Les Bistronomes Saturday degustations

I had seen on my Facebook feed that Les Bistronomes was doing a 5 course degustation for only $50.00 per person on Saturdays and I promised my stomach that we would go. And so we went.

Complimentary bread and butter.5 course degustation ($50.00 per person)

Escargot and pork rillettes. Quintessentially French. The escargot was in an intense herb and garlic sauce, which was easy to dig out from the shell. I really enjoyed the rillettes as the pickle gave the right amount of tang with the meat and the crouton was perfectly crunchy.Escargot anyone?Beetroot and goat curd. I found this visually stunning dish simple with a great balance of flavours. The goat curd itself wasn’t really strong and I liked how they used an array of coloured beets which were subtly sweet.Alternative dish mushroom delight. TimmyC dislikes beetroot and goat dairy products, so he requested an alternative dish for his second course. This was on the saltier side but very moreish and amazing if they had to just make something on the spot.Duck breast with foie gras salad. This was a very light salad with good balance of acidity and salt. The foie gras was delicately shaved and was enjoyed by everyone including me who doesn’t usually eat it.

Pork with nectarine. I was expecting a big piece of meat but the slices of pork were very tender and succulent. I did find the other edges of my portion were fatty and inedible but not everyone had that. The dressing was on the sweeter side but it paired nicely with the meat.

Crème brûlée. It is always a grand theatrical conversation stopper when Les Bistronomes serve up their crème brûlée complete with flames. The custard itself is cold but very smooth and silky. It is a generous serve to say the least, especially when you’re finishing off a degustation, but I managed to squeeze it all in *pats belly*.One just for me? I wasn’t feeling full at this point but I had a feeling I was about to be after this course.Over the 5 courses, it covered an array of meats and flavours while not being was overly heavy. The degustation is a steal for $50 bucks especially when the crème brûlée alone is usually $16.00.

Venue: Les Bistronomes

Degustation details: Saturdays, 5 courses for $50.00, bookings recommended

Phone(02) 6248 8119

Dimmi: yes, you can book through the app and earn points.

Courgette 

It has been a while since I’ve last dined at Courgette but a spontaneous lunch was booked with wonderful company, it was an offer too good to refuse.

I’ve always loved their cutlery.Three course lunch ($66.00 per person).

Complimentary bread with smoked butter. This had a magical crunchy exterior with a soft bready interior served warm with amazing butter. This was just bread and butter so I was excited for what was still to come.Entree~ (yes all of us chose the same entree)

In house smoked salmon, seared scallop, fennel sand, cauliflower puree, fermented black garlic. The salmon wasn’t overly smoked or salty which kept the palette rather clean throughout this course. I haven’t had a good scallop for a while and there were two big juicy plump ones on my plate. I was so happy!Main~

Flaked ocean trout, king prawn, baby squid, pea puree, squid ink crumb, pernod beurre blanc.Sous vide Angus beef tenderloin, baby spinach, red cabbage gel, artichoke, thyme and port jus. It might appear too rare for some (inside was quite pink), but the beef was tender and I cut through it effortlessly. A great pairing of flavours on the plate and with a few spoonfuls of the Paris mash, this was the ultimate lunch.Maple glazed muscovy duck breast, couscous, kale, celeriac puree, tomato eggplant relish, prune gel.Sides~

Paris mash ($7.00). Not as buttery and rich as I remember it used to be but still ridiculously smooth and paired perfectly with the beef.

Asparagus, pine nuts, sunflower seeds ($7.00). Cooked perfectly and a great addition to any main meal.Dessert~

Dropped cinnamon apple pie, vanilla bean custard, burnt apple ice cream, toasted oat crumb. The presentation reminds me of Massimo’s dropped pie from Osteria Francescana. It is a classic dessert given a beautiful modern face lift and I loved every mouthful. The perfect winter warmer dessert.Cheese and bickies Guilloteau Buche d’Affinois triple cream Brie, Reypenaer VSOP aged Gouda, Wyngaard Chevre Affine. When my friend said to try some of cheese board, I didn’t envisage myself eating almost half of it, but I found all three cheese delicious and very moreish.This is one of the best meals that I’ve had in Canberra in a long time, one wonders why it took me so long to come back.

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.

