Quay

"If the lingual nerve is damaged, there is a risk of altered taste sensation" I read in the list of Possible Complications of Surgery. This was enough to make me quietly ask Bill whether we could go to Quay before I possibly lose my taste sensations and he agreed it was a good idea WOOHOO! But he also went one step further and offered to take me again after my surgery for the tasting menu "just to see if my taste did change" – best bf ever. 
 
Quay is located on the Overseas Passenger Terminal (Circular Quay West) with an amazing view of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House all lit up. It’s currently ranked 26th Best Restaurant in the World in the S.Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Upon entering Quay we were greeted by friendly staff offering to take our bags and led us to our table. The crisp white linen against the dark furnishings and candle lights gave it a very elegant atmosphere.
 
We were both very excited about our dinner at Quay, we had even discussed what we would each be ordering before hand so we could try most of the dishes we wanted by sharing. Unfortunately the night did not go swimmingly due to the actions of one waitress below but moving forward. After ordering we were served an Amuse Bouche of Smoked eel jelly in white carrot cream with caraway crumbs, whilst I was a bit hesitant of the smoked eel, it was very subtle and enough to whet our appetites as we readied ourselves for the rest of the evening. We were also served bread of our choice with unsalted butter – I chose the polenta and sunflower seed bread which turned out to be quite a heavy bread and Bill chose the rye.
 
For Course One Bill chose the Mud crab congee which wasn’t the traditional type of Chinese congee we were used to but I loved it nonetheless, the flavour of the crab was subtle and I loved the clean broth and the egg emulsion added a creaminess and thickness to the dish. Me on the other hand could not go past the Sea Pearls presented so beautifully I almost didn’t want to eat it…almost. Four perfect and delicate pearls placed in front of me, resisting the urge to pop them into my mouth whole, instead dissecting each one to savour the uniqueness and complexity of each pearl and also giving Bill a little taste too. My favourite was the crab pearl with a silver foil and the octopus came at a close second but they were all so delicious I’m definitely ordering these babies again next time.

Our Second Course arrived, and the alarm bells started ringing in my head because what was served in front of me was not the dish I ordered, the Black lipped abalone, pearl oyster, shiitake, ginger scented milk curd, earth and sea consommé was placed in front of me. Though it was not the dish I ordered, I decided to go along with it anyway and it was beautiful and I especially loved the ginger scented milk curd where the ginger was not overpowering but complemented the rest of the broth. Bill ordered the Butter poached coturnix quail breast which deceptively looked like it had a liver texture, was tender and very earthy with the mixture of walnuts, chestnuts and ethical foie gras pudding. It was definitely the richest of flavours we have had so far this evening and the crunch of quinoa made it a very interesting dish.

Our Fourth Course came out and we found that this time it was not the dish Bill had ordered, quite taken aback Bill kindly told the waiter that he had ordered the Berkshire pig jowl. The waiter apologised and headed back to the kitchen and promptly informed us that the chef would be making the pig jowl now and there would be a 6 minute delay, which didn’t bother us at all. My Poached Wagyu Beef was tender, the morel gave it a deep flavour and a hint of sweetness from the black pudding made this a delicious dish. However the dish of the night was hands down the Berkshire pig jowl which filled the air with the sweet aroma of caramel. We’re told jowl is the lower part of the cheek, a delicacy which was incredibly tender and melted in our mouths, the prune balanced the sweetness and the maltose crackling was different and not what we’re used to but we loved it. The portion looks quite small but it definitely fills you up. We were also served a mixed green salad with sauvignon dressing which helped balance the heaviness of our meals. 

Now for the piece de resistance – dessert! Bill chose Quay’s eight textured chocolate cake which only had seven textures when placed in front of us, with a waitress bringing out the eighth texture – a chocolate sauce in a copper pot and ladled upon the cake creating a sexy dent. Bill isn’t really a chocolate person but he devoured it. The chocolate cake was rich, bitter and sweet all in one and was sinfully good. I chose the Guava and custard apple snow egg which was absolutely divine, from the crack of the shell revealing a soft, airy meringue and a gooey custard to the very last spoon of guava granita. It was so fruity and refreshing, I could have had another one and was a delightful way to finish the night.

Unfortunately our dining experience was dampened by what I felt was a slack waitress. She was quite lovely at first, but we were concerned as she took our orders:
For my Second Course I had ordered the Gently poached southern squid & rock lobster to which she replied "yes, the abalone is a good choice" which left both Bill and I confused and I just assumed she knew better and that the squid and rock lobster dish also contained abalone. However what was placed in front of me was a completely different dish, believing it was partly my fault for not confirming with her I happily had the abalone dish which indeed was lovely.

For our Fourth Course I had ordered the Poached Wagyu Beef and Bill ordered the Berkshire Pig Jowl to which she replied "ohh great the pig jowl as well for you" which had Bill and I looking at each other as we had ordered different dishes. I shook it off thinking she had a brain fart when what you say is not what she wanted to say. However, when the time came disappointingly we were both served the Wagyu Beef which was quickly rectified by the friendly waiter. Unfortunately the original waitress who had taken our order brought the correct dishes back with a side of nasty attitude as she said "Sorry about that. I do this for a living you’d think I wouldn’t make these mistakes but anyhoo" which I perceived as passive aggressive and yes she really did say "anyhoo". If you know Bill, he is not one to get angry at little things but this really infuriated him as he did say he wanted the pig jowl, and the waitress also did not look at us as she "apologised" nor did she look at us for the rest of the evening, which we found very insincere, rude and disappointing service.
On the other hand the waiter who had brought out two Wagyu beefs came back at the end of our meal to apologise for the mix up and was very sincere and friendly about the situation and we felt that it was a very lovely gesture on his part.

Admittedly we were quite daft as we felt pangs of concern as she was taking our order, yet we didn’t press her to read and confirm the order out to us. However, I don’t feel as if it was fault on our part and in no way did Bill deserve her nasty remarks. Sadly this dampened our spirits and poor Bill felt uneasy for the rest of the night.
 
Nevertheless dining at Quay was a culinary experience, we were left amazed at how beautiful each dish was presented and I especially loved the sexy curves of the ceramics. I don’t believe my photos captured the delicateness, uniqueness and complexity of each dish placed before us and how amazed we were. It was also an enjoyable evening learning more about foods such as the divine jowl, the edible palm hearts and the freshly sprouted grains making ezekiel bread. Though our evening was somewhat ruined by the actions of one waitress, we will definitely be heading back there for another exquisite meal.

