Wheelers Seafood Restaurant

——-09/06/2012——

I apologise in advance for my photos, the light was so dim where we were seated and I didn’t always want to use the flash.

I based my whole South Coast holiday around eating dinner at Wheelers Seafood Restaurant so expectations were high. We had previously stumbled across Wheelers while driving around in the area, the restaurant was booked out for the night but I thoroughly enjoyed having oysters and lobster for afternoon tea in their informal “take away” area.

Wild Ryes fresh baked panini served with butter, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic and confit of roast garlic ($7.00)

Entree~

1 dozen oysters (the menu said $32.00 but they only charged $30.00)- 6 Plumrick crisp bacon, sweet and spice plum Worcestershire 6 Mornay seeded mustard, chive, pancetta, rocket and gratin cheese. Mmmm definitely worth the trip for the oysters alone, although eating in apparently means charging almost double for the same oysters I enjoyed outside from their take away area. They were good but I think I’d prefer to sit outside next time.

Lamb fillet marinated in Middle Eastern spice blend, seared to medium served with Greek salad and pastry wrapped cous cous fingers finished with a mint yoghurt sauce ($21.00). We were tempted to order two dozen oysters to avoid fights but we didn’t want to spend $60 something just on entree. I opted for the lamb which had nice plating but if you deconstruct it, I was given 2 ‘spring rolls’ with little taste cut in half at an angle to make it look pretty and I literally was given 2 strips of lamb on top of a salad with yoghurt. Tasty but definitely not worth the price.

Battered Fish and chips ($33.00) Nothing special about the fish and chips but at least it wasn’t overly oily. 

Chilli prawn pastaQueensland banana prawns sauteed in chilli, garlic, basil, pancetta tossed with fettuccine, roast cherry tomatoes, baby spinach and parmesan cheese ($34.00)  The pasta was nice although I found the flavours of the tomatoes and baby spinach overwhelming to the prawns.

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Toblerone cocktail ($14.00)

This is what more Canberra restaurants should do, dessert platters for two, although there were some highlights and some disappointments to the plate.

Dessert taste plate for tworich warm chocolate pudding and chocolate ganache, honey and vanilla bean panna cotta with a strawberry and balsamic salad, apple crumble with house made baileys ice cream ($22.00)

The staff were very friendly and attentive and judging by the amount of people in the restaurant it is a town favourite. I found the overall experience rather quiet tasty but definitely overly expensive. 

Venue: Wheelers Seafood Restaurant

Address: 162 Arthur Kaine Drive, Pambula NSW, Australia

Phone: Oyster Farm – (02) 6495 6330

Restaurant – (02) 6495 6089

Wheelers Seafood Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Sage re-run Autumn menu

——-17/05/2012——-

When I saw that Sage dining rooms was doing a special of a surprise 8 course degustation for $95.00 per person on their FB page, my friend and I jumped at chance of going again. My friend doesn’t eat seafood so they kept that in mind and the courses varied between us.

With the millions of different elements and the waiters talking so fast, please excuse if I didn’t get the description 100% correct.

A quick snap shot of the whole night

Let the dinner begin!

Course #1~

Mushroom amuse bouche- It had a thick foam layer and the ‘soup’ was very salty with a distinct mushroom taste. Great for dipping the bread into I thought.

House made sour dough with dehydrated sage and tomato butter

Course #2~

Confit of mackerel with rhubarb gel and a dehydrated grape. Very interesting to say the least especially biting into the dehydrated grape.  The rhubarb taste was subtle with a weird gel toothpaste consistency. The mackerel was a nice salted fish which balanced out all the sweetness of the rhubarb and grape.

Beetroot variations with freeze dried mandarin and coriander. They had beetroot cooked in a variety of ways including poached and fresh finished with a smoked ricotta. Pretty on a plate but obviously not very filling.

Course #3~

Tuna and foie gras with sashimi, mojama, crackling, chervil and PX dressing. Really delicate and really tasty although the crackling was more about texture than taste.

Honey peppered heirloom carrots with malt powder, caramelised yolk, cumin sponge, finished with a carrot glass. With so many different elements and textures, it was hard to distinguish between the flavours.

Course #4~

Wagyu bresaola with foie gras foam. The foam had a very strong horseradish texture which I would usually be put off by but it went really well with the thinly sliced beef.

Course #5~

Seared scallops with a pumpkin fondant and amoretto biscuits. Another textured delight for the senses between the pumpkin, puree and seeds. Nicely put together.

All gone!

Pork ‘all’sorts’– slow cooked belly, braised cheek with pork chips and radish. The pork cooked to perfection and we really enjoyed this dish.

