#Worlds50Best

What I wouldn’t give to be in Melbourne right now; snacking on cheese and prosciutto in Federation Square watching a live stream of the World’s 50 Best awards as they are happening. It is the second awards show to happen outside of London in its 15 year history and tonight is the first official public screening of the event.

Knowing I couldn’t be in Melbourne tonight, I did the next best thing. I attended the #worlds50best talk in Sydney last weekend. Like a true fan girl, I was on the Sydney Opera House website as soon as the tickets went for sale. For me the panel was star studded with Massimo Bottura (Osteria Francescana), Brett Graham (The Ledbury), Dominique Crenn (Atelier Crenn) and local chef Peter Gilmore (Quay and Bennelong) with Annabel Crabb as MC.

The hour talk went by so fast, covering how each chef started and talking about their experiences. I was the most excited to hear from Massimo but I ended up leaving as a true fan of Dominique Crenn, with her confidence and witty honest responses.

The Q&A segment saw an audience member ask ‘as a female, when did Dominique decide between career and family life?’ The room felt uncomfortable as he kept finishing almost every sentence with ‘no offence’, but her response was simple- he didn’t know anything about her life. In fact she does have kids, so do the other male chefs on stage. So why ask her specifically? She offered to have a drink with the man or go out dancing afterwards if he wanted to talk about it further in person but she invited him for now during a limited timed event about food to ask a different question. What a champion!

I’ll be closely watching the #worlds50best FB page and count my way down from #50-1 for 2017.

Flower child 

Tapping into local knowledge of North Sydney, I asked my cousin where should I go for brunch that is in Chatswood, has air con (it was forecasted to be a 38-degree day!), good food and easy access as we were going with TimmyC’s grandma. She gave me two options but she mentioned that Flower Child was a sister cafe of the famous Grounds of Alexandria- BINGO! That was the one we were going to choose, the only downside was that they don’t take any bookings. TimmyC’s parents went 1 hour early to book a table for 6 people, they had to leave their mobile number and would be called when the table was available. What was supposed to be a 35-minute wait turned into just over 1 hour because every man, woman and child decided to have brunch there as well.Freshly squeeze juices~

Watermelon, pineapple and orange ($7.00).

Pineapple, pear, apple, mint and ginger ($7.00). I would have liked a stronger ginger taste but the juice overall was nice and refreshing.Cake~

Passionfruit cheesecake ($7.00). I may have chosen this cake based on its pretty looks but luckily it was yummy. There weren’t many layers or different flavours in the cake so the price may seem a tad steep for its size and complexity. Breakfast~ available all day

Toast with jam toasted sourdough ($7.00) with avocado ($3.00). I thought I would have received house made jams as well as the avocado but apparently not. The reason why I ordered such a simple brunch was because I already had breakfast and this was really just supposed to be the savoury component as I was also ordering juice and cake.

Flower Child Fruit salad seasonal fresh fruits with compressed pineapple, watermelon, strawberries, grapefruit, lychee, pistachio, freeze-dried raspberries and yoghurt sorbet ($17.00). We didn’t see any lychee or grapefruit in the bowl but TimmyC happily enjoyed his light and refreshing breakfast but his favourite thing on the plate was that yoghurt sorbet. We are going to have to try and make some!Flower Child French toast banana mascarpone, sliced banana, dark chocolate crumb, baked pecans, fresh berries, salted toffee and maple syrup ($19.00). I didn’t know if all these ingredients would have made for an OTT breakfast but TimmyC’s Aunty finished the whole lot with ease.Brunch~ available all day

Tasmanian crispy skin salmon crispy skin salmon with young potatoes, green beans, truss tomatoes, radish, grapefruit, baby cos and olive tapenade mayo ($24.00). TimmyC’s Dad and Grandma both thoroughly enjoyed their meal. I loved the look of the crispy skin, it is making me crave salmon as I write this post.I think it was much easier to get a table for 2-4 people but I wouldn’t come here when it is really busy and expect to get a table without a small wait. Despite the hordes of people, a waitress set up our table, took our order and came back with our food in a timely manner. I loved the diverse range of menu items, the prettiness of the surrounds and food but I did not enjoy the wait and slightly cramped table we were on.