Quay
  

  
Amuse Bouche Smoked eel jelly, white carrot cream and caraway crumbs

  
Mud crab congee, fresh palm heart,
Hand shelled mud crab, Chinese inspired split rice porridge

  
Sea Pearls
Crab and tapioca, smoked eel octopus, sea scallop and sashimi tuna with aquaculture caviar 
 
  
Gentle braise of black lipped abalone
pearl oyster, rare breed pig, shiitake, ginger scented milk curd, earth and sea consommé 

  
Butter poached coturnix quail breast
pumpernickel & ethical foie gras pudding, walnuts, quinoa, truffle, chestnuts, milk skin

  
Poached Wagyu beef
 oxtail, morel, black pudding, farro, buckwheat, hazelnut, ezekiel

  
Berkshire pig jowl
maltose crackling, prunes, cauliflower cream, perfumed with prune kernel oil

  
Quay’s eight texture chocolate cake

  
Guava and custard apple snow egg

  
Latte in a cute cup

  
Petit Fours Milk chocolate praline and dark chocolate puff
 

Quay on Urbanspoon

Loosening our belts at Löwenbräu Keller

 Happy New Year! (the very last day I can get away with saying that…unless you celebrate Chinese New Year)

So Bill caught up with some old friends in the new year and I tagged along because they were going to Löwenbräu Keller (18 Argyle Street, The Rocks) where I ended up ringing in the New year with cow bells. 

It was a Wednesday night but the Bavarian decorated Lowenbrau bier hall was filled with people and had a very lively atmosphere, which reminded me of How to Train a Dragon. I started the night off with a Limonata bier which was perfectly sour and a piece of freshly baked dense pretzel served by a waiter dressed in a dirndl. Then a waitress clad in lederhosen served our crazy humongous Schlachplatte arrived and between three people (2 guys and a girl) we barely finished half of the selection of Bavarian Specialties of sausages, chicken schnitzel, meat loaf, roasted pork belly AND a roasted pork knuckle, as well as mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, red cabbage, bread dumpling covered in bier gravy…needless to say the guys’ belts needed some loosening. We also had the Kassler Kotelett where on top of mashed potato was a huge piece of perfectly grilled pink, thick pork loin which was kind of like eating a huge slab of ham… I wasn’t expecting the piece of pork loin to be so large as well. But the highlight of my night was the entertainment, three old men danced a traditional dance, blew a super long horn and hosted bier drinking competitions. I also got to ring the tiniest cow bell (of course I got the smallest cow bell) to Edelweiss, unfortunately for my poor friend who had to blow the trombone…she was so embarrassed. 

We laughed a lot and ate way too much that we needed to take a walk before having Gelatissimo for dessert. I’d definitely love to bring visitors here for a fun night out.
That’s all, I’m sleepy.

  
Löwenbräu Keller

  
Pretzel
Home Baked Pretzel – Oven Fresh Bavarian Specialty

  
Knoblauchbrot
Basket of Freshly Baked Garlic Ciabatta

  
Lemon Weizen
with Limonata

  
Kassler Kotelett
Lean, Hot Smoked Pork Loin, Lightly Grilled with Mashed Potatoes and Sauerkraut

  
Schweinshaxn
Oven-Roasted Pork Knuckle Served with Sauerkraut, Löwenbräu Bier Sauce and Mashed Potatoes

  
That’s me and my friend to my right … who is about to be handed the trombone

  
Stein Bier drinking competition.

  
The Entertainment

 

Lowenbrau Keller on Urbanspoon

23 at Longrain Restaurant and Bar

Jase has been trying to organise for us to go to Longrain for a good part of the year now, but we always opted for elsewhere due to their no dinner bookings policy and it was a hassle to organise everyone to get there from work. However, we’ve finally made it here nice and early for my 23rd birthday – I even scored parking right outside – lucky me! And though it was a Sunday the dining room filled up very quickly and within 30minutes of being seated, the place was full.

Longrain (85 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills) converted from an old industrial warehouse into a super chic cocktail bar complete with a dj and a huge dining room with communal dining tables. I must admit I’m not a fan of communal dining because its really hard to hold a private conversation without having your personal space invaded and if you unfortunately spill something it doesnt spill onto the floor but onto the stranger next to you 😦 Anyhoo onto our foods… Longrain famous for their cocktails, I of course started the night off with a ‘stick drink’ Ping Pong – muddled passionfruit and lychees, vodka, lychee liquer and ice – so refreshing and has been a favourite of mine since Taste of Sydney 2009. We started off with Freshly shucked oysters with red chilli lime juice and deep fried eschalots, followed by the Betel leaf topped with prawn roasted coconut. mint and chilli which I just popped into my mouth had a nice balance of flavours. No visit to Longrain is complete without ordering the signature Eggnet which featured on MasterChef Australia. – the lacy and fancy eggnet delicately sat atop a generous bowl of beansprouts and prawns but it didnt look like the table next to ours where their eggnet encased all the ingredients. We had eggnet envy but it was still delicious. Other delicious meals we ordered were the Green curry of burrawong chicken which was amazing and aromatic, twice cooked crisp duck salad, stir fried pumpkin dish. Another favourite of mine was the Caramelised pork hock which though it was a little dry I loved how it was so sticky it stuck to my teeth. Though the parking meter timer was ticking we still had room for dessert which was my favourite dish of the night – tapioca, chocolate mousse and red bean ice cream.

 
Longrain
Ping Pong

 
Betel leaf topped with smoked trout chilli garlic galangal & trout roe

 
Betel leaf topped with prawn roasted coconut, mint & chilli

 
Eggnet with pork, prawn, peanuts, bean sprouts & deep fried eschallots

 
Green curry of burrawong chicken with baby corn & pea eggplants

 
Twice cooked duck salad ?

 
Caramelised pork hock with five spice & chilli vinegar

 
Stir fried pumpkin and veges

 
Tapioca and chocolate mousse

 

Thank you for coming out and celebrating with me and for the precious necklace and the amazing planetary mixer!!

 
Meet Cupcake.
My awesome friends know me too well.


Thank you to everyone who was kind enough to send me birthday wishes! 

