Taste tester 

When I’m not browsing my countless cook books or I’m craving something in particular, I turn to taste.com.au to look for inspiration and recipes. It is an Australian site so the lazy girl in me doesn’t have to convert all the units, the recipes call for ingredients readily available to me and the best of all, most of the recipes have been reviewed and commented on,which helps to know if a recipe is worth trying.

I’ve had some success and failures from the website, but I thought I’d share them with you so you can avoid the mishaps that I’ve cooked and enjoy in the easy, tasty recipes that I’ve found.

Noma Australia re-run

This title might seem a little odd as Noma Australia isn’t a place you usually get into once during their ten week pop up at Barangaroo, let alone twice (see my first post here).

I had said to TimmyC during my wedding speech that I didn’t know how he was going to top taking me to the Fat Duck when it was in Melbourne, but I hoped that he would try and here I am. I know I am a very lucky girl when there were supposedly 27,000 people on a wait list.

The menu was mainly unchanged since our last visit, although they had incorporated the avocado as another course into the degustation and there wasn’t any foraged blackberries this time. Overall, the consistency between visits was pretty high.

This time we went for lunch, I was hoping to get better photos with the natural light.

An overall glance at the entire 13 course degustation menu ($493 per person including credit card costs).Unripe macadamia and spanner crab the juice of a spanner crab, green macadamia nuts with rose oil.Wild seasonal berries flavoured with gubinge bowl of berries (lilli pilli, native lime etc) with seaweed oil dusted with kakadu native plum powder.Porridge of golden and desert oak wattleseed with saltbush wattle porridge topped with salt bush and finger lime.Seafood platter and crocodile fat starting from the bottom right hand corner pipi, blue mussel, strawberry clam, cockle and oyster all prepared with tomato juice and crocodile fat.

This time I remembered to take a photo!W.A. deep sea snow crab with cured egg yolk lightly steamed snow crab in a fermented kangaroo meat sauce (we are pretty sure that is what they said).PIE: dried scallops and nasturium flowers kelp tart with scallop fudge and a celery reduction served with foraged flowers.BBQed milk ‘dumpling’ with marron and magpie goose marron brushed with magpie goose ragout wrapped in a burnt milk skin.Mushroom paste and tomato dried with pepperberries semi dried tomatoes from the Blue Mountains with mushroom paste. This was the alternative dish to sea urchin.Truffle and avocado kelp, avocado and truffle.Abalone schnitzel and bush condiments finger lime, beach floral bouquet, succulent, kakadu native plum, Neptune’s necklace, glass beads, seaside fennel served with an abalone schnitzel and celery yeast water.It takes great skill to cook abalone well.The table was divided between choosing their favourite course between the snow crab, marron and the schnitzel; they were all still my favourite and I enjoyed them even more the second time around.

Marinated fresh fruit mango ice cream sandwich with green ants, compressed watermelon with black currant wood oil and pineapple sprayed in whisky and sprinkled with some salt.A close up of the mango gelato sandwich with green ants.Mirrabelle plum, lime and pepperberry twigs.Rum lamington lamington with milk crumb and native tamarind sauce.Peanut milk and freekah “Baytime”.Native lime.Noma have auctioned off their last dinner service (2nd April) in Australia, with profits going to OzHarvest and MAD. They have also given back to the community by allowing hospitality students an opportunity to dine at Noma free of charge, a tour of the kitchen and time to meet members of the Noma team. They also offered a vocational program for aspiring chefs and waiters as well as baking bread for the homeless.

I think it was fantastic having the Noma team in Australia, they have inspired chefs, they have pushed boundaries and showed off Australia’s unique native ingredients.

 

Let’s do lunch! Bicicletta 

It is still March (only just!), which means that it is still Good Food Month in Canberra. I had completely forgotten that Bicicletta was doing a Let’s Do Lunch special, so I was pleasantly surprised when we were given another menu.

