Bloodwood

So within the very hectic last month and a half, I also finally have settled into a new office in the CBD (woo moving on up in the world!) from my previous location in Newtown. However this also means missing out on a lot of great (and cheap!) lunch time eats such as Luxe Bakery, Atom Thai, Kammadhenu and Ramen Bar. I also no longer have a weekend parking spot in Newtown so I miss out on brunch spots as well, such as Bloodwood.

Bloodwood (416 King Street, Newtown) is a particular favourite of mine for brunch not because of their courtyard which is delightful to laze about in with a cider on warmer days but because I have found the perfect version of my idea of a summer salad. The interior is a mix of industrial and retro and even sport a few inverted doors hanging from the ceilings. On this occasion I left it to the bar to create a Bloodwood mocktail for myself which was refreshing mix of apple, lime and mint while Bill had a cider. A dish I spotted at almost every table was the polenta chips with gorgonzola sauce which were incredibly light and fluffy and the gorgonzola sauce very rich and creamy. Funnily enough the gorgonzola sauce was all a bit too rich for me but Bill easily polished these off. The perfect aforementioned summer salad is the grilled cuttlefish salad with a cucumber and herb salad drizzled with mustard cream. The cuttlefish was cooked perfectly and the fresh cucumber gave the salad a beautiful crunch and the mustard cream was just made for my palate. We ended our brunch with the Bloodwood trifle a cup of passionfruit, pound cake, port wine jelly, honeycomb anglaise and vanilla bean pannacotta which though looked quite simple, it was to die for and absolutely fan-friggin-tasty with the combination of textures and flavours…we were each fighting spoonfuls of this trifle…next time we'll just order one each for ourselves ๐Ÿ™‚

Bloodwood


Bloodwood Mocktail $8

Polenta chips and gorgonzola sauce $9

Grilled cuttlefish salad $19

Bloodwood trifle $14

Though Newtown isn't as easily accessible as it was before, it won't stop me from revisiting Bloodwood for my favourite salad and trifle…just make sure to arrive early as they have a no bookings policy and the restaurant filled up pretty fast while we were there ๐Ÿ˜‰

Bloodwood on Urbanspoon

Nok Nok Thai Eating House

Back in my day it was called Tumbalong park and opposite it was Sega World, now the area has been newly finished and is known as Darling Quarter featuring lines of cafes (most with al fresco dining – perfect for the upcoming summer months) overlooking the huge funky playground.  Nok Nok Thai Eating House (Shop 9 Darling Walk, Darling Quarter) is one of these new establishments.

The decor and beautiful presentation  of the space of Nok Nok really excited me with sky high ceilings and mirrors making it look even more light and airy, the pale marble-like walls  provided a lovely contrast to the elements of greenery of hanging potted plants and trees sprouting from the banquet table – it reminded me of  British India.On Saturday night the restaurant was a buzz and most of the booths were reserved so we were seated on the communal banquet table (just make sure your group is not separated by the tree in the table).

As an appetizer our friends ordered the Guay Teaw Lord ($8.90) a wide rice  noodle roll wrapping pieces of chicken, tofu, egg and dried shrimp (?) similarly to the rice noodle rolls served at yum cha. Tonight most of us  ordered noodles Gauy Teaw Kua ($13.90) a soy based stir fried flat rice noodles, chicken Pad Thai ($12.90) thin rice noodles fried with tofu, egg, garlic, chives,  bean sprout and crushed peanuts and I had the Kee Mao ($13.90) a wide rice noodle with holy basil, chilli in a dark soy base. It had a good spicy  kick to it which was easily offset by the light and refreshing lychee frappe ($4.00) I ordered earlier. Instead of noodles Bill had the Duck Red Curry ($18.90) which came in a very generous portion, eggplants, bamboo shoots, basil and green beans swimming in a light curry. As we were finishing our dishes we realise our order of Pla Meuk Yang ($15.90) a grilled whole squid had not yet arrived so we opted to cancel  this dish…boo because I was  really looking forward to this dish as I love the grilled calamari from Chat Thai. The front "kitchen" is an open plan and I spied a massive bowl of mangoes and I knew exactly what I was having for dessert. The Keo Neow Ma Moung ($8.90) mango was fresh and meaty and the sweet sticky  rice seemed lighter than that of other Thai restaurants, needless to say we easily polished dessert off.

Nok Nok Thai Eating House

 
Communal banquet table

Booth dining

Chicken Pad Thai

Chicken Ki Mao

Duck Red Curry

Keo Neow Ma Moung Sweet sticky rice with fresh mango

The atmosphere at Nok Nok is nice and the menu quite extensive featuring some dishes such as the wide noodle rice not commonly featured at other Thai restaurants. The food was great and 'll head back again and hope to be able to try the grilled whole squid soon, the outdoor dining area also seems nice for those balmy summer evenings…there was even a jazz band playing outside on Saturday night.