Longrain Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

Strawberry Santa’s and I at an Xmas Picnic

It was a super sunny Saturday as the weather cooperated with us and I, armed with a tray of strawberry Santa’s headed down to Centennial Park for the 2nd Annual Sydney Food Bloggers Christmas Picnic. Having recently attended the Sydney Food Blogger Mad Hatter Spring Picnic, I was more relaxed and excited having previously met tonnes of great people, but with such a huge turnout, I unfortunately didn’t get around to saying hi to every one of you.

I brought along huge strawberries on steroids which I had dressed up as little Santa’s – I was afraid no one was going to know they were actually Santa’s as my sister had no idea what they were… but everyone knew straight away hoooray! It only took 10mins to make these – just whipped the cream (I added some peach liquor to the cream too 😉 ) and painstakingly placed black sesame seeds as eyes with tweezers.

There was an abundance of food, some with a Christmas theme and some with Christmas colours and others were just plain tasty (my favourite was the greek beef meatballs)! They also held Sydney Food Bloggers Olympics and Kris Kringle.

I had an awesome day filling my belly, met a lot of friendly new people and came home with Boiley a microwavable egg boiler – thanks KK!
A big thank you to Helen from Grab Your Fork and Suze from ChocolateSuze who had co hosted and organized the shindig.

 
My army of Strawberry Santa’s

 
Christmas Tree Meringues by Jacq from Penguin says Feed Me

 
Chocolate Hazelnut Christmas Tree by Lisa Perkovic

 
Christmas Tree Marshmallows by Steph from Raspberri Cupcakes

 
These kind of look like holly right?? Made by Helen from Grab Your Fork

 
Pancakes with Chicken and Kimchi

 
Keftedes by Demos and sign by Gianna from The Empty Fridge

 
White Chocolate Wontons w/ pinenut and rosemary praline from He Needs Food

 
Macaron Christmas Tree by Cleony from I Eat Sweet

Sydney Food Bloggers Olympics

 
Chopstick Challenge transferring 50 soy beans from one bowl to the other

 
Taste Test challenge

 
Kris Kringle


photo credit Simon from The Heart of Food

Merry Christmas everyone!!
Naw don’t we have such a nice food blogging community here in Sydney 🙂

Ocean Room and our Anniversary

Oops lack of updates here because frankly life has been getting in the way and getting me down. On a more happier note Bill and I celebrated our 8years(we thought it was 9 but we just miscalculated) together with dinner at the Ocean Room (Overseas Passenger Terminal Circular Quay). Though we had booked a few weeks earlier the restaurant was full with many functions going on, so we were seated towards the door so each time it opened, we were faced with a huge gust of wind… very unromantic. Anyhoo I kicked off dinner with a Peach Smash and perused the menu. The menu at Ocean Room consisted of a section of "chotto" Japanese tapas dishes which are bite size and single portions, which we were keen to try. So in order to try a a few of the chotto dishes and signature dishes, we opted for Raita’s Tasting Menu 11 courses for $90 per person.

We started the tasting menu with the freshly shucked Pacific Oysters with fresh chilli & lemon vinaigrette from Coffin Bay and Rock Oysters with shiso basil sorbet and konbu from Port Stephens. I love anything with shiso herb so naturally they were a hit with me. Following the oysters we were presented with the Japanese tapas chotto dishes. The Tuna Cornet marinated blue fin tuna tartare wrapped in nori rice cracker cornet was lip smacking delicious thought I didn’t taste much of the nori (seaweed). The very strange combination of marinated anchovy with smoked tomato sorbet  was next, which suprised me as I’m not a fan of anchovies, but I loved the cooling sensation from the tomato sorbet – very cool. The Soft Shell Crab Taco with crispy spiced soft shell crab, pickled vegetables in a cripsy taco shell was messy to eat but well worth getting your fingers dirty – probably would order two each next time XP. The crispy king prawn with wasabi aioli, petit wasabi croquette was also one of my favourites, the wasabi wasn’t overpowering but still had a nice zing to it, the prawn was plump and crisp – I even ate the tail.

Onto the Starters we were presented with a red plate but the food was unrecognisable (also because the restaurant is really quite dark). It turned out to be the flame seared bar cod, sake and plum jelly wrapped in sheer konbu. Though it probably isn’t everyone’s cup of tea because of its weird texture, I thought it was really creative and I especially loved the ume jelly and konbu. Our next starter was THE Ocean Room Signature – Tuna Creation prepared in five styles with five condiments. Starting from left to right so you can appreciate the subtler tastes before the stronger flavours there were cubes of tuna each cooked differently with accompanying salt to match. This course was definitely my favourite course, I thought it was creative and I loved the concept though the sake jelly bar cod comes in a close second because of its depth.
The tuna done five ways were:
Oil blanched Fresh ginger & corriander with Chilli Salt
Fresh raw Wasabi & lemon zest with Soy salt (light)
Seared Five peppercorns & salmon roe with Soy salt (3yrs aged)
Fresh raw Jalopeno & yuzu zest with Black salt
Marinated Fried garlic & fresh chilli with Truffle Salt
My favourite by far was the Fresh raw Jalopeno & yuzu zest, which had a nice kick to it while the Truffle salt was way too salty for me and I preferred the tuna without it.

For mains we had one plate of ocean produce followed by our main land produce. For our ocean produce we had grilled, sweet miso marinated cod fillet where the cod was firm and sweet, I also loved loved loved the ginger scented risotto bed. We also had a Prawn Sizzle not on the a la carte menu which was a pan seared green king prawn with coriander citrus sauce, the prawn was so plump and juicy I wanted another one. For our main land produce the grain fed rib eye steak with sansho peppercorn jus came in a rather large portion and was cooked perfectly medium rare.

By now we were terribly full and thought desserts were next but before that we had a sushi collection to get through. It was a chefs daily recommendation but sadly it was the dissapointment of the night. the sashimi was nothing special and I felt like we got the left over cuts since all three nigiri had sinews. Also although traditional sushi nigiri is thin compared to western standards, the size of each nigiri was so thin, the size of my index finger!!

To finish off the night, the Ocean Room Assiette – they should propbably double these portions or at least give you two of eachdessert. The amazing creme brulee was very vanilla and delicious but sadly gone in one bite. the pink lady almond gateau was spongy and nice and the two chocolate ganache were moist ad rich. Our favourite was the apple sorbet which we literally fought over – definitely give us two scoops of this please!