A great-priced set lunch with a matched drink from $38.00 per person. Two courses from the uniquely Italian inspired menu with a glass of Yalumba wine or Coopers pale ale beer.Entree~

Arancini roasted tomato and pecorino cheese risotto balls with garlic aioli. These were really crunchy and gooey inside. I really liked the how the cheese was all stringy when you cut them in half.Scottata marinated seared beef tenderloin thinly sliced with mixed Italian herbs served with rucola, parmigiano and olive oil. I found the beef full on little holes which gave it a weird texture, the rucola was limp and the flavours were not very strong. I enjoyed the arancini much more than this entrée.Mains~

Spaghetti al frutti mare fresh pipis, King prawns, scallops and baby squid , sauteed with chilli, garlic, cherry tomato and bisque. My friend’s pasta had more sauce than mine, so I found my pasta to be a bit dry. Even though  I would have preferred more chilli taste, I really enjoyed the seafood and the perfectly al dente pasta.Dessert~ It was only a two course lunch but we couldn’t help but order a dessert to share between us.

Tiramisu traditional cake with coffee infused savoiardi biscuits, mascarpone, eggs, cream and cacao ($12.00). I found the bottom layer of biscuits had soaked up a lot of coffee which made my eyes instantly widen. I stuck to the less intense biscuit layers with the cream and mascarpone and thoroughly enjoyed myself.Coffee and tea are included in the menu but we didn’t have any.

Noma Australia

If you somehow have not heard, Noma have made a home in Barangaroo, Australia for 10 weeks. Bookings were highly anticipated for the number 3 restaurant in the world and the entire 10-week calendar (excluding some special events) was sold out in less than 2 minutes. I was lucky enough to have dinner there last Friday night.

This has got to be one of the most photographed walls in Sydney.The view from the terrace.When we arrived, they knew what the person who made the booking looked like. They must have stalked him through social media/google like many other restaurants do. We were slightly early to our booking so the Noma staff offered us a drink on their terrace. Without asking if everyone wanted the aperitif, they poured 6 glasses and I naturally just gave mine to TimmyC. They were very liberal with the refills and then we were brought inside to our table.

Snakebite aperitif a mix of cider and beer ($25.00 per person). I was a bit shocked at the price but I guess after the price we paid for the meal I shouldn’t really be. I was a little disappointed that they poured me a glass even though I didn’t have any but TimmyC had both glasses and multiple refills so I guess we didn’t lose out.We were greeted by the kitchen staff who waited patiently for my phone to unfreeze and capture a quick photo before sitting down. The table was modestly decorated with a big flat plate, simple napkins and of course native Australian plants.

I finally got my camera to unfreeze and stop holding everyone up.A small intimate dining room setting.Soon after choosing beverages, a wave of chefs come to our table and all 6 of us were served instantaneously. Throughout the night, the dishes are served and taken away in this efficient manner.12 course degustation ($493 per person including credit card costs).

Unripe macadamia and spanner crab the juice of a spanner crab, green macadamia nuts with rose oil. I was surprised to find this cold and served on ice but I guess it kept the crab juices fresh and crisp on the palette. I found that some bites were more crab juice intense while with others the rose oil was stronger, but every mouthful had a nice crunch to it.Wild seasonal berries flavoured with gubinge bowl of berries (lilli pilli, native lime etc) with seaweed oil dusted with kakadu native plum powder. With so many berries each with their own unique taste, every bite was different. TimmyC called it Russian roulette as something within that berry mix was not agreeing with his taste buds. Some bites tasted nuttier than others but my favourite mouthfuls was when I’d get a bursts of citrus from the native lime.Porridge of golden and desert oak wattleseed with saltbush wattle porridge topped with salt bush and finger lime. Despite the wattleseed being prepared for many hours, I found it too hard, slightly dry and chewy for my liking. The finger lime helped but this dish wasn’t my favourite.Seafood platter and crocodile fat starting from the bottom right hand corner pipi, blue mussel, strawberry clam, cockle and oyster all prepared with tomato juice and crocodile fat. Okay, I may have gotten a little over excited and  finished eating without taking a photo first. I am only (a hungry) human. I liked how the brittle sticky covering gave each shellfish a nice salty oompf while allowing their fabulous natural flavours come through; my favourite one would have to be either the blue mussel or oyster.