With gorgeous food and amazing looking cake cabinets like this, it is easy to see that this cafe has ties with The Grounds of Alexandria.Venue: Flower Child

Address: Level 3, Westfield Chatswood, 1 Anderson St, Chatswood NSW 2067

Phone(02) 9412 1555

Flower Child Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Koi Dessert Bar

This was the last stop of the day during our epic progressive foodie tour across Sydney CBD. We had booked Koi Dessert bar several weeks beforehand and we tried to keep enough stomach space to enjoy their famous delightful desserts.Complimentary bread and butter~

Set dinner ($77.oo pp)

first course

Eggplant

steamed eggplant, trout roe, eschalots and smoked eggplant broth

This arrived so quickly and the portion was so small, I had initially mistaken it for an amuse bouche. I loved the clean presentation but I found the broth’s harsh eggplant burnt taste too much like baba ganoush, which I’m not really a fan of.

second course

Quack

duck breast, micro green, cherries and cherry reduction

I loved how they cut the cherries in tiny little precise wedges; they made for gorgeous adorning presentation and provided just that little bit of sweetness to the duck. There was a good meat to fat to skin ratio, it was just a shame that it was all over in a matter of a few bites.

third course

Angus

Angus beef with wagyu bresaola, burnt onion and mushroom puree (cooked medium rare)

After my first bite, I thought I really enjoyed this course until I realised what I really like was the mushroom puree. We were all a bit disappointed as the duck course had set the bar high and the beef was hard to cut and a little chewy.

fourth course

Vanilla Cherry

vanilla mousse, frozen raspberry, blackberry gel, cherry slices and long pepper

Oh wow, I loved the way they presented the cherries. The mousse was super delicate and carried well to sweeten the flavours from all the fruit. Despite the presence of long pepper, there was only a subtle amount of heat. This was delicious.

fifth course

Typical chocolate

summer berries, chocolate, citrus and caramel. We were advised to start with berries and ending with caramel

It was no surprise that chocolate paired well with berries but I made a disgusted face when I bit into the burnt citrus; it was a very harsh flavour and I did not enjoy it. The caramel was a beautiful way to finish off the dessert though, I could just sit and eat that all day.

optional sixth course ($20.00) 

We were all super full from the day’s events but we weren’t one to miss out on a course even if it was optional. It was nice that they let us order one to share between the four of us.

Moss

pistachio mousse, caramel gel, white chocolate matcha dulce cremeux, pistachio sponge, matcha moss, apple blossom jelly, nitro lime and yoghurt and green apple

Many different components to this dish and I can’t say that I could taste them all even though I was careful to get a bit of everything on my spoon. The strong flavours to me came from the nitro lime, yoghurt, white chocolate and apple. I liked how the sour and sweet notes were subsided with the yoghurt and white chocolate.

seventh course

Cheesecake

lime cheesecake mousse, brown butter and shiso.

I loved who they made a well out of the cream cheese in this deconstructed cheesecake, I might use that idea if I ever try to recreate something similar. Like all of the previous desserts, this was not a heavy dessert that was OTT; they really understand the balance of flavours and textures.We felt a little up and down about the mains but when the desserts came out, it felt like I was eating at another restaurant. It was seriously next level! And although we had eaten four desserts, I never did feel like something was too sweet or heavy that I couldn’t finish it. I will definitely have to bring TimmyC with me next time I come.

Venue: Koi Dessert Bar

Address: 46 Kensington St, Chippendale NSW 2008

Phone(02) 9212 1230

KOI Dessert Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mr. Wong

I had culled a lot of my backlog drafts but this was one I was desperate to tell you about.
I had to been to Mr. Wong once before but without TimmyC which he constantly reminds me about, so when we had some free time between visiting family, we decided to go there for dinner. They don’t take bookings for less than 6 people for dinner, so we had no choice but to wing it. Knowing we had a public holiday on the Monday in Canberra, TimmyC and I figured ‘how busy could a restaurant be on a Sunday night, especially when there was only 3 of us?’, the answer is VERY. We arrived just before 7 pm and the next available table for 3 pax was just after 8:30 pm. We were there, TimmyC could almost taste the duck, so we put our name down on the list and took a stroll to get some cheesecake from Uncle Tetsu’s while we waited.
When we came back more eager than before, the table was still not available yet but they encouraged us to get a drink at the bar. Just after browsing the cocktail list, we were approached by the wait staff again and shown to a table downstairs. All my photos are pretty dark because of the poor lighting inside.