The Grounds of Alexandria – The Grounds Cafe

Welcome to the The Grounds of Alexandria, the most Instagrammable place on the planet. You could tell my level of excitement as I wasn’t even phased when they told us it would be a 45 – 1 hour wait for a table at The Grounds Cafe on a Sunday for brunch. We took a buzzer and went off exploring.Where to start? Pastries of course!
We went past the cute vintage carts selling nuts, freshly made doughnuts, cakes and slices, complete with an old school lemonade stand.How cute is this place?!img_3214
Doughnuts filled with Nutella and Raspberry jam. The area is rather quite big and very popular. There is a beautiful area called ‘The Garden bar’ where it appears to be more casual with no table service but an amazing outdoor area with lots of sun light shining through.TimmyC couldn’t wait 1 hour before having coffee, so he ordered one from The Garden Bar.
There is also a beautiful outdoor florist on-site as well as a local watering hole called ‘The Potting Shed’, I loved how all the venues have a common garden theme which ties them all together.
Even the menu is cute, this place is ridiculous!I could live here.
There is also the famous resident on site, Kevin Bacon and his little farm animal friends.
After what seemed like forever because I was getting hungry and was almost tempted to buy a cheeseburger from the Garden bar, our buzzer went off. We hurriedly moved our way through the crowds and waved our buzzer around like we had just won a game of bingo only to meet another line where there were other lucky ‘winners’ also with alarming buzzers, but we were all quickly seated and given a menu.
 
I was surprised to find the inside of the cafe so dark, especially when the outside was such a beautiful day. It made it a little harder to take photos (that might just be an Instagrammer problem).
Char-grilled steak sandwich pasture fed sirloin steak, cheddar cheese, tomato, grilled Spanish onion, horseradish aioli and rocket on a toasted vienna bread ($18.00). My jaw almost dropped when I saw the size of my plate in comparison to everyone else’s. The burgers were served with a side of chips but the length of their tray was the size of my sandwich. I really enjoyed how they had cut up the steak into pieces and covered the entire sandwich, it made it easier to eat and there is nothing more sad that a sandwich with uneven filling. I wish it came with a side of chips but my friends were nice enough to share with me.
Deconstructed iced coffee house blend coffee shot, cold brewed coffee ice, sugar syrup with milk ($8.00). Who likes a diluted warm iced coffee? Not really anyone, so the clever people at the Grounds have made their ice cubes for the iced coffee out of coffee. Not only that, but they also give you milk on the side so you can adjust the milkiness to your liking as well as provide you with a novelty syringe filled with sugar syrup.
I love how the bottle that has the coffee reads ‘poison’.     Super chocolate and hazelnut shake ($8.50).
Freshly squeezed juice pineapple, watermelon and passionfruit ($8.00).
Chicken schnitzel burger crispy free range chicken breast, slaw, vine ripened tomato, rocket and mustard aioli in a pretzel bun with crunchy beer battered chips ($21.00).
The ‘Ground’ burger Grounded beef brisket, cheese, lettuce, dill, cornichon and mayo on a toasted brioche bun, served with crunchy beer battered chips ($19.00).
Poached eggs on toast class poached eggs served on The Grounds signature sourdough ($12.00). TimmyC wanted a vegetarian option and so he chose this simple dish. He said it was nice but they sort of burnt the toast.
I was like an excited kid who couldn’t sit still. If we were waiting for the food or the bill, I’d be up taking photos of their gorgeous cake cabinet or waiting for my Instagram photos to print on their automatic printer.
I think I need one of these for home!
I really enjoyed that The Grounds have a really fantastic atmosphere and while they are extremely busy, the food still comes out at a fast pace and all the prices aren’t ridiculous. No real downside other than the wait times to get a table but there are many things on site to keep your eyes occupied.
Venue: The Grounds of Alexandria – The Grounds Cafe
Address: 7A, 2 Huntley St, Alexandria NSW 2015

Opening times:

Monday to Friday           7am to 4pm (kitchen closes at 3pm)

Saturday and Sunday    7:30am to 4pm (kitchen closes at 3:30pm)

The Grounds of Alexandria Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Steak nights at Ducks Nuts

Tuesday nights are steak nights at the new Ducks Nuts bar and grill in Dickson, $15 bucks will get you a butler steak with green leaf salad and your choice of gravy (chips are $5.00 extra).I asked mine to be medium rare and that’s what I got.  It’s not an overly big piece of steak but it was still delicious and succulent piece of meat.A useful condiment caddy with all the favourites.For those who want something else other than steak will find many options on their menu. Fried buttermilk chicken burger with house slaw and chipotle mayo served with shoe string fries ($19.00).My friend really enjoyed his burger.

Ducks Nuts specials calendar

Sunday Roast all day with all the trimmings ($20.00).

Monday SchnitzelHaus ($15.00).

Tuesday Steak night ($15.00).

Wednesday Burger night with craft beer ($15.00).

 

 

Venue: Ducks Nuts

Address: 30 Woolley St, Dickson ACT 2602 (where O’Neill’s Irish Pub used to be)

Phone(02) 6230 7675

Websitehttp://ducksnuts.net.au/

Opening hours: 7 days a week 11:00am – late

Progressive walking dinner – Kingston foreshore

It is always wonderful to meet up with like minded people, so when fellow foodies and I met for dinner at Kingston foreshore and we weren’t sure what to eat, we strategically planned for a progressive walking dinner to get the most of our meal.