Nok Nok on Urbanspoon

Kuidaore in Dotombori a food mecca

Through the Shinsaibashi shopping arcade and under the flashes of neon lights, gigantic billboards and mechanical mascots lies the food mecca of Osaka, Dotombori located in the minami area of Osaka. Compared to the Kita Osaka, Minami Osaka is where you'll find the hustle and bustle with restaurants, bars, karaoke, clubs, pachinko parlours lining and squeezed in every nook and cranny of Dotombori.

Dotombori has a food culture and of course there is an abundance of food everywhere to satisfy any of your food cravings. There is saying in Osaka "kuidaore" which means to 'enjoy and eat food past your hearts content' until you ruin yourself and wallet – sort of like the food version of 'shop til you drop' ๐Ÿ˜› So we did just that…gorging on Osaka's street food.

We enjoyed walked along Dotomborigawa (river) which is said to have inspired Bladerunner and watched the dazzling lights of the billboards (though not all of them were lit up to conserve energy and respect Northern Japan), listened to the buskers on Ebisubashi bridge and people watched the young fashionistas. I loved the liveliness and the fun atmosphere of Dotombori and it's vibrance where here the flashiest seems to mean the best.


Shinsaibashi the start of the 600m roofed shopping arcade

Lotteria Ebi (prawn) Burger
Lotteria is a burger chain in Japan where I had an Ebi Burger (290Y) better than KFC Shanghai and Bill had a Cheeseburger set with melon soda and a juicy fried chicked for around 870Y and fought over a crispy sausage roll…in hindsight t was only 190Y so we probably should have gotten two… Overall Lotteria burgers are good but I still prefer the burgers at Freshness Burger which is another burger chain in Japan.

Glico Man of Glico candy

Tsubora-ya famous for you guessed it fugu!

Otakoya
No they don't really sell takoyaki in Coke cups but in boat cups for only 300Y (not $8AUD like in Chinatown). Instead of takoyaki again we shared an ika-yaki which is a deliciously baked squid encased in a cracked egg.

Ika-yaki

Glico Confectionary
Glico produces many of my childhoold favourites including Pocky, Caramel and Bisco which are bite size wheat germ crackers with a milky cream filling.

Coco-Rico crepes

Banana Strawbery Chocolate Crepe


Giant Takoyaki Pretz and Green Tea Pretz

You'll come to realise Japan loves limited editions and seasonal items so there are Pretz flavours you're only able to buy in certain areas like the takoyaki flavour and okonomiyaki flavours are only sold in the Kansai region.

Shiki

I just read on twitter that Shiki is celebrating their 27th anniversary! Shiki (Argyle St, The Rocks) is the longest established Japanese reaturant in Sydney and though my parents dined here when they first arrived in Australia some 23years ago, it was only earlier this year that I dined here for the first time. It's quite fancy, the interior is roomy and the dark furnishings matched with the jazz music made it that much more romantic.

We were here with another couple and the staff gave us the flexibility of ordering degustation as well as the a la carte menu. Our besties opted to order the monthly degustation which changes each month which is a very good reason to go back each month to try something new! On the other hand Bill and I chose a few items from the a la carte menu. We ordered the Deluxe Sashimi platter a chefs selection of sashimi which included thick pieces of fresh succulent ocean trout, maguro (tuna), hamachi (kingfish), tai (snapper), hotate (scallop) and bonito and followed by Wagyu Sirloin steak cooked to order medium rare and served with ponzu – my favourite condiment. While I was happily eating away at my Seafood Chawanmushi our pink ganen plate arrives along with the seafood platter. Shiki is known for their pink ganen (rock salt) hot plate which is a natural salt from the Himalaya which won me over with the phrase "absorbs the excess fat making it extremely healthy" and "no chance of food being burnt" – a win for both Bill and I since we had to cook it ourselves. The seafood was grilled lightly on the pink salt plate bringing out the natural flavour of the seafood and since it absorbed a small amount of the pink salt I found it quite cleansing on the palate. I'm a sucker for shiratama so when I spot this on the menu we finished the night off on a sweet note sharing a dessert plate of Green Tea ice cream, red bean, strawberries and shiratama.

If you're in the mood for traditional Japanese food which is a little fancy you should definitely consider Shiki. I'm looking forward to trying one of their monthly degustations next time.

Shiki Sydney

Umeshu

Deluxe Sashimi Plate

Wagyu Sirloin Steak


Seafood Chawanmushi

Natural Pink Ganen plate

Pink Salt Seafood plate

Dessert Plate

Shiki on Urbanspoon

The Heart of Food Photography class at MUMU Grill

Sadly last year due to holidays I was unable to attend Billy from A Table for Two’s photography workshop so when I found out Simon from The Heart of Food would be holding a photography class, with no hesitation I (or my sugar daddy to be exact) snapped up the opportunity to attend the inaugural Food Photography class. There was no particular topic I was interested in, I just wanted to learn more about the process and thought/creativity which goes into photography. Other food bloggers in attendance were Mel, Chanel, Laura and Gaby – but there were a mix of people, I particularly admired the food technology teachers wanting to inspire their kids more by incorporating food photography into their classes.