Coconut martini mocktail I didn’t get a photo of the description, all I remember is there was kiffir lime ($10.00). I’ve had a lot of mocktails in my time and most of them just end up tasting like a tropical fruit juice or a sweet fizzy soda, but I simply adored this. There was so much complexity in the flavours and it morphed as my tongue picked up different flavours, all this within a sip. I can’t wait to go back and go through the rest of the list.
Starters~
Dim sum platters steamed dim sum platter (8 pieces) a selection of today’s specialties ($32.00). The different dumplings were a combination of lobster, duck, scallops and the like. All of them were very delicate, perfect and oh so delicious. I would highly recommend ordering this despite the price tag.
Peking duck pancakes (half serve 8 pancakes $45.00). You cannot come to Mr. Wong and not order their duck. It is amazing. I love the duck pieces as it has a good skin to meat ratio, the meat is tender and the skin is impeccable.
Mains~
Prawns, scallops and calamari wok fried with ginger and spring onions ($36.00). To have prawns, scallops and calamari cooked perfectly until it was all tender was fantastic, I just wish there was more of a ‘sear’ to them from the wok.
Sweet and sticky pork ribs ($34.00). They did not lie, these ribs were sweet and sticky! Perhaps a little too sweet for my taste, but the meat was very tender.
Stir fried snow peas, sugar snap peas and broccoli with garlic and rice wine ($19.00). It was easy to get your fill of vegetables when they tasted this good.
King crab fried rice “typhoon shelter style” with garlic and chili (small $24.00). A fried rice is best eaten hot and that is what I told myself as I scoffed mouthfuls of rice like I had not eaten in days. The taste of crab was subtle but I really liked the oomph that the garlic and chili added.
Dessert~
Mango pudding with coconut tapioca, lychee granita and mango pearls ($16.00). TimmyC said he was starting to get full already after the starters but he then proceeded to eat the mains, by this stage, he was convinced he had enough and was so full that he could not order the deep fried ice cream that he had his eye on since we sat down. The waitress then came past to see if we wanted any dessert and just as TimmyC finished his ‘no dessert’ declaration to the table, he ordered the mango pudding almost in the same breath. There were no regrets. The mango pudding was silky smooth and we loved the flavour combination with the coconut and lychees.
I still dream about those mango pearls. Instead of just being flat one noted gelatinous balls, they actually burst in your mouth releasing sweet and juicy mango flavour, it reminded me of the dessert version of fish roe. Incredible!
Even though I was impressed by everything from the ambiance, to the efficient staff to the amazing food we had, I think I preferred our starters to the mains. It might have been our menu choices but those starters were seriously next level. I guess we will just have to come back and try more of the menu to know.

Venue: Mr. Wong

Address: 3 Bridge St, Sydney NSW 2000

Phone(02) 9240 3000

 

Mr. Wong Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Progressive Foodie Tour in Sydney Round #1

Some foodie friends and I decided to do a trip to Sydney. We listed a bunch of eateries and although we knew we couldn’t fit in all the deliciousness that Sydney had to offer, we were damn well going to try. With dates locked in for the next trip, let’s call this post Progressive Foodie Tour in Sydney Round #1.

Stop #1 Mother Chu’s Taiwanese Gourmet 

I’m a sucker for fried dough sticks at any time of day, so when we could order them for breakfast at Mother Chu’s I was like ‘heck yes!’. We ordered a small selection of delicious Taiwanese treats to ease us into our progressive foodie tour around Sydney city, but I really wanted to eat more.

Green onion cake ($3.50). This was my favourite pick of the dishes as it seems deceptively simple but had an amazing crunchy flaky texture.Flaky pastry with You Tiao ($5.50 each).Glutinous rice roll with pork floss ($5.00 each)Cold soybean drink ($3.00).

Stop #2 Emperor’s cream puffs

If you can stop yourself at one, they are 35c each but who really has that much self control. For 5 bucks you get a container full of 18 cute little puffs in the shape of a walnut filled with hot custard. CAUTION HOT! It is not as good as Beard Papa, but I’ll take what I can get.