To start we made good use of C dine‘s ‘Buck a Shuck’ Friday’s in summer and we had a dozen oysters each for our entree.Venue:C dine bar

Address:17/19 East Lake Parade, Kingston Foreshore, Canberra

Phone: (02) 6239 5299
C Dine Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


7 by the Lake has only opened recently so we were excited to check it out. As we walked in, I was confused by the decor, it was supposed to be an Indian restaurant but it had African-eqsue statues around the room.

We ordered three curries: Goanese prawns ($29.90), murgh makhani (aka butter chicken $23.90) and palak paneer ($23.90). I really enjoyed their butter chicken, it isn’t your typical creamy and sweet version. I felt that the prawns and the paneer tasted slightly watery and didn’t absorb the flavours of the curry, maybe because it was added in later from a stock sauce.

 

We also ordered a serve of masala kulcha fermented plain flour bread stuffed with a mix of spiced potatoes and herbs, sprinkled with onion seeds, chopped coriander and mint, cooked in a tandoor ($5.00). It smelt divine and I would easily just eat this with butter chicken and be happy.
Our waitress did three odd things while we were there 1) she didn’t really know the name of the dish when she put down our palak paneer, she just stated it was our ‘cheese dish’ 2) she interrupted our conversation when she over heard us wanting to have dessert somewhere else 3) she opened the bill folder counted the money at the table, every last cent of it.

 

I found the prices of the curries a little steep but to be fair, everything along the Kingston foreshore seems to be over priced. I really enjoyed the bread and the chicken curry but I feel that isn’t enough to have me running back for more any time soon.

 

Venue: 7 by the lake (contemporary Indian cuisine)

Address: 143/41 East Lake Parade, Kingston Foreshore, Canberra

Phone(02) 6140 7040

Websitewww.sevenbythelake.com/
7 by the lake Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


To not be disappointed any more, we opted dessert an an old favourite, Morks. I had eaten their other desserts recently so I chose the Pikachu *I choose you* mango gelato ($3.00) for dessert with a side of BBQ pork bun ($8.00). It may not be conventional but I think a BBQ pork bun and mango gelato from @morksrestaurant was a wonderful way to end the nights meal. Venue: Morks

Address: 18-19 East Lake Parade, Kingston Foreshore, Canberra

Phone(02) 6295 0112
Morks Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Yat Bun Tong

We were driving home from Sydney when I realise there was nothing but carrots, eggs and butter in my fridge, so I made plans to meet my friends in Braddon to try out the new dumpling restaurant Yat Bun Tong for dinner.

On a Sunday night without a booking at 7pm, we were very lucky to get a table for four without a reservation. The menus are huge  (and heavy) because of the diverse range of dishes and the accompanying photos. I had to be careful not to over order and there were a few dietary restrictions within the group.I was torn between ordering the Shanghai pan fried pork bun (10 for $14.80) or the Shanghai steamed bun (10 for $13.80) but because I know the pan fried pork buns can be filling, I went with the steamed dumplings so I could order more dishes instead.

I expected them to come out in a particular order but instead they came as they were ready and the gap between waiting times wasn’t that long. It was a struggle to fit everything on the table though as the plates are rather big.

Garlic chicken fried rice ($12.80). I wanted a more garlic flavour but it was nice enough as an accompaniment to the other dishes.Fried beef onion dumplings (15 for $12.80). These weren’t fabulous but still rather tasty and I preferred these over the steamed ones.Pan fried chive cakes (2 for $8.80). Not very flavoursome and definitely not worth ordering again.Shanghai steamed bun (10 for $13.80). There is a little soup inside each dumpling which stayed inside as the dumpling wrapper wasn’t too delicate. I didn’t love the taste of the dumpling though.Deep fried soft shell crab with spicy peppery salt ($19.80). I was surprised to see that this was a rather large serve. The batter was a tad too thick but there was plenty of delicious fried garlic, chilli and shallots.Chinese broccoli with garlic ($14.80). A simple tasty dish to break up the oily and heaviness from the other dishes.Someone told me that Yat Bun Tong have the same owners as Chinese Kitchen Dumpling House in Woden. It’s no Din Tai Fung but it is better than other dumpling places I have tried around town. I would like to come back and try the other dumplings like the Shanghai pan fried pork bun and also try their noodles which I hear is quite nice.

Venue: Yat Bun Tong

Address: 61/10-12 Lonsdale street, Braddon, ACT 2612

Phone: (02) 61520880
Yat Bun Tong Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Camping 

I survived!

Much to the surprise of my friends, family, colleagues (basically everyone I know) and even myself, I went camping for the first time recently. One of my friends really wanted to go camping for her birthday and despite my hesitancy, lack of preparedness and fear of frogs, she insisted that she had everything and all I needed was my sense of adventure and something to sleep on.