You can pretend that they aren’t just empty shellsThere was one oyster left on the table that wasn’t eaten yet when I realised my lack of photos of this dish.W.A. deep sea snow crab with cured egg yolk lightly steamed snow crab in a fermented kangaroo meat sauce (we are pretty sure that is what they said). Hello heaven! The light steaming made the crab meat warm and succulent, while the sauce made it feel like we were eating buttery goodness. I wish this bowl was bigger and never ending.PIE: dried scallops and nasturium flowers kelp tart with scallop fudge and a celery reduction served with foraged flowers. They said that they could not come to Australia and not make a ‘pie’. This was a like a delicate soft savoury tart that I can’t completely describe; I didn’t think it needed the flowers though.BBQed milk ‘dumpling’ with marron and magpie goose marron brushed with magpie goose ragout wrapped in a burnt milk skin. I find it fascinating that they made a ragout from the magpie goose, just to brush the sauce onto the marron. The burnt milk skin was surprisingly sweet when eaten by itself but it provided a beautiful ‘dumpling skin’ to the juicy marron meat. I really enjoyed this.Sea urchin and tomato dried with pepper berries semi dried tomatoes from the Blue Mountains with sea urchin. Now the way I describe this dish was that it felt like art but I didn’t understand it. I don’t usually like sea urchin but I stomached this one okay and the broth cut through the acidity in the tomatoes that I found really intense. I found myself slowly eating this dish as it kept me pondering about what these flavours meant until I finished it all but I still felt a bit puzzled. Others on the table barely touched theirs as they didn’t like it so this was replaced with an alternative dish.Alternate dishavocado, kelp and truffle. The salty exterior of the kelp gave a nice seasoning to the fatty rich avocado, which finished with a truffle after taste. I much preferred this over the sea urchin.Abalone schnitzel and bush condiments finger lime, beach floral bouquet, succulent, kakadu native plum, Neptune’s necklace, glass beads, seaside fennel served with an abalone schnitzel and celery yeast water. Just when I was deciding which one I liked more between the marron or the snow crab, this strong contender was the next course that was served to us.

We were advised to spread the finger lime over the schnitzel, dip it in the sauce and just to eat all the other condiments naturally. It was amazing to see so many familiar things on my plate but I had never thought to eat or taste them before; they all provided interesting textures and subtle flavours. The abalone schnitzel was perfectly crumbed and crispy and dipping it into that sauce just gave it extra levels of flavours and saltiness. I loved the sauce so much I started dipping my bouquet in it just to finish it all off.Delicious celery yeast water.Marinated fresh fruit mango ice cream sandwich with green ants, compressed watermelon with black currant wood oil and pineapple sprayed in whisky and sprinkled with some salt. I thought that the mango gelato was so intense that I didn’t notice what the ants tasted like, I should have picked one off and ate it separately. I really liked the pineapple, the whisky really cut through the acidity and allowed it to be extra sweet.Blackberries served with mirrabelle plum, lime and pepperberry twig. We were told to eat the fruit and then to gently chew on the juniper branch. I thought the fresh blackberries and plum weren’t overly sweet especially when pairing it with the last juice but the twig was really interesting as it gave my mouth some heat.Rum lamington lamington with milk crumb and native tamarind sauce. I knew I was eating something because I put spoonfuls of it into my mouth, but what looked like sponge cake before me dissolved on my tongue almost instantly. It was almost like eating fairy floss with the way it disappeared. The native tamarind sauce gave the whole dessert a nice tart tang.Peanut milk and freekah “Baytime”. When they said that they couldn’t use the name of a certain ice-cream and replaced the name with “Baytime” because we were by the water, I had a certain expectation in my mind. What this reminded me of was more of an ice-cream picnic bar as the peanut flavour was quite strong and it had a toffee centre. Native lime. This reminded me of dried mandarin peels that I used to eat as a kid, the skin quickly dissolved to give you a sweet then sour aftertaste.Beverages~

Juice parings (5 juices $95.00)

It felt really weird drinking a juice with oil in it but helped coat the mouth before all these intense seafood courses came out. When had by itself, these juices were really intense in flavour but it eventually rounded out in my mouth when paired with food.

Bergamot kombucha / native mint 

Rose/spruce wood oil 

Green tomato / lemon myrtle 

smoked pepper/red pepper berry

blood plum/native lemongrass This was really sweet unlike the other juices of the degustation.Wine pairings (there were 7 wines $215.00)

Tea and coffee ($10.00 each).The first question most people ask me is ‘how was Noma/the fancy restaurant?’ and I respond with ‘Noma isn’t for everyone’.

That statement has nothing to do with the price but really the meat heavy culture we have in Australia. The time leading up to my meal at Noma, I was in a ‘no spoilers’ mode for trying to keep the menu a surprise to get the full effect on the day. I knew it would be seafood heavy with tropical fruits but I was surprised to find that there was no red meat on the menu.