Stop #3 Niigata city

We were on the search for O-san ramen down in Dixon food court only to be met by an empty store. We stood there in disbelief as we didn’t have a plan B. We immediately took to google to find out that the ramen store is safe and well in another location after a kitchen explosion. We headed to Niigata City beating the lunch rush. Knowing the delicious road ahead, we had to opt for half serves ($9.00) but it was very tempting to want more. The broth was slightly thick, very rich and went down a treat with the delicious char sui and bouncy chewy noodles. This place quickly became one of my top 5 places to eat ramen in Sydney.

Around us everyone ordered beautiful bento boxes, I will have to come back and try more of the menu.

Favourite pick: Tonkotsu ramen (which has always been my favourite, although the black garlic did catch my eye). The addition of raw onions did catch me a bit off guard.

Stop #4 Hakkaido baked cheese tarts

This was initially one of our first stops until we realised that they weren’t open yet and we were too hungry to wait around. The opening times were a little unclear, it appears they open around 11:30am until when they sell out (roughly around 4pm). There is a limit of 6 cheese tarts per customer at $3.90 a pop.

After taking a million photos around the stall without annoying other patrons, I took a bite of the luke warm wobbly tart. It instantly reminded me of an oyster mornay (without the oyster of course), it tasted like a bechamel sauce with the burnt spots which then after a subtle aftertaste of a cheesecake. A subtle sweetness that I could get used to.

Knowing that there were still many stops along the way during this hot day, I decided not to order a roadie to see what it tasted like cold. I will definitely be back!

Stop #5 Holy Shake

Next stop – Gimmicky-ville

Did I just buy a honey milk tea with pearls ($6.40) just so I could get a cute light bulb that flashes rainbow lights? Perhaps, but if TimmyC asks, it was purely essential for my hydration levels on a hot day.

At least the milk tea wasn’t too sweet which is how I like it.

Stop #6 Just Fry

We needed something to take the edge of all the sweetness we had been having and Just Fry’s sign had been staring at us, nay TAUNTING us that we had to get something fried. We opted for the Taiwanese chicken nuggets ($6.50), which came in a pre-weighed amount, deep fried and then doused in garlic (amazing!). A handy little savoury snack to keep us going until our next stop.

Stop #7 i-Creamy Artisan Gelato

I had first come across gelato flowers when I was in Europe a few years ago. It appears the craze has finally hit our shores but this time with the option of Asian flavours. My first picks of flavours (raspberry yoghurt and French vanilla) were sold out so I ended up with salted caramel and taro ($6.90), not because the flavours particularly compliment each other but because I had chosen two brown flavours as my second choice and it was pointed out by my server. I panicked and threw in purple into the mix. Some flavours are more suited to the outer petals depending on the ‘hardness’ of the ice cream.

It may be because I’ve been spoilt by Frugii for so many years but I didn’t think the flavours were very strong (I had high expectations and hopes for salted caramel) and within minutes of receiving my ice cream, it started to melt very fast (it was a particularly hot day) and with each lick, the pretty petals melted away to give a brown/purple melded concoction.

I’d keep your money for a better ice creamery, this seems to be purely gimmicky (but very instagrammable).

Stop #8 Uncle Tetsu

Well since we tried one cheese tart, it would only be fair if we wandered across the road and tried the other cheese tart. I was surprised to see that Uncle Tetsu had expanded into three areas; the front main stall was selling Japanese cheesecake with other baked goods, the entrance at the back sold cheese tarts exclusively and down stairs you could find sweets including their matcha range with limited seating.

Uncle Tetsu’s cheesetart ($3.90). Looking at the shell of the tart, I knew it would be more hard and crumbly than the previous one we had tried. This tart had more of a custard tart vibe and didn’t have that light wobbliness to the texture. I didn’t love the crust although the filling was nice but overall I think I prefer Hakkaido cheese tarts. The matcha tart had a nice flavour with a subtle tea bitterness aftertaste.

Stop #9 Black Star Pastry

My foodie friends wanted to try the raspberry lychee cake and it is one of the better cakes to eat on a hot day. I really love raspberry paired with lychee and it did taste a lot like their famous watermelon as they share the same filling, but I think the watermelon version is more refreshing.