Since then, I have discovered that I like daytime camping and night camping is well… Different.

Our camp site was around Berlang, 40 minutes away from Braidwood and yes, part of the allure of camping there was the promise of a vanilla slice on the way home. When the birthday girl and I arrived, it was getting dark fast and drizzling with rain- a terrific start!

We quickly set up the tent, threw in our sleeping gear and began to start a fire. The damp wood wasn’t going so well and our lovely camping neighbours came over to see if we needed any help. The birthday girl asked if they had any dry wood, they came back and started chopping up logs and wooden floor boards.

I laughed nervously and said “that’s exactly what I want my neighbours to have, an axe”.

The rain got heavier and the promise of sizzling steaks over the campfire were quickly extinguished along with the fire that we had just started. We had dinner inside the tent (cold roast chicken sandwiches with camp cheese which were very satisfying when you’re really hungry) and waited for our other two friends to arrive. They were only supposed to be an hour behind us but they arrived just after 10pm.

By then it was raining harder and we were very happy that they got there safely.At first I thought we could just all sleep together in one tent that night and figure out their tent in the morning, however it turns out that their mattress was huge and there was nothing to do but erect their tent at 10:30pm in the rain and darkness. It was a new tent straight out of the box so we had to figure it out where things belonged as we went, when it rains it pours. *hahaha*

It turns out that the wet weather brings out the frogs in the area… One of a few things that I do not enjoy being around so I started to get very conscious of closing the tent completely and was a bit jumpy every time there was movement. From then on, I brought a frog checker every time I went to the bathroom (my friends are very sweet to me).

I woke up in the middle of the night trying to rotate on a noisy air mattress on top of a stretcher bed. As I laid there, I thought about the bathroom even though I didn’t need to go and I felt I was psyching myself out. I contemplated finding reception, getting TimmyC to come pick me up from frogville and we could drive off into the sunset back to civilization with a vanilla slice in hand. Even if I really was going to do that, I would still need to wait until the morning so I told myself to go back to sleep.

The morning sunshine brought with it a new sense of hope. I could see properly now (my torch died on the first night), the rain dried up and we were preparing breakfast. My friends quickly found out how much I love prodding fire and burning things. I was like a little kid at Christmas when they said I could burn their tea bags etc in the camp fire.


You can take the girl out of the restaurant but you can’t take food blogger out of the girl. There I was, in the middle of no where rearranging my plate for a photo. Fried egg and sausages, soft bread roll with butter and a cup of tea.
There was one cooked sausage left and it was pointless to store it. My friend said that if I reheated it in the fire for her, she would eat it. When I gave it back to her, I asked her ‘do you know what this is?’, when she replied with ‘what?’ I carefully chose my words ‘this is a twice cooked, flamed licked, tea infused sausage’.

There was a lot of tea drinking but in my mind I wasn’t going to go out of my way and drink anything that was going to act as a diuretic out in the bush.

The billy was constantly going to heat up for the next round of hot beverages and I decided I’d participate in every 5th cup with them.It turns out that ex-girl guides are the best people to go camping with. The birthday girl made a bivouac for us using fancy knots and a tarp, a camp oven and she also built a camp shower?! I started calling her ‘Macguider’, get it? Macgyver and girl guide, well it sounded much more amusing when you’re out in the bush.

For lunch we had wraps which I convinced the girls to toast in the cast iron pan so I could build up the fire again. Rice wraps with smoked chicken, avocado, tomato and cheese.Before it got dark again, the birthday girl made a camp oven out of a chip box, aluminium foil, aluminium trays and some heat beads. This was amazing to watch as I didn’t think it was possible to make a cake in the wilderness. Our camp cake was catered for multiple dietary needs; it contained gluten free self raising flour, Nuttelex, one egg, lactose free chocolate milk and a little bit of chocolate shards scattered through it. It was done in about 20 minutes and smelt really good.Shhh… The cake is baking.Ta da! All done!For our last breakfast, we finally ate the steaks that were supposed to be our dinner on Friday night. It was a hearty breakfast of sautéed onions and mushrooms, grilled tomato, steak and BBQed corn.

Cooking the old school way, on top of a fire and of course… The billy is on again!I could get used to these hot hearty breakfasts.BBQed corn is the best!Fast forward to the next camping trip (yes apparently I love her that much that I went twice), we made dietary needs friendly breakfast. This time it was french toast, gluten free pancakes with stewed apples, fresh berries and lactose free yoghurt.

People were getting creative on their plates.Beautiful plates styled breakfast using plastic plates and utensils.
Gluten free pancakes with lactose free yoghurt, fresh berries and stewed apples, who would have thought it made for such pretty breakfast.Gluten reduced french toast.
I was wondering if I could just go camping during the day, set up a fire, eat all day and then maybe return to a nice cottage or 5 star hotel at night, but someone pointed out that that would just be picnicking.