 
Peach Smash

 
Oyster Duo

 
Tuna Cornet
Anchovy & Sorbet – Ocean Room Signature

 
Wasabi Prawn
Soft Shell Crab Taco – Ocean Room Signature


 
Sake Jelly Bar Cod – Ocean Room Signature

 
Tuna Creation – Ocean Room Signature

 
Saikyo Miso Cod – Ocean Room Signature
Prawn Sizzle

 
Sansho Pepper Beef Steak

 
Sushi Collection
can you see how thin it is?

 
 Ocean Room Assiette
Chocolate ganache, pink lady almond gateau, apple sorbet and creme brulee
 

 
 
The staff were polite and lovely, we’ll definitely be back to dine from the a la carte menu and try a few more of the chotto dishes and the Tuna Wing. I’d love to get one of those comfy booths too instead of in front of the door haha.

THANK YOU for a lovely evening, happy anniversary baby and thank you for the super awesome thoughtful present everrr… I LOVE IT

  
A brand spanking new travel lap top opened on Happy Anniversary wallpaper
  
… which changed every 5 mins from our time in Nelson Bay
  
to happy snaps from Hong Kong…
  
and a little bit of food porn.
  
and to top it off he made a unique skin so it’s not so boring!

and meet my new baby
  
 

 

Ocean Room on Urbanspoon

Popping my Cafe Ish cherry

As the title suggests, I was a Cafe Ish (Campbell St, Surry Hills) virgin until last weekend when I finally made my first visit there for brunch as part of Crave SIFF.

It was a cold and dreary day so it was nice to head inside the bustling cafe, seated (right under the kitchen window). After checking out the menu, we decided that one I would get the SIFF brunch offering and mum would opt for something else on the menu – a decision we were super glad about because mum chose a dish which only featured on the menu since the Friday before (the waitress informed us that they change their menu seasonally every 2mths or so). The Crave SIFF brunch offering I had included a Breakfast Trifle, Crab Omelette and Wattle Maccacino for $25.

 
Our Wattle Maccacino came out decorated with a fern almost too pretty to ruin and a little piece of shortbread. The waitress informed us to taste first, before adding sugar as it’s sweeter than usual and more like a mocha and she was right because I didn’t need any sugar. The coffee was velvety smooth and the nutty sweetness was brought out of a blend of wattles and macadamia, pure bliss on such a gloomy day. My Breakfast Trifle of lush yoghurt, native berry compote and toasted house made muesli was just as delicious and comforting. The yoghurt was creamy and balanced well with the irresistible berry compote and the muesli was chewy just the way I like it and full of flavour. There was also a flower like bud which I had never seen before, a Rosella fruit, in the mix of the Breakfast Trifle which I absolutely loved for it’s unexpected crunchy texture. But the absolute highlight of brunch was my soft shell Crab Omelette with avocados, shallots and a ginger dressing. It was a massive portion with ripe chunky pieces of avocado and crispy soft shell crab so.freakin.tasty. I also found the side of watercrest a really nice touch. Best of all it wasn’t drenched in oil and I especially loved the ginger and lime dressing it came drizzled under. Mum’s two pieces of thick brioche resting atop assorted berries was refreshing and made her feel very healthy with all the berries and passionfruit. Hidden underneath the brioche also laid a dollop of lemon myrtle ricotta which was very different for our japanese tastebuds, but was surprisignly really tasty when slathered on the brioche. There was also a Rosella fruit hidden amongst the berries – I love this, it reminds me of eating an apple, a really pretty one.

 
 
Cafe Ish Signature Coffee Wattle Maccacino

 
Toasted brioche with lemon myrtle ricotta, sake scented Rosella, raspberries and passionfruit

 
Breakfast trifle of “lush yoghurt”, native berry compote, toasted house made muesli

 
Kara-age soft shell crab omelette with garlic, chilli, soy, ginger dressing, avocado, shallots and lime
 


Brunch at Cafe Ish was definately a great way to start the day, but I really do have to rave about the service, (especially after our not so great service experienced at other restaurants). The waitresses were all very friendly and focused; glasses of water were promptly brought out and when we were keen to peruse the dinner menu, the waitresses kindly brought them out for us and were very helpful in explaining different dishes on the menu. Oh and they even gave me a business card with their new address, new number and opening hrs, which I’ll probably need because I spotted FRIED MOCHI AND UME on the dinner menu oh my god, my favourite things! One more thing – remember your manners and make sure to ask the very friendly staff before you take pictures!

Cafe Ish on Urbanspoon

High Tea at The Westin Sydney

It was raining cats and dogs outside, but myself and 8 other girls were a world away, lounging in the relaxed atmosphere of The Westin Sydney (No 1. Martin Place) enjoying the Marie Antoinette high tea. We all opted for the offering of high tea, unlimited tea or coffee and a glass of sparkling rose for $45 (weekend price) part of Crave SIFF, which was a bargain considering the sparkling rose option is usually $51. The sparkling rose we were given was Brown Brothers Zibibbo Rosa – a really pretty pink colour with a fruity aroma and we were given a selection of JING teas to choose from – I chose the Lychee black tea which unfortunately didn’t have much lychee or fruity taste for that matter and also a pot of Dragon Well which was a refreshing green tea.

After getting settled in and waiting for the late-comers, 3 two-tiered high teas were delivered to us, one plate of savoury and a plate of sweets. Usually I start off with the scones at high tea but since there were none here, I went for the savoury, which I might add had no salmon and dill sandwiches yay!. I grabbed the blt and deviled egg finger sandwich because it was heart-shaped and oh-so-cute. I couldn’t discern whether it was some sort of choux or a piece of toast? but it was very tasty though I don’t think mine had any bacon in it 😦 The avocado and shrimp tartar [not pictured] was my least favourite of the foods that day because the choux puff was immensely dry and was hard to eat by itself after I had already eaten the filling. My favourite "savoury" item would be the kiwi and orange croissant with mascarpone which seemed like a strange combination at first but was really refreshing and had well balanced flavours after eating it.  The slow cooked roast beef with creme cheese stuffed baby belle peppers was also very good, the roast beef was tender and I especially loved the tangy belle pepper encased in the middle.