Stop #10 Koi Dessert bar

This one deserves a post of its own. Be on the look out for my next post but until then here is some food porn.

The Sawmill

As you can tell from the half eaten slices of pizza, I wasn’t planning on blogging about my casual family lunch at The Sawmill but the pizzas were so good, I had to write about it.

Wild rice salad wild rice, kale, cranberries, fetta ($20.00) with added grilled chicken ($4.00). I have only had kale chips, so I wasn’t used to the texture of uncrunchy kale but the flavours with wild rice, cranberries and fetta are a great idea.Margherita buffalo mozzarella, basil, tomato base ($20.00). It is a simple pizza topping but our favourite pizza choice and Sawmill definitely delivered; it was the favourite pizza of the table! I would definitely order this again.Peccati di gola salami, ham, pancetta, Italian sausage, mozzarella, tomato base ($24.00). It would seem very meat heavy for some, but I really enjoyed this.Sfiziosa smoked ham, onion, mushroom, artichokes, Italian sausage, bianco base ($24.00). This wouldn’t have been my first choice but it was nice to have a mix of vegetables and meat on at least one of the pizzas.I found the staff really friendly and accommodating when we rocked up without a booking. The pizzas are so good because the ingredients are fresh, the bases are fantastic and you can’t beat a wood fired oven. I’m getting a craving as I write this post.

Venue: The Sawmill

Address: 7 Duneba Avenue, West Pymble, NSW

Phone: (02) 9498 6565

The Sawmill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

La Renaissance

It was raining cats and dogs, so after having a quick lunch at Ryo’s Noodles we were tempted just to go home but my Mumsy told me that there were delicious cakes at La Renaissance in Waterloo and I just couldn’t resist. The convenient under ground parking with an internal door into the building meant we wouldn’t even get wet, so of course we headed straight there. They had a nice spacious setting and a beautiful cake cabinet, which caught out eye immediately. I was a little sceptical about the cakes being over priced, because almost $10 for a small cakes sounds a  little ludicrous but my oh my, they are worth every cent. My favourite was the Monet because I really enjoy the white chocolate, raspberry and lychee combo; I found the flavours not to be overly sweet but refreshing with the fruit component. I can see how chocolate lovers would love zulu, if you’re in the area you have to drop by!

So many choices… What to choose?Monet white chocolate bavaroise, raspberry, lychee jelly ($9.50 dine in).So many different textures, flavours and layers of deliciousness.Goya raspberry mousseline, passionfruit, almond nougatine ($9.50 dine in).Zulu chocolate mousse, salted caramel and Valrhona Guanaja chocolate ganache, crispy pearls ($9.00 take away).Venue: La Renaissance

Address: PYD Building, Shop 1, 197 Young Street, Waterloo NSW 2017

Phone: (02), 9241 4878
La Renaissance Cafe Patisserie Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Ryo’s noodles

I experience FOMO a LOT, especially when my cousin and sister are surrounded by ramen restaurants and I am not. So when I was last in Sydney, I headed straight to Ryo’s noodles where both of them had been recently.

We arrived around 1:10pm on a Sunday to be greeted by a short line, I started to panic as they shut at 2pm but the line only took 20 minutes to get through. img_9370Maybe I’ll bring someone who can read Japanese with me next time, I hope this is just the menu in Japanese and that I’m not missing out on something awesome.#1 Tonkotsu ramen in salt flavoured soup with roast pork, shallots and sesame seeds ($13.00). I don’t eat the egg and nori so I wanted the basic ramen; it was easy to order for our table, ‘we will have three number ones please’. In a matter of minutes our order arrived. The broth was magical, the noodles were perfect and so was the tender pork. I really enjoyed the broth because it wasn’t really fatty and thick.Gotta love a broth where you can’t see the bottom of the spoon.Home-made pork bun ($4.50). I couldn’t help but try one of their home-made buns, the bun came out fresh and hot with a soft fluffy texture. The pork filling surprised me because it had a pulled pork texture.  Excuse the mangled mess, I ripped it in half to share with my Mumsy.This place is TINY. I can see why there is a wait, the food is delicious but there also not a lot of space to put many tables and chairs.We were in and out in 22 minutes. We weren’t pressured to leave but it was a tight squeeze in the restaurant with people waiting to be seated right next to us. We came for delicious rich tonkotsu ramen and that’s what we got, this is not a place to sit down and catch up.