I was very lucky to have my first few camping trips with people who were so organised and excited about food (almost) as much as I am. Thanks for letting me camp with you ladies.

Progressive dinner – Sydney edition 

When I’m in Sydney, I try to eat what I can’t get in Canberra, foods like ramen, fresh sushi, good Thai and of course dumplings. So when I had limited time in Sydney and had only eaten ramen and sushi so far, there was nothing else to do but drag my friends for a progressive dinner to tick more boxes from my ‘to eat’ list.


To go to somewhere new, where over half the menu really excites you but you know you can’t order that much was really hard. My friend was telling me about Petaling Street, an awesome hawker restaurant and I was keen to make it the first stop during our progressive dinner in Sydney.

A few key dishes (and drinks) were chosen and enjoyed by everyone but my favourite dish was the roti canai with curry chicken. The roti was nice and flaky while the curry had lots of flavour with tender chicken.

Progressive dinner stop: #1

Venue: Petaling Street: Malaysian Hawker Food

Address: 760 George Street, Haymarket, Chinatown, Sydney,NSW

Amount per person: $10.00

Cheong fun, roti canai with chicken curry, char kway teow and Hainanese chicken rice.
Petaling Street: Malaysian Hawker Food Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


This was an unexpected stop as a fellow foodie pointed out that we were in close proximity to a Thai place, which did cheap small bowls of noodles. It sounded like a perfect addition to the progressive dinner and I was keen for some Thai food anyway.

Do Dee Paidang have tom yum soups, all with different meats, a choice of noodle and different levels of chilli. I along with the other non-chilli eaters stuck with the tom yum soup with tender pork rib and fresh noodles. We enjoyed the sour taste of the tom yum with the delicious meatiness of the pork ribs, while the hardcore chilli eaters went with the level 3 soup (out of 7). Watching one of the chilli eaters sweat and struggle with the heat of the soup made me curious about how hot their bowl was. I coated my spoon in a little bit of soup (I’m not crazy enough to actually drink any of the soup) and licked it, immediately I could feel the heat on my tongue which quickly spread to the back of my throat. Whoa, that was intense, I wonder who actually eats level 7!

Feeling bad that we were taking up a table even though we just wanted noodle soup, I order entrée of chicken satay skewers ($8.90), which were more expensive than our noodles ($6.00) but were really really delicious and I don’t usually eat satay.

Progressive dinner stop: #2

Venue: Do Dee Paidang Thai Noodle Bar & Cafe

Address: 9, 37 Ultimo Rd, Haymarket NSW 2000

Amount per person: $4.20Do Dee Paidang Thai Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


We were told that they were no longer selling Papa roti for the day and my smile quickly turned into a frown. I was really looking forward to eating a coffee bun with a delicious buttery aroma.

Progressive dinner stop: #3

Venue: Papa Roti

Address: 663 George St, Haymarket NSW 2000

Amount per person: five sad faces 😦 😦 😦 😦 😦


Din Tai Fung was along the way of our progressive dinner and it would have been ridiculous not to stop. The hard part was not ordering any fried rice, although my friend couldn’t help but order a pork bun too.

We ordered 24 dumplings (and drinks) between the 5 of us and savoured each and every bite.

Progressive dinner stop: #3

Venue: Din Tai Fung

Address: 644 George St, Sydney NSW 2000

Amount per person: $13.00Din Tai Fung Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


You are wondering how we were able to eat more after 3 stops already, but remember we were sharing one delicious original Hot Star chicken ($8.50) between the 5 of us. We tore it into 5 pieces while it was still really hot and it was a few bites of heaven.

Progressive dinner stop: #4

Venue: Hot Star

Address: 96 Liverpool Street, Sydney NSW 2000

Amount per person: $1.70Hot Star Large Fried Chicken Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


TimmyC and I were all Aqua S-ed out as we had been there for the past two nights and had already eaten all the flavour combinations but it didn’t stop everyone else from enjoying it. I was surprised TimmyC preferred the pandan ice cream over the lychee (dairy free) but I think it was because of the creamy ice cream texture.

Aqua S change their flavours every Thursday.

Progressive dinner stop: #5

Venue: Aqua S

Address: 27/501 George St, Sydney NSW 2000

Amount per person: $5.00Aqua S Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


A friend of ours popped into Black Star Pastry’s pop up store in the Kinokuniya earlier in the day and got some goodies to share. He got their famous strawberry water melon cake ($7.50/slice) and a caramel panna cotta ($9.00).