 
We had finished the savoury plate but where was my scones…? It wouldn’t be a high tea without scones. We were well into eating the desserts when a plate of freshly baked, still warm scones with double cream and strawberry jam came covered in a napkin. Eagerly we unwrapped the plate and found petite scones as opposed to the rather dense and large scones that I’ve become accustomed to seeing. None the less I slather each scone with jam and double cream – delicious little morsels but was rather like a buttermilk cake texture. There were also scones with sultanas but I honestly cant remember if I ate it or not…so no comment.

After a break, we continued on and tackled the sweet plate. The chocolate cream with exotic fruit caramel and candied walnuts [not pictured] was my first pick, the exotic fruit caramel tasted like passionfruit and I don’t think mine had any walnuts in it either. It was really creamy and a little too sweet for my liking. The surprise came from beetroot and cherry cupcake which though did not have the dominating flavours of beetroot or cherry it was a pretty red hue and sweet to eat. The impressive Marie Antoinette fondant sitting atop the lime curd meringue tart was too pretty for me to eat, but I loved the tangy lime curd and the thick buttery tart – this was a huge serving. And of course, a Marie Antoinette themed high tea would not be complete without a macaron, I believe most of us saved this till last – the piece de resistance macaron with fresh blueberries. It was an alarming vibrant blue and extravagant with fresh blueberries offsetting a very thick chocolate ganache center.

Though the service was slow at times, our waitress was lovely, very accommodating and advised us kindly on what each type of tea was and never rushed us. We stayed well into the evening (until 6:30) lazing away the saturday afternoon over sweets, tea and a healthy dash of gossip all whilst growing our food babies.

 
Marie Antoinette’s High Tea The Westin Sydney

  

"there is nothing new except what has been forgotten"
 
 
blt and deviled egg finger sandwich

 
slow cooked roast beef with creme cheese stuffed baby belle peppers

 
kiwi and orange croissant with mascarpone

   
JING tea

 
scones with double cream and strawberry jam

"let them eat cake!"

 
beetroot and cherry cupcake

 
lime curd meringue tart


the piece de resistance
macaron with fresh blueberries

The Lobby Bar & Lounge on Urbanspoon

Baroque Bar Bistro Patisserie

The long weekend passed we headed up to Port Stephens to celebrate Angie’s birthday, but before that we also celebrated her birth date dinner at Baroque Bistro Bar Patisserie (88 George St, The Rocks). The restaurant is located inside a heritage building along Hickson road so you get a great view of the Harbour Bridge. The space is amazing with high ceilings, an open kitchen with an industrial feel with its concrete floors and visible piping but also somewhat rustic where bouquets of flowers were placed.

Lucky in securing a last minute booking, 4 of us were on time and seated, perusing the menu while waiting for the birthday girl. While waiting for the rest of the party we did endure some dirty looks from the waiter…and ordered shortly after the arrival of the rest of the party. We ordered entrees to share between couples and 5 mains since the birthday girl was not hungry from scoffing down a bag of chips prior. Having noticed this, the waiter abruptly and rather rudely told us there were only 5 mains when we were a party of 6 and continued to roll his eyes when we told him one main would be shared between two. He then took our menus, plonked them at reception and brought us a complimentary bowl of baguette slices with olive oil for dipping – in which there were only 5 slices of baguette which was kind of like a rude slap in the face for me when clearly there was 6 of us. However, as soon as the bowl was empty an attentive waitress refilled it with 7 pieces of bread this time. If it was a genuine mistake fine, but is rather unprofessional if it wasn’t – this really irked the bf.

My entree which I shared with the boy, Ballotine of spatchcok and puy lentilswas lovely with the berry? sauce and I especially loved the lentils, while the others had an entree of Ocean Trout where the plating was so so pretty. It was hard for me to decide my main as I wanted to try the more traditional Plats du Jour of Truite grenobloise but opted for the scallops and foie gras main. Glad about my decision because the foie gras was the best I’ve yet had and the scallops were huge and juicy. Bill of course chose the bavette steak which was cooked a little less than medium rare but came atop a mountain of fries.We also ordered sides of Creamy Paris Mash $9 [not pictured] which was deliciously smooth and Green Beans garlic butter $9 [not pictured] which were vibrant and crisp. I was most looking forward to the desserts because I LOVE La Rennaissance patisserie and desserts definitely did not disappoint. Helen had Vanilla crème brulée, pistachio ice cream $16 [not pictured], I remember the pistachio ice cream was delicious and I had the blood orange souffle which was light and fluffy as a cloud, a divine chocolate sorbet and I especially loved the rich blood orange chocolate cigar.
Though the display cakes and macarons look amazing, honestly I have no desire to dine here again – I can always get beautiful cakes and pastries at La Renaissance anyway right? or am I right? It’s a shame the brunch menu is so tempting and the location is really rather nice, but the fact that the service is terrible really puts me off. I don’t think I’ve had service this bad in a very very long time it wasn’t welcoming, he was arrogant, unfriendly and unprofessional. Basically he did not smile the whole night and did not want to serve us – actually he did smile once and chuckled when we only ordered two desserts since everyone else was full but we just thought he was being nicer as it was coming close to bill time aka tip time. The service was dismal and you wouldn’t expect it anywhere and it really ruined the night for me, though the food did not disappoint and desserts were definitely worth the wait.

 


Baroque Bistro Bar Patisserie


oOoo pretty


Entree of Ocean Trout
[fail I don’t have the name of this dish and didn’t take a photo of my entree Ballottine of spatchcock, puy lentils, burnt onion cassonade ]


Confit shoulder of Bangalow sweet pork, harissa, green peas à la française $29


Confit duck leg, grilled leeks, cucumber, bigarade sauce $29


Scallops, foie gras cream, paris mushrooms, Jerusalem artichoke,
ecshallot gastrique, crisp bread $32


Steak, eschallot jus, frites $29


Blood orange soufflé, Valrhona chocolate sorbet $16


AWESOMENESS

Baroque | Bistro Bar Patisserie on Urbanspoon

Sugar Hit x 2

October is always so much fun when the Sydney International Food Festival rolls into town because you’re so spoilt for choice when it comes to food. Unfortunately because I don’t work in the city I can’t really enjoy Let’s Do Lunch so I take full advantage of Sugar Hits on offer.

The first Sugar Hit I went to was just after the long weekend passed, having gone away for the weekend I though it would be nice to catch up with mum over an indulgent sugar hit. I decided to book Azuma Kushiyaki Bar & Grill (501 George St Regent Place)  rembering last year of its popularity, so much that they were booked out of Sugar Hit for the whole month of October, extending it into November. Azuma were once again offering an East meets West dessert plate, which I was really looking forward to as last year they served mochi – one of my favourite Japanese foods.