There is also another Ryo’s noodles located in Bondi Junction.

Venue: Ryo’s Noodles

Address: 125 Falcon St, Crows Nest NSW 2065

Phone: (02) 9955 0225

Ryo's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Uncle Tetsu

If you some how haven’t heard, Uncle Tetsu opened up their first Australian flagship store in Sydney earlier this year and the lines are notoriously long, you’re only allowed to buy one cake per person (yes you read that right) and they only have four items on the menu.

Uncle Tetsu’s menu.I was lucky enough to go during an obscure time while waiting for a restaurant reservation (around 7:20pm on a Sunday night) and basically walked right in but not long after a queue started forming out of no where!

As I was outside taking  photos of my goodies, all these people started queuing.Signature Japanese cheesecake world famous soft and fluffy light cheesecake ($17.99). We took it home to enjoy and we had it both ‘cool’ and ‘warm’ (microwave a slice for 10 seconds) but we both preferred it warm because it seem to have more flavour. I really enjoyed the light fluffy texture that is unique to Japanese cheesecakes but I wish it a stronger flavour.You can easily finish a whole cheesecake by yourself because Japanese cheesecakes are light and fluffy. Here is an obligatory cross sectional photo.Honey Madeleine nostalgic Japanese honey cupcakes (4 pack $15.00). These we dense cakes that had a subtle honey aftertaste. Nothing particularly special and I wouldn’t get them again.My verdict? I wouldn’t line up for this but if someone brought some to share, I wouldn’t say no. If you have never had a Japanese cheesecake, you must go out and get one now!

Venue: Uncle Tetsu

Address501 George Street, Sydney, Australia

Opening hours: 7 days 11:00am – 11:00pm
Uncle Tetsu’s Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Munich Brauhaus – The Rocks

Continuing on with the European theme even though we had literally been eaten all day, my friends and I were still excited to try Munich Brauhaus on The Rocks.

We were very lucky with our timing and were able to catch Vivid on Australia’s iconic landmarks. To aid with digestion, we happily walked around Circular Quay to make our way to the Rocks. The area was buzzing and Munich Brauhaus was not immune, in fact there was a line up at the front and we didn’t know how long the wait was going to be but I optimistically joined the line and within 10 minutes we were seated with another group on a long table.

Inside had a great warm atmosphere and it transported us away to another country. Despite being ridiculously busy, service was prompt and so were the food and drinks. I think it is a great testament to an establishment when they have enough staff and are not overwhelmed when packed to the brim.

Drinks~

Lowie (500mL $12.90).

Good pickins apple cider (500mL $12.50).

Starters~

Brez’n Bavarian pretzel Haus made with cultured butter ($4.50). Oh my goodness, a warm pretzel with a good butter is hard to beat. I was in love.

Knoblauchbrot garlic rye bread with radish cream ($8.50). It was ridiculous how saturated the bread was with garlic butter but the richness is balanced out by the radish cream. A good starter to share with friends.Mains~

Hühnerbrust Vienna style crumbed chicken breast ($29.00).Oktoberfest teller Bavarian tasting platter. A showcase of our handmade products crafted to perfection with original Bavarian recipes. The best offer for a Bavarian sized appetite for one. Crispy pork belly, Haus sausages, schnitzel, sauerkraut, red cabbage, creamy mash, granny smith apple compote, bier jus ($34.00)It is true, two of us shared this and could not finish the plate but to be fair, we had been eating almost non stop for the whole day during our Gourmet Safari. I enjoyed everything on this plate, everything was really well done and  superb. The surprising element that I loved was the bier jus, I could smother that on everything! This was a lovely way to experience a bit of everything.Sides~

Sauerkraut ($7.00). Because you can never have too much sauerkraut on the table.

Mashed potato ($7.00). Really smooth and the perfect accompaniment to all the meat.

Mushroom sauce ($3.00). I didn’t know if I’d like the bier jus so I ordered this but I really didn’t need to.
By this point, we knew there was no room for dessert (for now) as we couldn’t  finish our mains. I think I would have been fine if I didn’t go on a food tour all day but the portions are very generous and satisfying. There was traditional live music, the staff were dressed in costume and if you order schnapps, a really skilled waitress manoeuvres her way through the crowd with a really long paddle. I would happily come here again, I really loved the food, the service and atmosphere.