Progressive dinner stop: #6

Venue: Black Star Pastry (pop up)

Address: The Galleries, 2/500 George St, Sydney NSW 2000

Amount per person: $4.80Black Star Pastry Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


I had promised to take TimmyC to Messina and a promise is a promise. Everyone else had returned to their hotels and while TimmyC and I light railed our way straight to The Star.

We had chosen ‘Gay ol’ time’ which didn’t taste anything like a gaytime but TimmyC still really enjoyed it.

Progressive dinner stop: #7

Venue: Messina

AddressCafe Court, Level G, 80 Pyrmont StreetPyrmont NSW 2009

Amount per TimmyC: $4.80Gelato Messina Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


I was really impressed with the amount of stops we were able to make without being ridiculously full. We got to eat a lot of variety and the best of what every venue had to offer. Tell me dear reader, have you had a progressive dinner?

 

Creamy chicken pie recipe

I went to buy a creamy chicken pie the other day but they were sold out, so I had no choice but to make myself some as I had already promised my stomach. I like to be efficient when I can (or some people would call me lazy) so I bought a roast chicken so 1) I wouldn’t have to pre-cook the chicken for the pies 2) to have delicious chicken sandwiches for lunch and 3) I could just roast chicken for general snacking.

I also used this opportunity to use or random bits and pieces in my fridge like slices of cooked haloumi, vegetables that were looking a bit sad and also use up some of those frozen vegetables that I thought I’d eat to create a healthier meal or curry puffs.

So here we go…

Creamy chicken pie recipe

(serves approximately 16 smallish pies)

Ingredients

  • 1 cooked chicken breast shredded (use haloumi as a vegetarian alternative)
  • 2 cups frozen or fresh vegetables chopped into little pieces
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1.5-2 cups thickened cream
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil
  • 6 sheets of puff pastry
  • spray oil
  • egg wash

Equipment

  • Oven
  • Wok or a big fry pan
  • Texas muffin tin *see tips
  • Pastry brush

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C and spray oil onto your muffin tin
  2. Heat some olive oil in the wok on med-high heat and then cook the garlic for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the onions and sauté until translucent
  4. Mix in your vegetables
  5. Add a dash of water and cover until all the vegetables are relatively soft
  6. Pour in your cream and let it simmer (take out your puff pastry to defrost)
  7. Add in your flour and stir in until the mixture has thickened (add more flour if it is still too runny)
  8. Remove off heat and season to taste
  9. Cut 4 defrosted puff pastry sheets into quarters for pie bases
  10. Cut the remaining 2 sheets of pastry into 9 equal squares for pie lids and cut two small slits in the centre of each square
  11. Mould the pie bases into the muffin tin and fill with pie filling
  12. Delicately stretch the pie lids over each pie and tuck in the edges for a neater look
  13. Brush on egg wash and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown

Tips

I really like the Texas (6x) muffin tin size but you can use a normal 12x muffin tin, which will mean smaller pies

You can make the mixture a few days ahead of time and just spoon the filling into defrosted pastry on the day. I have never had a pie left over for freezing but I’m sure you’re able to.

I served 1-2 pies per person with a side of salad for a meal

Enjoy!

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.

Attica

Sorry to those who have been waiting for this post to come out (it might only be José who was waiting, sorry!). I was absolutely ecstatic to get a booking at Attica and the memories of this dinner will stay with me always.

When people ask me to describe my meal, I tell them that Attica is Australia’s only restaurant to make it to The World’s 50 best restaurants, but that isn’t the only reason why I wanted to go. There is Spanish cuisine, French, Italian and a big up and coming South American wave but there really isn’t much in the way of Australian cuisine. Attica uses lots of Australian produce and native herbs and spices that show off our country’s unique ingredients, so it was nice to have an Australian restaurant using Australian ingredients (by a NZ chef hehehe) to make it on the coveted top 50 list.

 

The evening’s dinner was broken up into a lot (and I mean a lot!) of little starters, 4 mains, 1 palette cleanser, 2 desserts and of course ending the night with the very famous Pukeko egg. It ended up being a five and a half hour dinner with excitement at every new plate, good company and lots of fabulous food.

 

I felt the modest furnishings of the food and the unlikely suburban location of the restaurant reflected the humble personality of the talented chef Ben Shewry.
Starters~
Now there were lots of these and I’ll just write about the most interesting and also my absolute favourite ones (it was hard to choose), otherwise it will take me another 4 months to write this post.

 

House made sour cream apple balsamic and olive oil with leaves.

Pickle daikon, pumpkin beetroot with honey mustard.

Steamed pippies with seaweed butter.

Mouth full of green asparagus sugar snap peas walnut purée. For something that seemed so simple, this really took me by surprise with how much I enjoyed it. The flavours and textures seemed so fresh that it showed off these humble ingredients at its best.

Fresh cheese and honeycomb cows milk cheese made on site with honeycomb with hazelnut oil and lemon. It seemed like an odd pairing but the flavours worked so well together. I love how the honeycomb is served fresh onto the plate.