A lot of my friends won’t eat seafood unless it is a crumbed piece of fish next to fried chips, so to serve shellfish and sea urchin would be wasted on some (like the sad feelings I get when non-Asians go to a Chinese wedding and don’t eat much). The reality is that the majority of us don’t eat as much seafood as other parts of the world, despite our iconic saying of throwing another shrimp on the barbie.

To have been ranked number 1 in the world, you can’t just cook the usual things really well, you have to break new ground, find new ingredients and do things a little differently, which Noma has done during their time in Australia. I felt a bit naïve at the end of the meal as these chefs have come to our country to show of our unique and native ingredients to us.

People ask me if it was worth the money and I say yes. If the number 3 restaurant in the world comes to your doorstep and prepares unique ingredients for a 10-week stint, you say ‘yes!’. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity and a unique dining experience.

Venue: Noma Australia

Address: 23 Barangaroo Ave, New South Wales 2146

Website: http://noma.dk/australia/
Noma Australia Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

A lot of Barangaroo is still under construction but in a few years, I cannot wait to see what this place becomes.

Fancy Nance – Melbourne series

After back to back eating sessions, I probably wasn’t feeling the hungriest when we stepped into Fancy Nance for high tea but FOMO got the best of me and I could not pass up the ‘I’m so Fancy’ option while my more sensible eating companions opted for the smaller ‘Pink Flamingo’ high tea.

Follow the signs for Fancy Nance.
A very mad hatter’s tea party feeling as you walk in.
I love the tea pot and tea cups lights.I’m so Fancy ($65.00)~

 

Despite the order written on the menu, things came a bit out of order but you did receive sweet things first and then ended on savoury which is usually how I eat things anyway. They must be going off the premise that life is short, eat dessert first.

 

‘Not so late’ carrot cake. I could not stop smiling while eating this. In short this was a deconstructed carrot cake but it was so tasty. The soft torn cake pieces delicately sat on top of the whipped cream cheese was genius but my favourite part was the candied nuts and different coloured carrots. This made me very excited for what was still to come.
Complete with a carrot top!
I felt a bit rushed when this board was placed in front of me with four different things on it. I didn’t eat fast enough and some of the ice creams started to melt and drip everywhere.
Bubbles, marzipan, rum fruits and roast cinnamon ice cream. This was more complex than what meets the eye, just below the bubble surface was many complex layers of different textures and flavours.
Cocoa nib creme brulee, pineapple and pina colada ice cream. This might have tasted sweeter if I had started off with this before the other desserts but by the time I got to this, the ice cream had melted into a puddle of mess and flavours weren’t as prominent because of the sweeter flavours from the other desserts.
Chai panna cotta, pear cremeux, ginger and honey. You had to dig down to get all the layers but the chai panna cotta flavour was the most prominent aftertaste. The texture of the panna cotta was incredibly smooth.
Macaron I couldn’t tell what flavour it was, after eating the entire board the sweet flavours started to meld into one.
Scones with 2 jams – roast capsicum jam and some other jam that I didn’t really try. As full as I was, I could not stop eating these scones with roast capsicum jam and cream cheese, it was sweet yet felt savoury at the same time. This might not be for everyone but I certainly enjoyed it.
Pastries de jour. I started to slow right down after the scones because by this point, things arrived one after another and I could barely keep up. I slow nibbled at this but I didn’t find either one particularly extraordinary. 
Tapioca cracker, tomato and ricotta. There was a nice break before the savouries started to arrive and like most people who have a separate dessert stomach, I have a separate one for savouries. This was a nice transitioning course from sweet to savoury as it was definitely salty but it wasn’t heavy or overwhelming.
Taco de Nance tuna, strawberries, avocado, tomato sorbet. This might sound like a strange combination but it really works well together, although I did find the corn taco shell getting a bit soggy and hard to eat as the sorbet melted. With the fish and fruit combined, it was refreshing on the palette.
Chinese chicken balls. These came out extremely hot and not as I expected, I assumed it would be more like a meat ball rather than a doughy interior with a meat centre but it did soak up the delicious sauce very well.
Beef cheeks with vanilla and purple carrots. This was really tender and the sweetness of the vanilla and carrots balanced out the heaviness of the meat. It wasn’t as good as the beef from MoVida, but it was definitely memorable.
Tea, coffee or hot chocolate. We ordered our beverages first and since we had so much sweet on the way, I opted for green tea. 
Someone TimmyC managed to squeeze in an iced coffee with everything else ($5.50).