Venue: Munich Brauhaus

Address: Cnr / Playfair & Argyle St, The Rocks, Sydney NSW 2000

Phone: (02) 9247 7785
Munich Brauhaus Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

European Gourmet Food Safari in Sydney

Come with me on a gourmet journey through Sydney.

My friends know me so well and for my Christmas gift they purchased me a voucher to have a Gourmet Safari. I chose the European Gourmet Food Safari in Sydney to experience a lot of Europe crammed into one exciting and delicious day.

Stop#:1

Starting the day right with a coffee and their famous ricotta cake that did not disappoint.

Venue: Pasticceria Papa

Address: Shop LG 1–4, 75–79 Hall Street, Bondi Beach

The one thing to buy/try: Ricotta cake or get some freshly shaved ham

Pasticceria Papa Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato It is hard to concentrate on anything when there are so many sweets.


Stop#:2

We left with bags in hand and samples in our mouths. If you don’t know what to get, the kind and friendly staff will help you out.

Venue: Russkis Deli

Address: 131 Bondi Rd, Bondi NSW 2026

The one thing to buy/try: piroshki, pashka or some delicious European sausages.


Stop#:3

I was really surprised with the variety in this shop that didn’t just include the traditional bakery wares. The chocolate Kugelhopf is bound to impress but you need a lot of people to share it with or a pair of stretchy pants.

Venue: Wellington Cake Shop

Address: 157 Bondi Rd, Bondi NSW 2026

The one thing to buy/try: cream cheese puffs!I could have 10 of these cream cheese puffs right now!


Stop#:4

This is truly cheese heaven. I left with $90 worth of cheese in my hand and everyone I shared it with was also really impressed. They made me eat AND like Stilton cheese which I am still amazed about and they also taught me a lot about ‘ripe’ cheeses and stabilisers.

Venue: Formaggi Ocello

Address: Shop 16/425 Bourke St, Surry Hills NSW 2010

The one thing to buy/try: Guccio Italian bloomy rind cheese (seriously, it is like liquid gold), Stilton with truffle honey or raspberry and herb jelly.  You probably don’t need to know this but they deliver Australia wide.

Formaggi Ocello Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato So many samples, so many amazing flavours.


Stop#:5

If I lived in Sydney I would buy my house in Chester Hill. I love how they have every smoked and cured meat product imaginable and all at decent prices.

Venue: Ivan’s Butchery

Address: 141 Waldron Rd, Chester Hill NSW 2162

The one thing to buy/try: Cevapi, pork crackling, anything really! My mouth is salivating as I type this.Ivan was really generous and let us try so much and it was all definitely worth trying.


Stop#:6

Just when we didn’t think we could fit any more food in, we stopped and had a long late lunch. We ate and enjoyed everything! The hospitality was really warm, the menu was authentic and the food was really good.

Venue: Na Zdrowie

Address: 161 Glebe Point Rd, Glebe NSW 2037

The one thing to buy/try: Everything! Seriously, I loved everything that we ate at this restaurant even though I was a bit sceptical of the description of seasoned pork lard.Na Zdrowie Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato From pierogi to bigos to placki, you have to order it all!

We all had such a fun time on the tour, it is definitely worth going on. I learnt so much, ate so much and bought much much more, I hope to go on a different tour soon.

 

Tetsuya’s rerun

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

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

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

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

Buddha’s tears brewed with spice and orange peel.

Single estate organic sencha green from Kyoto stirred with lime.

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

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

Orange pekoe brewed with red fruits and vanilla pod.

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

See my first experience with terrible photos here.

Venue: Tetsuya’s

Address: 529 Kent Street, Sydney 2000

Phone(02) 9267 2900

Booking ahead

I’m more of a spontaneous diner but in one week TimmyC has booked several restaurants in anticipation for my birthday month. The list of restaurants includes:

  1. Biota
  2. Tetsuya’s
  3. Centennial Vineyards
  4. Katers restaurant at Peppers Manor House
  5. Dinner by Heston

and I also booked a Food Safari that my friends were nice enough to get for me for Christmas. It is going to be a delicious and busy month!

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 

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?