The East meets West dessert tasting plate was again served in the small bento boxes with a choice of Brown Brothers Orange Musct and Flora wine, Hennessy XO or Japanese green tea. Being the responsible desginated driver I opted for the green tea which was lovely and very refreshing after so many sweets, while mum chose the dessert wine. The box I tackled first included a Vanilla Panna Cotta with Strawberry Coulis and a Belgian Chocolate Mousse Cake with Raspberry Coulis centre and freeze dried Raspberry Flakes. The panna cotta was disappointing for me as it didn’t have that jelly wobbly texture but was more a creamy, thick yoghurt texture. Poor mum, she loves panna cotta so saved it till last but was sorely disappointed too. On the other hand the chocolate mousse cake was fluffy with the raspberries balancing out the sweetness of the Belgian chocolate. After polishing those off easily I moved onto the other box starting with the Petit Almond Financier. The second box also contained a Green Tea Ganache Tart, Wasabi Ganache Tart and a macaron. The Green Tea Ganache and Wasabi Ganache tart were both encased in a beautiful buttery tart. The Green Tea Ganache Tart was full of green tea flavour which is sometimes lacking in green tea flavoured desserts. My favourite dessert of the night was the Wasabi Ganache Tart which the waitress warned us would be a ‘little bit spicy’, but I didn’t believe her until I was hit by this intense zing of wasabi followed by a mellowing rich chocolate ganache – it was delicious!!! I wish they would add this to their Azuma Patisserie Cafe menu. The last dessert was the super-Japanese-squeal-inducing macaron with a cute face. The macaron flavours changed depending on the day, I had a lemon macaron while mum had an orange macaron.I really enjoyed the Sugar Hit from Azuma and I would probably go back again just for the Wasabi Ganache Tart – it was that good.

 
Vanilla Panna Cotta with Strawberry Coulis, Belgian Chocolate Mousse Cake with Raspberry Coulis centre and freeze dried Raspberry Flakes and mum’s Orange Macaron


Green Tea Ganache Tart, Lemon Macaron, Wasabi Ganache Tart and Petit Almond Financier

 
The following night, looking for a place to try and also scoping out potential restaurants for our upcoming anniversary dinner, Bill and I ended up at the Ocean Room (Overseas Passenger Terminal, Circular Quay) for my second Sugar Hit. As soon as I walked into the restaurant I was in awe of the huge space, high high ceilings, pretty view and the huge chandelier above the bar. Not in the mood for wine, I asked if the wine could be substituted for a coffee but was turned down, so I ordered a latte (I was a bit miffed about being charged $4.50 for a latte, but it was really good coffee!) and Bill had the Brown Brothers Orange Muscat & Flora. Their Sugar Hit was a Black Sesame Blancmange with Umeshu-marinated Forest Berries served on an interesting slanted plate. The blancmange was firm yet silky and had a sweet subtle black sesame flavour and was sitting in a pool of cream. It also came with a crumbly pastry sort of like a sable? The service was so-so (wham, bam thank you maam) as the waiter failed to tell us what our Sugar Hit consisted of, leading us to an intense guessing game and a quick check of the iPhone.

 
Black Sesame Blancmange with Umeshu-marinated Forest Berries
 
I guess I much preferred having a selection of desserts from Azuma or a dessert plate with different components rather than the un-described Sugar Hit from Ocean Room. I find it disappointing to see some restaurants this year offering Sugar Hit where you choose one of their desserts from their menu, I guess because I want to try a new creation or tasting plate it defeats the purpose for me, if I can have it anytime. I want to try a Sugar Hit from a hotel next! 🙂  

Azuma Kushiyaki on Urbanspoon

Sydney Food Blogger Mad Hatter Spring Picnic

So I can be terribly shy, but I worked up the courage and spent 5hours of my Saturday mingling and meeting great new people and making new friends, as well as taking loads of food photos and devouring various goodies, joining 40 or so food bloggers at a "Mad Hatter" themed Sydney Spring Picnic. It was held at Centennial Park on a gloomy looking Saturday, which may have been a blessing in disguise – if it was stinking hot my fresh cream would have melted…

It was a potluck picnic, so I had spent the night before making macarons for the 2nd time – this time I made raspberry, lemon and white chocolate macarons. The first batch I made failed and were overcooked and too crunchy… so I gave them to Helen and she loved them crunchy yay for no wastage. The batches after this were perfect but still lacking the pinkish colour I wanted, perhaps more food colouring next time. To make up for the lacklustre colour I decorated them each with a small edible rose petal. Macarons weren’t enough so I also made a chiffon cake using a blend of Earl Grey and Exotic Fruit tea (both from Taylors of Harrogate) and topped it off with fresh cream and a sprinkling of rose petals.

 
I had a freakin fantastic time on Saturday, all thanks to all the very friendly food bloggers. A big thank you to Karen from Citrus and Candy and Billy from A Table For Two (you can watch an awesome video of the hats at A Table For Two)
Also, my name tag kept falling off, so if you were there and I didn’t get around to saying hi – my name is Ayana and I was wearing Minnie Mouse ears 😀 It was nice to meet you all.

Of course being a food bloggers picnic, you’d expect the picnic spread to be amazzzing – and it was!! Everything was delicious!! Take a look for yourself as you drool over the next few photos…

 
My dish – Earl Grey tea Chiffon Cake and Lemon, White Chocolate Macarons

Sydney Food Bloggers Spring Picnic

 
AWESOME Chocolate and Salted Caramel cake by Anna from A Diary of a Ladybird

 
Mini Burgers and Shortbread Tartlets by Fat Belly Club

 
Mad Hatter cupcakes from YaYa’s Yum Yums

 
Kuih by Rosalind from Rasa Rosa

 
Cake Pops from Sugarlace

 
Broccoli Muffins from Eat Show Tell
How freakin cute is the lunch box!!!!

 
Thai Fish Cakes by Anita from No Red Meat
(Kitchen-Aid worthy!!!!!)-recipe at her blog

 
Pinataaaa
 

Thank you Bill for encouraging me to go because I had a blast 🙂

Chefs Gallery

So about a month ago after a coffee session at Tom n Tom, I noticed that the Malaysian? restaurant next door had disappeared and was replaced by a Din Tai Fung looking restaurant complete with kitchen gallery housing chefs expertly making handmade noodles – hence the name Chefs Gallery (Bathurst Street, Regent Place).