Pink Flamingo ($45.00)~
 
Bubbles, marzipan, rum fruits and roast cinnamon ice cream.
Chocolate and cherry long john. This was the pick of the Pink Flamingo high tea, so it was a shame that it was one of the first things to come out. It was like a cronut with many flaky layers with the perfect amount of cream and sweet toppings.Creamsticle. I thought these were adorable. Not much particular flavour to them but they are so teeny tiny.
Scone with 2 jams
Tapioca cracker, tomato and ricotta
Taco de Nance tuna, strawberries, avocado, tomato sorbet
Chinese chicken balls
Tea, coffee or hot chocolate
 
For a high tea with so many courses of sweet and savoury and also the obligatory high tea scones, it was definitely value for money compared to the high teas we get here in Canberra. What I thought was disappointing was for someone who specialises in sweets, I was hoping that Zumbo would push the envelope with his desserts and give me something new and exciting. I really enjoyed the carrot cake but from there, the dishes didn’t really compare; there were just lots of soft textured layered desserts. I thought the savouries had more variety and were more daring in flavour combinations and textures than the sweets. Still worth checking out though, it beats stake cake and tarts and crustless sandwiches any day.

 

Venue: Fancy Nance
Address: 21 Daly St, South Yarra VIC 3141
Phone: (03) 9826 0312

Fancy Nance Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

What’s in season: November

In season: November

 

Vegetables

asparagus, Reed and Hass avocados varieties, artichokes, Asian greens (bok choy, kang kung, etc), asparagus, beetroot, broad beans (peak of season), broccoli, collard greens, corn, cucumbers, green beans, kale, lettuces, shiitake mushrooms, okra, onions, red/Spanish (first of the season), peas, sugar snap, potatoes, pumpkin (Jap variety), silverbeet, spinach, witlof, zucchini, zucchini flowers

Herbs, spices and aromatics

basil, chillies, coriander, curly parsley, dill, flat leaf parsley, Italian Purple garlic, ginger, mint, oregano, rocket, spring onions (aka green onions, aka shallots – not eschallots), thyme, watercress

Fruits, berries and nuts

apples – Pink Lady, Fuji, Granny Smith, Sundowner, apricots (just starting), bananas, blueberries, blood oranges (end of season), cherries, grapefruit, kiwifruit, loquats, mango (beginning of season), mangosteen, mulberries, oranges (Valencia), papaya, passionfruit (panama variety), pineapples, raspberries, rhubarb, strawberries, watermelon

What’s in season: October

In season: October

 

Vegetables

Globe artichokes, Asian greens, asparagus, avocadoes, beetroot, broad beans, cauliflower, lettuces, shiitake mushrooms, onions, peas, potatoes (chat, new), silverbeet, spinach, watercress, witlof, wombok, zucchini

Herbs, spices and aromatics

chillies, coriander, curly parsley, flat leaf parsley, ginger, mint, oregano, rocket, spring onions (aka green onions, aka shallots – not eschallots), thyme

Fruits, berries and nuts

apples – fujis, sundowners, pink lady, lady williams, golden delicious, red delicious and granny smiths are all in season, bananas, cumquats, grapefruits, kiwi fruit, oranges (Valencia), and nearing the end of the blood oranges, mandarins, papaya, passionfruit, pomelos, tangellos, strawberries

What’s in season: September

In season: September

 

Vegetables

Globe artichokes, Asian greens, asparagus, beetroot, bitter melon, broad beans, broccolini, cauliflower, kohlrabi, lettuce, mushrooms, cultivated, shiitake, peas, potatoes (chat, new), silverbeet, spinach, swedes, wombok

Herbs, spices and aromatics

chillies, coriander, curly parsley, flat leaf parsley, ginger, horseradish, mint, oregano, rocket, spring onions (aka green onions, aka shallots – not eschallots), turmeric, thyme

Fruits, berries and nuts

apples (Lady Williams), bananas, cumquats, grapefruit, lemons, mandarins (Honey Murcott), melons, nashis, oranges, Seville and Blood oranges, papaya, pineapple, pomelo, tangelos

What’s in season: August

In season: August

 