Course #6~

Roast duck with licorice gel, confit duck terrine rolled in pistachios, orange and carrot puree and pickled red cabbage. The duck had a nice layer of fat under the skin which really added to the flavour. I thought the pickled red cabbage gave the dish a nice sweet touch but my favourite part of this dish (despite my love for fatty duck) would have to be the orange and carrot puree. Wow it was soooo amazing and I made sure that my fork got every last bit of it. This would have to be the most memorable dish of the night.

Dessert~

We were counting the courses as we were going, so when we saw that they were serving desserts at course #7 we were excited at the thought of having two desserts.

Course #7~

Rhubarb and raspberry– quinoa crunch, raspberry sorbet, creme brulee foam, rose petals with a raspberry sponge. The creme brulee foam was so light, creamy and delicate. I was surprised to find the poached rhubarb cold and sweet and I thought it was a great contrast of raspberry with the sponge flavour being so subtle against the very vibrant sorbet.

Course #8~

Chocovado– chocolate cremeux, hazelnut cocoa crumble, lemon gel and avocado cream. The aftertaste of the avocado cream left my tongue like it had just eaten an unripe banana. The actual chocolate portion itself was like a thick rich chocolate mousse, it was very smooth which was contrast to the crunch of the rice grains that are decorated on top.

And a cappuccino to finish off the night (not included in degustation)

Staff were attentive and polite as always and I’m always impressed when they can describe each course at no hesitation and yet with so much detail. I must admit even after 8 courses I could have eaten another meal afterwards but I resisted temptation to not ruin my palette. I’m looking forward to next season’s menu.

From their website:

Sage Closed from 1st July -17th July for an inspirational trip to France and a new kitchen.”

Restaurant 2602

——-28/04/2012——-

After my friend and I had eaten a seafood platter at Maestral in Weston we had planned our next seafood platter adventure at Restaurant 2602.

Complimentary pumpkin and ginger soup– slight heat from the ginger, it was a lovely touch.

Prepped with a waste bowl and water bowl, we were ready to go!

Seafood platter for two ($75.00)

A breakdown of each dish.       

Prawn bruschetta– the prawns tasted watery and I probably would have preferred it with no prawns.

Thai style fish cakes- the nicest thing on the plate.

Kilpatrick oysters- they were ok but I would have preferred it to be cooked a little longer.

Crispy calamari- It was good that it was not overly oily.

Next platter:

Beer battered flat head and chips

Lobster tails with king prawns in a seeded mustard cream sauce over jasmine rice- this was really disappointing, once your scraped away the overpowering creamy sauce, you were left with stringy and what felt like undercooked lobster.

Atlantic salmon with smashed potatoes and macadamias-
the potatoes were bland but the salmon was ok. I thought the addition of macadamias was a little odd.

Sliced fresh fruit- Everything was nice and fresh except for the passion fruit, two halves looked like it was mixed in with canned passion fruit pulp.

The variety was much better at Restaurant 2602 in terms of the seafood platter but majority of dishes were disappointing. The staff were nice and attentive but I was a bit annoyed with the bill because I didn’t realise they confused my 2011/2012 entertainment card for the new 2012/2013 offer and they gave me less of a discount than I was entitled to. 

Venue: Restaurant 2602

Address: Unit 2/15 Edgar Street Ainslie ACT 2602

Phone: (02) 6247 4437

Entertainment card: Yes, but I was annoyed that they confused my 2011/2012 card offer with the 2012/2013 offer and gave me less of a discount.

Restaurant 2602 on Urbanspoon

Locanda re-run

——-23/03/2012——-

I had been to Locanda Italian Steakhouse before and after talking to several people who really enjoyed their experience, they all had one thing in common- they ordered pasta! How was I supposed to know, it is called a steakhouse after all. So I took some keen pasta eating friends and we went off to Locanda Steakhouse for lunch.

Mains~

Spaghetti seafood “allo scoglio” ($25.00) Perfect al dente pasta with lots of seafood in a rich tomato based sauce.

Tortelloni house made ricotta & spinach filled ($25.00) I couldn’t really decide so the waiter made a suggestion that I ordered the tortelloni. It was a very nice buttery sauce and a good home made pasta but I couldn’t really taste the sage.

Gnocchi house made: King Prawns, Fresh tomato, chilli and chopped king prawns ($26.00) The pasta sauce had a nice infusion of chilli and there was a decent serve of king prawns. 

Sides~

Steakhouse fries ($8.00) They came out hot and crispy, not much more you could ask for in fries.

Grilled asparagus ($8.00) This was really nice, grilled perfectly with just the right amount of butter.