Not wanting to wait in a massive queue like at DIn Tai Fung, Bill had booked us a table at 630 (Note: they don’t take bookings after 6:30, so  you’ll have to have an early dinner or join the queue which starts to form at 7ish) . We were also joined by Jase and Helen, who was in dire need of Chinese food after her European tour and so it was here at Chefs Gallery where we caught up with Helen about the happenings over the past month.

The atmosphere at Chefs Gallery feels very much like Din Tai Fung with waiters constantly talking to their headsets and very attentive staff who placed a protector over his Jase’s jacket once he had hung it on the back of his chair. A difference could be that the restaurant is decorated with small Chinese artifact displays rather than steam baskets XP. Whilst browsing the menu you can’t help but watch the chefs repeatedly folding and stretching strands of noodles so of course we had to order some la mian (handmade noodles) and most of the other dishes we chose were the Signature dishes. Of course we also had to order some dumplings, however, although we were dining at 6:30 they had already run out of pork dumplings so we instead ordered pan fried pork buns which they advised would be a 20min wait.

We started off with an appetizer Pork Belly roll. I don’t usually like blanched fatty meats but this was delcious filled with crunchy vegetables, I especially loved the dressing. 
Though we were off to a good start, the next few signature dishes were disappointing – our Prawn Dumplings which were ordinary and Chefs own golden Snowflake Chicken (I think the name was too fancy here where we were just expecting something spectacular) , but the noodles were served in a pumpkin soup which was very strange to eat but nice nonetheless. We also ordered a dry noodle Zha Jiang Noodle.
Feeling quite disappointed, the Chefs Gallery redeemed itself with the last few dishes. Another signature dish Chefs own handmade egg tofu was absolutely divine!! The egg tofu was silky yet firm and the preserved vegetables it was served with made it very appetizing. And the 20mins extra we waited for the Pork Buns were well worth it – they came out very lightly panfried, perfectly smooth and round and amazingly non greasy like the ones you usually get!!!
They have a pretty extensive dessert menu divided by hot or cold desserts, so we finished the night off with dessert Piggy Buns – I just had to have these since I missed out when I was in Hong Kong. They were way too cute to eat!! filled with smooth black sesame paste. Will definitely be back for the Pork Buns and also to try the other desserts like the Pumpkin filled with lotus paste :9.

 
Chefs Gallery

 

 
Signature dish – Pork Belly roll
Thinly sliced blanched pork belly rolled with carrot, cucumber, topped with a garlic and oil free vinaigrette dressing

 
Signature dish – Xia Jiao
Prawn dumplings steamed in a fine clear pastry

 
Signature dish – Chefs own golden snowflake chicken
Lightly crumbed chicken fillet, very crispy, tender and moist served with noodles in a pumpkin soup
unfortunately an underwhelming dish 😦 

 
Zha Jiang Noodle
handmade noodles with finely minced pork, dried bean curd and soya bean sauce

 
Signature dish – Chefs own handmade egg tofu lightly pan fried, topped with preserved vegetables

 
Signature dish – Jian Bao Zi
Lightly pan fried pork buns
DELICIOUS AND CLEAN I don’t think I can go back to eating the overly greasy jian bao zi anymore

 
Signature Dish – Steamed sesame ‘piggy face’ bun
omgg so cuteee and fluffy!!!

Chefs Gallery on Urbanspoon

Menya Mappen Japanese Noodle Bar

oops I forgot to mention Bill took all the photos 🙂 he’s getting better huh??

The I’s Group have brought a little bit more of Japan to Sydney, with the opening of Mappen (Skyview Shopping Plaza). The concept is self service and simply to enjoy a quick, cheap and tasty meal with the potential to cost less than a coffee.

Before you enter Mappen, make sure to grab a menu by the door for instructions:

Join the queue.
Get a drink.
Grab a try and order your noodles or rice (they also have curry and a few donburi options)
Add toppings to your noodles (tempura flakes or shallots) and get yourself a soup spoon.
Help yourself to all sorts of tempura at the tempura bar.
Hungry? There’s onigiri (rice balls) here too!!! and Salad, Sansai veg, and daikonoroshi for tempura
Pour yourself some miso soup if you please.
Don’t forget to pour yourself ten tsuyu (tempura sauce) if you have tempura.
Pay at the cashier
Enjoy your meal
After you’ve finished – return your tray 🙂

A bit like Ikea yeh??

With limited seating, their system failed a few times as people came in and found themselves a seat before ordering – this meant people who had ordered and collected their food were left waiting for a seat holding a tray of food, prompting Mappen staff to come out and ask people to give up their seats. If the restaurant is full, don’t worry about finding a seat as the turn over is pretty fast!!! – so please don’t save yourself a table before you order… oh and I think it’s much easier to find seats for one or two people here rather than a big group (you might have to separate).

 
Menya Mappen Japanese Noodle Bar

 
$3.90? $4.90? Cheaper than a Tall Caramel Macchiato

 
Watch them make your noodles and fry up tempura fresh

 
Shallots, Tempura flakes and Soup spoons

 
See how the tempura bar is quite empty??
This means that they cook the tempura fresh!!

 
They also have salmon tempura, chikuwa tempura as well as the usual prawn tempura and vege tempura!

 
Kake Ramen $3.90

 
Shrimp and Vege Kakiage $3.90, Soft Boiled Egg Tempura $1.90 and Sweet Potato Tempura $0.50

 
Ontama Udon $4.90

 

Bill was eager to have ramen but unfortunately they didn’t have Miso Ramen or Shoyu Ramen available so he opted for Kake Ramen (ramen in kakedashi soup usually for udon).

Total Costs??
His Kake Ramen and all the tempura cost $10.20, while mine Ontama Udon and Sansai cost $5.90 = happy wallets. :)))

Menya Mappen on Urbanspoon

Sushi Samurai

One night Bill and I decided to eat at Sushi Samurai (1/16-30 Bunn St, Pyrmont) since we always pass the place. We were lucky we went pretty early without a booking because during our meal we realised it was packed and there were a few groups of 5 or more. It’s seems to be VERY popular, the restaurant comfortably fits 20 or so people and has a few tables outdoors but we noticed some groups waiting outside (not sure if they were waiting for their takeaway orders).