Vegetables

beetroots, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, green cabbage, red cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celeriac, Jerusalem artichokes, kohlrabi, leeks, shiitake mushrooms, okra, onions, parsnips, potatoes, pumpkin, silverbeet, spinach, swede, sweet potatoes, witlof, wombok (aka Chinese cabbage, aka celery cabbage)

Herbs, spices and aromatics

ginger, horseradish, nuts, spring onions (aka green onions, aka shallots – not eschallots), turmeric

Fruits, berries and nuts

grapefruit, lemons, mandarins, oranges (blood), oranges (Navel), oranges (Seville)

What’s in season: July

In season: July

 

Vegetables

artichoke, Asian greens, avocados, beetroot, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green cabbage, red cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, eschallots (red shallots), fennel, Jerusalem artichokes, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, shiitake mushrooms, okra, olives, brown onions, pickling onion, parsnips, potatoes, pumpkins, shallots, silverbeet, spinach, swedes, sweet potatoes, truffle (local Canberra black truffle), turnips, wombok (aka Chinese cabbage, aka celery cabbage), witlof (aka Belgian endive)

Herbs, spices and aromatics

ginger, horseradish, nuts, spring onions (aka green onions, aka shallots – not eschallots), turmeric

Fruits, berries and nuts

apples (Granny Smith), cumquats, custard apples, grapefruit, lemons, limes, mandarins, melons, oranges (blood), oranges (Navel), papaya, pears, persimmons, pineapple, pomelos, quince, rhubarb, tangelos

What’s in season: June

In season: June

 

Vegetables

Asian greens, avocados, beetroot, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green cabbage, red cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, fennel, Jerusalem artichokes, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, cultivated mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, slippery jack mushrooms, onions, brown, onion, pickling, parsnips, potatoes, pumpkins, shallots, silverbeet, spinach, swedes, sweet potatoes, turnips, truffle (local Canberra black truffle), wombok (aka Chinese cabbage, aka celery cabbage)

Herbs, spices and aromatics

garlic (from last November!), ginger, horseradish, spring onions (aka green onions, aka shallots – not eschallots), turmeric

Fruits, berries and nuts

golden delicious apples, Granny Smith apples, jonathan apples, cumquats, custard apples, fejoias, kiwifruit, lemons, limes, mandarins, melons, nashi, nuts, olives, oranges, oranges (Navel), pears, persimmons, quince, rhubarb, tamarillo

What’s in season: May

In season: May

 

Vegetables

Asian greens, beetroots, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green cabbage, red cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celeriac, chestnuts, corn, fennel, leeks, cultivated mushrooms, field mushrooms, pine mushrooms (aka saffron milkcap), slippery jack mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, okra, onions, parsnips, pumpkin, silverbeet, spinach, sweet potatoes, swedes, turnip, witlof, zucchini

Herbs, spices and aromatics

basil, chervil, chillies, coriander, curly parsley, dill, flat leaf parsley, Italian Purple garlic, ginger, majoram, mint, oregano, rocket, sage, spring onions (aka green onions, aka shallots – not eschallots), tarragon, thyme, watercress

Fruits, berries and nuts

almonds, golden delicious apples, Granny Smith apples, jonathan apples, red delicious apples, avocados, chestnuts, fejoias, hazelnuts, kiwifruit, mandarins (Imperial), nashi, oranges (Navel), Packenham pears, persimmon, quince, rhubarb, tamarillo, walnuts