Crispy artichoke with snow crab.
Wallaby blood pikelet malt vinegar cream with native plum jam. It felt very strange to have a pikelet with blood in it but if you didn’t tell me I’m unsure if I would have noticed.
Chicken carrots carrot with marinated chicken thigh sorrel and tarragon. This was like a little carrot taco. I really enjoyed the marinated chicken and the carrot provided the perfect ‘taco shell’ which doesn’t fall apart as you try and eat it.
Baby corn. I’m not usually a fan of creepy corn (that is what I call baby corn) but this was served even younger than what we would normally find at supermarkets. The corn barely feels like it has individual kernels and has a different taste; more juicy and refreshing rather than sweet.

Mussels freshly shucked mussels, battered flash fried served with succulents. I thought this was fantastic. The flash fried cooking really brought out the mussels natural sweetness. 
Beef on the Bone. There is something primal yet modern about this dish. The ribboned beef carefully weaved  on the ‘skewer’ placed on a beautiful plate really contrasted to the fact that I was eating of a sharpened bone. The beef was beautiful and I really wanted more than one bite that we got.Garden herbs in a light chicken stock. Errr, eating got the better of me and only  when I was almost done eating, did I remember to take a photo.  Just take my word that it was beautifully presented. The stock was really light and all the flavours came from all the interesting herbs and flowers, I just wished that the starters were more spaced out so I didn’t feel rushed while finishing my broth to attend to the next dish.House made bread and condiments.Macadamia purée with macadamia oil and saltbush leaves.

Mains~

Red kangaroo with bunya bunya. I thought that the carrots and currants were the star of the dish and the kangaroo just played the perfect side kick.Look at that amazing colour.
Marron. It was suggested to us that the best bit of the marron was the tail so don’t bother with the body, so what did we do? We tore open the pincers and the body to eat whatever we could find, as daintily as we could before proceeding to the delicious tail. Even though the tail was admittedly better, I definitely thought it was still worth eating the meat from the upper part of the body.So much prettiness in the detail.Yeasty potatoes with cheesy rind sauce. I love potatoes and I love cheese so this dish was perfect for me. There was definitely lots of depth to this dish; the array of flavours became more intense the more you ate. It left me feeling warm and comforted, with a craving for more cheese sauce.

Adding the final touches at the table.142 Days on Earth emu with baby red cabbage. So cutely named because that is the time it took for the cabbage to grow and get to your plate. Just when I thought the dish was complete, the server kept on adding more and more on top. I have never had emu before and I naively thought it would taste like chicken, instead, it was a dark heavier meat. This dish to me felt like a rich heavy stew mixed in with the delicate leaves of the baby cabbage. It was really interesting and I love how this dish was prepared and so thoughtfully named.Half time oranges. The flesh of the frozen orange segment was replaced by orange sorbet and lemon myrtle. We were taken outside for a spot of ‘tennis’ (our skills really sucked) and then we were undeservedly rewarded with our half time oranges. It was really cold on my teeth but it made for a refreshing palette cleanser despite being a little salty and tart.We were taken into their garden with lots of beautiful flowers and herbs for the ‘half time show’.Dessert~

Maria’s Green Apple granny smith apple filled with cream cheese served with fermented rhubarb. I was so amused by the never ending coil of the delicate apple. The tartness of the apple was balanced out by the cream cheese filling and was given the ever so slightly sweet touch by the rhubarb. I loved this! How beautifully delicate is this dessert!
Lois’ Jelly Whip sheeps milk gelato, mandarin jam, freeze fried sorrel and coconut. Just when I didn’t think the desserts could get any better, out came the next one. It was hard to describe but the gelato was perfectly soft which contrasted against the crunchy textures of the top. Nothing was overly sweet and OTT, it was just a lovely balance of flavours and textures. 

I was so happy after two amazing desserts and ready to be rolled out the door that I almost forgot about the Pukeko egg, but after the cute patch of grass with three eggs balanced perfectly on top was placed down in front of us, I quickly forgot about feeling full and my eyes widened with excitement.
Pukeko’s Egg. The chocolate shell was beautifully decorated to look like a spotted egg and inside was mainly hollow except for the patch of very thick caramel which was incredible. I broke apart my shell and dipped my pieces into the paste savouring every bite. TimmyC was wondering if he could get 5 more on the way out, he was a massive fan.

It was wonderful to have been served by lots of different people and chefs, it allowed the people who helped create the dish to be proud of their work and serve it to happy customers.

The menu is forever changing at Attica but a few key dishes get a longer run time. I would happily go again if I ever get the chance.

Venue: Attica
Address: 74 Glen Eira Road, Ripponlea, VIC 3185
Phone: (03) 9530 0111
Bookings: Bookings are released on a month-by-month basis on the first Wednesday of each month at 9am, three months in advance. Bookings can be made via their website.