Limoncello They kindly offered us a shot of limoncello as we waited for our dessert. The waiter was telling us that Italians drink this to help digestion. I don’t usually drink but I thought I’d had a little sip since he so kindly offered. It was STRONG and it cleared my nose even though I didn’t think that there was anything to clear in the first place! It had a subtle lemon flavour followed by an overwhelming aniseed aftertaste.   

Dessert~

The waiter was a very smooth talker and he convinced me to get dessert, although I didn’t need too much convincing when I had fallen in love with their tiramisu previously.

His top dessert choices were: 1) chocolate pudding 2) tiramisu 3) panna cotta

I told him how much I loved the tiramisu but he still insisted I tried the chocolate pudding. He said if I didn’t like the cake more, he would pay for my dessert.

Chocolate pudding (20 minute wait) essentially a rich delicate chocolate molten lava cake with every aspect of the plate being really delicious from the custard to the coulis. Very enjoyable for chocolate lovers but I still preferred the tiramisu.

It seemed like a long wait but we received our meals and finished our meals within an hour. I thought the pasta was a lot better than the steak but I am still keen to come back to try their whole suckling pig or pork belly. 

3 states in 3 days- Sydney: Flying Fish and Chips

——-10/03/2012——-

The Flying Fish and Chips looked promising, offering a variety of seafood from fresh sashimi to fried fish and chips to oven roasted Tasmanian salmon. 

Grilled seafood platter for 1- grilled fish, scallops, baby calamari, king prawn, grilled Moreton Bay bugs, fat chips with chilli salt ($29.00) I went to pick up my platter straight after my buzzer went off and when I got it everything was pretty much luke warm, although the chips didn’t go soggy. On top of this, the seafood was a bit too salty and nothing really ‘wow’ed me. It was rather quiet disappointing, especially considering I had the most expensive meal by far.

Venue: Flying and Fish and Chips

Address: Level G, Café Court, The Star, 80 Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont NSW 2009

Opening hours: Monday: 11am-10pm

                               Tues-Thu: 11am-11pm

                               Fri & Sat: 11am–midnight

                               Sunday: 11am-9pm

Flying Fish and Chips on Urbanspoon

Maestral rerun

——-02/03/2012——-

Another day, another dinner at the same restaurant  but this time with a different friend. I was excited to go back to Maestral because there was still so much to try!

Entree~

Seafood stuffed avocadoavocado stuffed with smoked trout, prawns, smoked salmon and dressed with a Mediterranean sauce ($12.50) My friend loves avocado  and she absolutely loves seafood, this was the obvious choice for her. She really enjoyed it and ate every last bit.

From the specials board~

Brudet fish stew – fish fillets, mussels, prawns and scampi ($31.00) I don’t usually order a main for an entree, but I didn’t think a stew would fill me up that much.  This was such a rich and flavoursome stew with the seafood still retaining their sweet fresh flavour, but I wouldn’t order this as a main though.

Main~

Maestral seafood platter for 2– Catch of the day, kilpatrick oysters, lightly fried potatoes, soft shell crab, jumbo prawns, scampi, fresh garlic aioli and a fresh garden salad ($90.00). I couldn’t help myself but order this again because it is a great way to sample a range of seafood and my friend hadn’t eaten here before. We loved every part of the platter.

A forever busy restaurant so booking is essential. The seafood platter can be seen as a little oily but I definitely liked it. I was torn between ordering the platter, lobster mornay and a steak though, but there is always next time! 

Venue: Maestral

Address: 13 Ternerry St, Weston, ACT 2611

Phone: (02) 6287 3930

Website: http://maestral.com.au/

Maestral on Urbanspoon

Wollongong Series- Gigi’s

——-10/12/11——-

We were taking a risk when showing up to Gigi’s, the newest hot spot in town without a booking, but we figured it was 9pm and hopefully some tables had cleared out. When we got there we were informed that the restaurant had been fully booked out but they were able to squeeze us in- yay!

When I was browsing through the menu, I was torn between my love of seafood and my love of home made pasta but when my friend asked if I wanted to go halves in a seafood platter for two, I couldn’t say no, after all, it was her birthday weekend .

I agree! That would explain why I’m happy most of the time 

Very busy, even though we were seated at 9pm, there were still people coming in.

Table all prepped for our seafood platter for two! 

With almost an hour long wait for our food, we were offered complimentary warm bread with balsamic and olive oil from the kitchen. 

Finally! Our Seafood platter for two arrives!