Tim Ho Wan – Chatswood

During my last fleeting visit to Sydney, Mum and her friends were sweet enough take me to Tim Ho Wan in Chatswood, the first of three locations in Sydney. I had just arrived in the CBD when my Mum’s friends had just started to line up, it was an estimated 40 minutes wait but the deal breaker was that all parties must be present to be seated in the world’s cheapest Michelin star restaurant. Conveniently for us, the restaurant is located right near the Chatswood train station and we joined the line long enough to quickly jot a few dishes on the menu before quickly getting seated.I could start to see why the line was so long besides the fact that it is new and the buzz around the brand name, the restaurant seating area itself wasn’t that big.I should have ordered that steamed egg cake! #foodregretsThe menu is limited to 25 menu items not including drinks. You write the quantity you want next to the item and hand in the order form like you would have Din Tai Fung.Vermicelli roll with shrimp ($7.80). I grabbed the top roll and thought they had forgotten to put anything inside if it wasn’t for the sad single prawn stuck somewhere in the lower half like a small rock trapped in a sock.Vermicelli roll with sesame sauce ($5.80). The sauce was really delicious and much better than the roll with shrimp.Pork dumpling with shrimp ($7.20). Not my preferred style of dumpling but it went really well with chilli sauce.Prawn dumpling ($7.80). These were nice, they didn’t stick to the paper, the wrapper was a good thickness and the prawn filling was delicious.Pork rib with black bean sauce ($6.80). The pork pieces were very small but that didn’t stop me from eating almost the whole thing to myself.Bean curd skin roll with pork and shrimp ($6.20). One of my favourite things to eat during yum cha, this version was a little on the skinny side but the sauce was really nice.Wasabi salad prawn dumpling ($7.80). I didn’t think I would like the deep fried dumpling but the wasabi and roe was subtle and complimented the prawn filling.Rice with beef and fried egg ($8.80). I was looking forward to this, albeit it wouldn’t be my first flavour choice out of the rice toppings. I found the beef cake layer too chewy and tough while the egg was cooked in an egg ring and didn’t look too appetising.Glutinous rice in lotus leaf ($8.80 one serve). It had lots of ingredients inside and the rice was really nice.Baked bun with BBQ pork ($6.80 for three). This was the star of the evening. It wasn’t as pretty and golden brown as the ones in HK, which made me sceptical but they had a wonderful crunch on the top like a pineapple bun. The pork and bun have a perfect balance of salty and sweetness.I had dragged TimmyC to one of the Tim Ho Wan locations scattered around Hong Kong and we had had our fill for around $12 AUD, although then we were eating 4-5 meals a day so it couldn’t be too big. The Sydney store is much more pricey comparatively but roughly consistent with neighbouring yum cha places.

The yum cha here is very mediocre and I prefer to go to Fook Yuen when I’m in the area but the baked buns with BBQ pork are a signature dish for Tim Ho Wan and it is worth lining up for (maybe not 2+ hours long but 15-20 minutes) if you have a craving.

There is a way to skip the queue but you need 8+ friends to do so like NQN did.

Venue: Tim Ho Wan

Address: The District, 436 Victoria Ave Chatswood, NSW

Phone02 9898 9888

Websitehttp://www.timhowan.com/

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What’s in season: April

In season: April

 

Vegetables

beetroot, red cabbage, green cabbage, capsicum, carrots, cauliflower, corn, cucumber, eggplant, leeks, mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, field mushrooms, pine mushrooms (aka saffron milkcap), slippery jack mushrooms, onions, peas, pumpkin, silverbeet, spinach, turnip, witlof, zucchini

Herbs, spices and aromatics

basil, chervil, chillies, coriander, curly parsley, dill, flat leaf parsley, Italian Purple garlic, ginger, majoram, mint, oregano, rocket, sage, spring onions (aka green onions, aka shallots – not eschallots), tarragon, thyme, watercress

Fruits, berries and nuts

almonds, golden delicious apples, jonathan apples, red delicious apples, chestnuts, custard apples, fingerlimes, figs, fuji, muscatel grapes, sultana grapes, guava, hazelnuts, kiwifruit, lemons, limes, Packenham pears, William pears, persimmon, pomegranate, quince, rhubarb, tamarillo, walnuts

What’s in season: March

In season: March

 

Vegetables

Asian greens, butter beans (aka yellow beans, aka wax beans), beetroot, broccoli, green cabbage, red cabbage, capsicum, carrots, corn, cucumber, eggplant, leeks, lettuce, shiitake mushrooms, pine mushrooms (aka saffron milkcap), slippery jack mushrooms, okra, onions, peas, potatoes, pumpkin, silverbeet, spinach, squash, swedes (aka rutabaga), tomatoes, turnip, witlof, zucchini

Herbs, spices and aromatics

basil, chervil, chillies, coriander, curly parsley, dill, flat leaf parsley, Italian Purple garlic, ginger, majoram, mint, oregano, rocket, sage, spring onions (aka green onions, aka shallots – not eschallots), tarragon, thyme, watercress

Fruits, berries and nuts

almonds, chestnuts, fingerlimes, figs, cardinal grapes, muscatel grapes, sultana grapes, hazelnuts, lemons, imperial mandarins, papaya, passionfruit, Buerre Bosc pears, Packenham pears, red sensation pears, William pears, persimmon, pomegranate, plums, quinces, raspberries, rhubarb, strawberries, tamarillos, walnuts