 

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

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

MoVida – Melbourne series

Okay, most people plan their interstate trips to do multiple things but TimmyC and I came to Melbourne (this time) to specifically eat at MoVida. TimmyC’s trendy cousin was generous enough to buy me a voucher to the MoVida group but because the other restaurants were not open yet since the New Year holidays, we booked a table for 3 at the original MoVida.Complimentary~

Warmed bread with olive oil. Always a happy surprise when a restaurant gives you delicious warmed bread for free!I loved their personalised wine glasses.
Tapa~ I love the thought that these morsels were made so well, individually portioned and reasonably priced; it didn’t matter if no one wanted to share with me, I could just order one for myself.
Yabbie special ($9.00 each). I thought this was a refreshing morsel but nothing really specifically unique. It was good to have at the beginning of the meal before the heavier, deep fried tapas arrived.
Queso quince paste cigar with whipped goats milk cheese ($4.00 each). I’m not particularly fond of goats milk products but that didn’t stop me from ordering this just to see how it would taste. I liked it so much I convinced the rest of the table to order another just to taste it. The outer quince paste cigar was surprisingly crispy and provided a nice contrasting texture to the whipped filling. The goats milk cheese wasn’t too strong but it was perfectly balanced out by the sweetness of the quince. You definitely have to try this; there were so many surprises in one mouthful.
It looks so simple and small but there was a lot of flavour in this tapa.
Flamenquin crumbed pork with jamon, thyme and mahon ($5.50 each). These were perfectly crispy and jam packed with pork. I was very tempted to order more of these, but I got too full in the end.
A delicious peek into the crispy croquette.
Fish croquette special ($4.50 each). These were very ‘fishy’ which I loved, it was a nicely seasoned filling with a crunchy non oily exterior. 
Raciones~
Carrillera De Buey slowly braised beef cheek in Perdo Ximenez on Cauliflower puree ($28.50). Oh where to begin while describing this fabulous dish. The beef was amazingly tender and pulled away effortlessly as you put a spoon through it. It had a beautiful sweet stick glaze all over which worked perfectly with the cauliflower. Don’t even get me started on that puree, it was so smooth, it was like a thick soup (and I could have easily drunk it like soup). I would order this again in a heartbeat.
This photo doesn’t do it any justice.
Patatas Bravas fried potatoes with spicy tomato and mayonnaise ($16.00). The smaller pieces were fine but I thought some of the potatoes were too big and therefore the ratio between crispy exterior to starchy fluffy filling to be way off. It definitely wasn’t what I was expecting and since the rest of the meal had been so spectacular, these potatoes couldn’t compare.  Barramundi special ($27.00). The fish was soft and moist while the asparagus was cooked perfectly allowing the fresh flavours to really shine through. It was nice to have a lighter main among all the deep fried tapas and heavy meals.
Desserts~
Churros Spanish doughnuts with rich drinking chocolate ($12.50). The doughnuts were really crunchy on the outside with a fluffy texture in the centre and it was paired with what was truthfully named a ‘rich drinking chocolate’.
Flan crème caramel with pestinos ($15.00). This was so smooth and creamy, making it very easy to eat.
Pan con chocolate chocolate, bread and olive oil ice cream ($14.50). I wasn’t convinced by the description on the black board that this was the dessert for me. It wasn’t until I asked our waiter which the best dessert was; he then smirked and asked me if I was asking for the best dessert in his opinion or the most popular dessert ordered (which we rightly guessed was churros). I obviously wanted the best dessert and for something interesting against the ‘norm’, he then suggested this dessert and to ignore the very poor description on the board. What came out was fabulous. A warm soft chocolate cake encased in a crispy bread sandwich, which gave it a wonderful contrasting texture while the olive oil ice cream helped balance out the sweetness of the chocolate. As we were leaving, I told our waiter that they should really change the description because it didn’t really do the dessert justice.
I love how they have presented the ‘sandwich’ standing up on its side, it gives you a clear view of the crispy bread encasing a warm moist chocolate cake.
Check out the sexy chocolate cake sandwiched inside.
Even though we were eating on a dead line (6pm- 8pm booking) we never felt rushed and despite the restaurant was completely packed, the service and food was very prompt and the staff were very friendly and helpful. I would love to come back to try more of the menu or even the other restaurants. I loved the small tapas for individual portions at a reasonable price (take note Canberra restaurants) and that there were good variety of mains available.
The famous graffiti on Hosiser Lane which is opposite the lane way to the MoVida restaurant.
Venue: Movida
Address: 1 Hosier Lane, (off Flinders St), Melbourne, VIC 3000
Phone: (03) 9663 3038

MoVida Bar De Tapas Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato