich or something for the end. Don’t be afraid to ask for more cream/jam/dip, the staff are friendly and are too willing to help.

Notes~

You don’t need to book if there are less than 6 people. 11am – 5pm daily.

 

20140101-163813.jpg

 

Mekong River re-run

I wanted to come back here and try more of Mekong River‘s noodles just to make sure the first time wasn’t a fluke and to test whether their noodle soups were as good as the stir fried noodles.

Pho ($10.00 lunch special). I am a big fan of pho noodles but this one was one of the most disappointing ones I have tried. The broth was just brown coloured water, there weren’t enough herbs and the meat was way too thick to be served with pho noodles.

Lard Nah  with chicken ($10.00 lunch special). With lots of delicious gravy, you can’t go wrong.

Laksa with roast pork ($10.00 lunch special). Seriously, why are people eating next door when the stir fried noodles and the laksas are so much better here. All the tofu was a sponge to all the delicious flavoursome soup and it had a bit of a chili kick to it.

Pad Kee Mao ($10.00 lunch special). I couldn’t not order this again, served hot and tasty with just hints of chilli. One of my favourite noodles from this restaurant.

So it wasn’t a fluke, the stir fried noodles were just as amazing as before but now we can add laksas to the ‘to eat’ list and stay away from their pho.

Breizh cafe re-run

—– 19th Dec 2013 —–

Pretty much straight away after I pressed publish on my blog about the first time I went to Breizh cafe, we jumped in the car and went to get crepes that TimmyC was craving for after seeing my photos. We happened to arrive just after the breakfast menu ended but they said if we ordered fast enough they would let us order from it. After I paid, I asked if breakfast finished at 11am and lunch started at 12pm, what would they serve in between, they said that they usually just sell coffee and cakes from the cabinet.

20131226-175441.jpgTimmyC thought his flat white tasted very bitter and it wasn’t very smooth, not a good start to the morning.20131226-175507.jpg

Sweet crepes with home-made salted caramel sauce ($8.00). The breakfast menu has simple crepes and when we enquired about the more OTT crepes on their lunch menu they said that the kitchen hasn’t prepped for that yet. The crepe was simple but tasty with a perfectly made thin crispy crepe adorned with nothing but salted caramel sauce and a bit of icing sugar.

20131226-175518.jpgPork sausage with cassoulet style white beans and toasted baguette ($13.50). The sauce to this cassoulet was so tasty but I couldn’t put my finger on what the flavours were, so I would take another bite and ponder some more and then take another bite until when I put my spoon in there was nothing left so I grabbed my bread and wiped up any remaining sauce. I wasn’t too keen on the white sausage, it just tasted like dull meat and herbs with barely any sear on it.

20131226-175531.jpgYou could see from my plate what I enjoyed most from the dish.

20131226-175721.jpg

Kouign Amann ($6.00). I somehow managed to convince Tim not to order another crepe and to get the cake that I talked up so much. The whipped cream was as fabulous as I remembered it to be but the cake however was very different. There wasn’t the toffee crust that built up around the edges of the cake, the top was not hard and sticky and all the ‘bread’ layering in the middle was rather dry and almost stale. This might have been in fact the same cake that had been sitting there since Thursday. I was so disappointed since my previous experience was so magical.

20131226-175602.jpg

20131226-175636.jpg

I was very sad about the kouign amann not being as good, I would hate to think that someone else went out that morning after I posted about it and got the same stale thing as we did. I ended up editing my thumbs up on Urbanspoon to the Breizh cafe after this visit. So far the sweet crepes have not been disappointing.

On a side note, this cafe has a 10% surcharge on Sundays so just be aware if you’re coming for a Sunday brunch.