Honestly, I can be a Japanese restaurant snob, so it was reassuring and left me extremely happy to know the kitchen staff and floor staff were all Japanese. We received a small plate of Gobou to nibble on while we went through the menu. We tried to keep our dinner simple and everything was really quite good. Started off with a Sanma fish dish and ordered a sashimi set purely because it was called Samurai 7. The Samurai 7 was a set of 7 sake glasses with two pieces of sashimi each – perfect for us – and each piece was topped off with a special sauce to compliment the sashimi (reminded me of Yoshii’s sushi). We also had a sushi plate which had the RIGHT amount of wasabi so you got a bit of a kick… but a good zing. Dessert was abit of a let down though, we ordered a Green Tea Tiramisu but they use the term tiramisu lightly because it really was just a green tea sponge cake with mousse 😦  But anyhoo, we’ll still go back…I want to go back and try the Pork Belly Peking Duck Style too… sounds interesting and I spied another table eating it 🙂

I wasn’t overly satisfied with my dessert… it’s so important to have a good dessert because it’s probably the last thing you taste… so we finished the night off with some Azuma Patisserie goodies.

 
Gobou
 
Calpis Chuhai
Bill was totally red faced and flirty with the waitress after one of these… *shakes head*
 
Sanma
 
Samurai 7 $17.70
 
7 shot glasses of FRESH sashimi each paired with a special sauce
 
Sushi Main Deluxe $22.80
 
Green Tea Tiramisu .. meh
 
Mini Strawberry Tart
 
Mont Blanc
 
Green Tea Roll
It’s 10pm and I’m really really sleepy. I can barely keep my eyes open. GOODNIGHT!

Sushi Samurai on Urbanspoon

Al fresco dining Ripples Sydney Wharf

Why waste a day eating indoors when eat al fresco on the wharf overlooking the Harbour Bridge, watch boats pass by and check out exy apartments. On a glorious sunny day half of my family and I went out for lunch at  Ripples Sydney Wharf (56 Pirrama Road Pyrmont) while the other half of my family did their own thang… they missed out big time. Usually I prefer to be seated inside and eat stress-free avoiding the wind, rain, heat and passerby’s but Ripples is in the most beautiful space. (They also have awnings and shelter to keep you dry and warm when needed 🙂 )

I think this is my new favourite restaurant to eat outdoors for lunch, I’ve ALWAYS found the service perfect – they’re professional, lovely, spot-on and very attentive. What’s even better is their portions – they’re very generous with their servings which makes it even more affordable 🙂 You’ll see what I mean about portions below – my growing adolescent brother could not finish his Fish & Chips main and my entree would have been enough to fill me up if it wasn’t so tasty.

 
Ripples Sydney Wharf (56 Pirrama Road Pyrmont)

 
Onion & Cider Soup with Gruyere Toasts

 
Yamba Prawn Tart with Creamed Leek, Feta Cheese and Tomato Salsa
♥ so crispy and creamy with huge prawns omg LOVE

 
Seared Scallops with Pumpkin Tortellini, Boudin Noir & Goats Cheese Sauce
I love my carbs… this was my entree and I had the spaghettini for my main but they were both so good.
The scallops were JUMBO size and OH MY GAWWD the Pumpkin Tortellini was perfection to die for. I wanted more!!

 
Ripples Famous Fish Chips, Homemade Tartare Sauce, Lemon

 
Vongole and Crab Spaghettini
VERY NICE right amount of everything and I loved how it wasn’t so saucy – too bad they don’t currently have this on their menu

 
Char grilled Beef Tenderloins with Oxtail Ragout

Will definitely be back here to unwind and enjoy really really great food.

Ripples Sydney Wharf on Urbanspoon

A great day to TASTE

It really was a great day to Taste Sydney 🙂 The sun was shining (rather too brightly because my mum got sunburnt), the wine and cocktails were flowing, we were armed with booklets of crowns and we were hungry. Really hungry…

Let’s dig in 🙂

 
Guillaume at Bennelong
Mini Sandiwch with Blue Swimmer Crab meat and coriander mayonnaise

 
Guillaume at Bennelong
Pistachio Macarons

 
Guillaume at Bennelong
Wagyu Beef Daube with Paris Mash

 
Oh my gawwwwwwd the most tenderest melt in your mouth awesomest wagyu beef
   
What’s cooking good lookin’
 
El Toro Loco
Paella a la Maestre

 
El Toro Loco
Grilled vanilla stone fruit with sangria

 
turn around babyy
 
Plan B
Organic Grass Fed Wagyu Beef Burger

 
Restaurant Balzac
Crispy Wagyu Beef with Mild Mushroom and Truffle Foam
How I wish I could have had this at my previous visit to Balzac, looks like a simple spring roll but it was so good!!
 
Flying Fish
Yellow fin tuna with sweet pork crackling and ruby grape fruit
we had this last year but Bill just HAD to have it again… but the portions are smaller :((
 
Danks Street Depot
Beef Ribs Smoked in Watermelon with a Watermelon and Avocado Salad

 
The Caveman
he specifically asked for the one with the bone
 
drink break
 
Longrain Restaurant
Tapioca pudding with poached jackfruit and lychee
very nice and tapioca ws cooked to perfection but the coconut juice was a tad too sweet for me
 
The Nipple
Jonah’s at Whale Beach
Vanilla panna cotta with lavender honey and fresh pomegranate

I cannot get enough of the lavender honey <33
 
Bird Cow Fish
Tiramisu roulade- chocolate sponge rolled around a Paesanella mascarpone and Marsala sabayon
I don’t understand half of that… but the caramel was the highlight… I wanted to lick the plate
 
Marque
Sauternes Custard with Caramel

Such a shame, this was the low light of my day… the custard hadn’t set and it was very liquidy :(((
and it wasn’t just mine either, a lady close by went to complain… I wonder if she got another one??
 
ARIA 
Strawberry jelly with Champagne foam
Quickly snapped this dessert before our Planet Cake class
  
Planet Cake
decorate your own cupcake

 
Rolling the icing and adding the buttercream
 
Use the acetate to smooth it all out…
(could not stop checking out the guy’s Tifanny&Co bling)
 
The girl before me made a cupcake with a decorated dragonfly
 
TADA I made a little ribbon

See you next year!