Venetian Hot and Cold Seafood Fritto Mistosalt and pepper squid, Spanish mussels cooked in a bianco sauce, rosemary grilled Australian king prawns, fish of the day (local John Dory), Crystal bay king prawns, Tasmanian smoked salmon on a celeriac remoulade and Balmain bugs in a citrus dressing ($78.00).

Where to begin? Clockwise from the top left hand corner maybe. Salt and pepper squid was very tasty with a ‘not too over the top’ batter and non chewy squid, you can’t go wrong. The John Dory was a nice light fresh fish. The rosemary grilled Australian king prawns was so fresh, sweet and delicious! Crystal bay king prawns– I’m pretty sure I ate most of these but I was “helping” my friend because she was getting full. Balmain bugs- very fresh and truely delicious. Tasmanian smoked salmon on a celeriac remoulade- probably my least favourite thing on the platter only because I didn’t find the salmon salty enough. Spanish mussels cooked in a bianco sauce- I’m not the biggest fan of mussels so I was hesitant to try one, but oh my! They fast became my favourite thing on the platter, they were well cooked and I even dipped my bread into the sauce to savour the flavour.

Chicken breast involtini saltimboccawith polenta parmesan and sage mash, served with muscatel butter and sage sauce ($19.50). Nice, lots of flavour but a bit too rich, my friend had to order some extra bread.

Fettuccinewith red wine slowly braised beef ragu, shaved parmesan and orange gremolata ($18.90). With fresh home made pasta this was definitely better than your average Italian restaurant! The beef was very tender and melted in your mouth.

Dark chocolate & hazelnut tortinawith warm ganache, vanilla ice-cream & pistachio nut praline ($8.50) When 3 out of 4 people order one type of dessert (they weren’t going to share     ), you better hope that it was good. Luckily the chefs did no disappoint, one my friends said ‘that it was to die for’. For me personally, it was too rich, one bite had me on a sugar high for a while but I did appreciate the warm soft moist cake.

Vanilla bean white chocolate panna cottawith peach liquor & blueberry compote & biscotti  ($8.50) Not an overly sweet dessert, this suited me to a ‘T’. The blueberry compote was delicious and was sweet enough to compliment the panna cotta. I couldn’t taste the white chocolate but it had a nice wobbly texture.

When we went, Gigi’s had only been open for a month. Since following them on FaceBook it looks like they have a lot planned for this venue including live music on Sundays and updating their menu. I have high hopes for this restaurant and can’t wait to go back and eat more fresh seafood.

Venue: Gigi’s restaurant and bar

Address: 22 Market Street, Wollongong, NSW, 2500

Opening hours: The restaurant is open from 7am till late, seven days a week.

Gigi's on Urbanspoon

Maestral – a real catch (of the day)!

——-09/11/2011——-

I was told by some of my foodie friends- 1). I have to go to Maestral in Weston Creek 2). I would have to book if I wanted to get into Maestral 3). I HAVE to order the seafood stew which is one of their specialties (and the veal medallions are also highly recommended). 2 out of the 3 ain’t too bad right?

From the website: 

“At Maestral you can enjoy the best of authentic Croatian Mediterranean cuisine – the taste of the Adriatic. With a cuisine influenced from around the Mediterranean, fresh seafood dishes and char-grilled prime fillet steaks, you are sure to enjoy your visit to Maestral.”

Antipasto platehome smoked prosciutto and pork neck, cheese, bread sticks and olives.

Specials board- mmmmm what to order? Everything sounds delicious.

Maestral seafood platter for 2Catch of the day (blue eye cod), oysters, lightly fried potatoes, soft shell crab, jumbo prawns, scampi, fresh garlic aioli and a fresh garden salad ($90.00). 

Despite all the recommendations I was given, I had a craving for fresh seafood so there was nothing better to order than a seafood platter! Everything was delicious- the oysters and prawns were fresh, the potatoes were very addictive and the scampi was very sweet. 

Although my friend and I said that we were really full after eating the seafood platter, we had apparently set aside another stomach for dessert.

My friend being spoilt for choice with Croatian cakes at home didn’t want anything on the dessert menu but crepes! She asked for the crepes ($10.00) to be rolled not folded and requested if they had home-made jam (they had apricot). I just looked at the waitress with a confused look and just asked for the same, she knows what she’s doing.

I liked the crispy edges but I don’t know if I could finish both crepes next time, they are pretty filling.

I would definitely come here again for my seafood cravings, it is the best seafood I’ve had in a while in Canberra. There are still so many things I’d like to try on the menu plus “I HAVE to try the seafood stew”. 

Venue: Maestral

Address: 13 Ternerry St, Weston, ACT 2611

Phone: (02) 6287 3930

Website: http://maestral.com.au/

Maestral on Urbanspoon