The class was held at MUMU Grill (76 Alexander Street, Crows Nest) who served us a delicious lunch spread which made it hard for me to wait until all the photo taking was over. Must bring the steak-loving boyfriend here because the sirloin tagliatta was ahh-mazing! And the duck fat potatoes were fluffy and so goddamn tasty. Oh and I totally could have eaten the cherry tomato salad in spoonfuls it was light and refreshing and a nice to eat in between mountains of jamon serrano.

For $90 (at the time of posting) it was definitely 5hours on a Saturday very well spent! Simon was a great teacher, the class was casual and not intimidating at all – we were free to ask questions which Simon very patiently and kindly answered for us. Those that lingered back even got private lessons on specific techniques! Though Simon hasn’t got any further classes scheduled you can always register your interest by visiting The Heart of Food. I left a very happy chappy leaving the class a little more knowledgeable and a belly full of food.
Thank you once again to Simon for a great class and MUMU Grill for the delicious lunch spread!

MUMU
Grill Tapas Bar
 

 
Jamon Serrano

 
Bread with a tomato dip and a bean dip

 
Duck and Shitake Mushroom Empanadas

 
Cherry Tomato Salad Buffalo Mozarella

 
Szechuan Fried Prawns with Pickled Chilli and Soy

 
Sirloin Tagliatta with Duck Fat Potatoes and Greens

 
Organic Chicken with Maple Roasted Sweet Potato and Spinach

 

 
Dessert Platter
Hazelnut Gelato, Gingerbead and ricotta sandwich with rhubarb, Chocolate mole tart
Brown sugar pavlova with pineapple and passionfruit

 
Fruit Platter

 
 

Mumu Grill on Urbanspoon

JPB Restaurant Swissotel

Do you fondue? I do and so these lovely hungry friendly cheese loving foodies and two lactose intolerant girls.
One wintry Tuesday night, Betty had organised a cheese fondue to warm our bellies at JPB Restaurant located on Level 8 of the Swissotel and is just past the Crossroads Bar.

I didn’t think cheese fondue existed in Sydney, the last time I had cheese fondue was in Japan at The Red Lobster for my birthday. I had just turned 18 and we went out for dinner celebrating with steaks, crabs, polaroids and rose wine (though I believe the legal drinking age in Japan is 20…) but the most memorable dish the most amazing Cheese Bread Fondue. It was served in a bread cob hollowed out and filled with cheese sauce and we dipped bread, shrimp and lobster into it. I remember raving on about this when I got back to Sydney.

At the JPB restaurant they served one cheese pot between two, a cauldron-like pot on top of a burning flame filled with three types of cheese – emmental, gruyere and racelette together with splashes of white wine. The cheese fondue was served with crusty baguette bread, sausages, roast potatoes, pickled onions and ugly little gherkins to dunk with. I wasn’t sure whether I liked dipping the pickled onions and gherkins into the cheese pot, I think I much prefer to eat them by themselves. I did however love leaving the crusty bread in the pot of rich, creamy smelly cheese to soak in all the bubbling cheesy goodness before popping them into my mouth. Be warned the cheese is bubbling and piping hot, especially at the bottom which unfortunately some eager girls found out the hard way. Don’t worry if you start to run low on condiments – they have free top ups ๐Ÿ˜‰

Soon enough all the cheese and bread started to expand and we started to feel quite full but these girls wanted dessert. After a fair bit of chatter to work the carbs off we spotted the cutest mini milkshake being served at another table and Mel and I decided we had to have it. Our dessert of Chocolate and Vanilla Sponge had a mini vanilla bean foam, a peanut butter mousse on chocolate "soil". Sadly the sponge wasn’t a sponge but more like a peanut butter cookie sandwich filled with cream and I found the peanut butter mousse a bit stodgy and not quite airy and light but I loved the crumbly chocolate soil.

If you’re in the mood for fondue it is $27 per pot and the rich cheese paired with the carbs will definitely fill you up!
Thank you Betty for organising this! and thank you to Viv for sharing the Chocolate Artisan cake love! 

 
JPB Restaurant Cheese Fondue

 
Crusty bread to dunk with

 
Pot of bubbling hot cheese Emmental, gruyere, racelette

 

 

 
The damage

 
Chocolate and Vanilla Sponge

Jpb Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Manmaruya Ashfield

When I need to get my ramen on… or my aburi sushi fix I head to my local Japanese joint, Manmaruya Hurstville. It’s popular and quite busy, you can definitely expect to wait a while especially on Thursday nights ๐Ÿ˜‰ The branch at Hurstville is actually the second branch to open, the first was in Campsie and now recently they have opened a branch in Ashfield. My family was invited to dine at the pre-opening of Manmaruya Ashfield (217 Liverpool Road) before it officially opened to the public, this way the new staff were able to experience a shift and work out the kinks – of course we were more than happy to oblige.

So my favourite types of ramen are TanTanmen, Salt Butter Corn Ramen and Kogashi Ninniku Ramen. Lucky for me Manmaruya’s specialty is the Kogashi Ninniku ramen which literally means burnt garlic ramen. Manmaruya offers their ramen in two soup stocks; pork stock and chicken stock – I almost always order ramen with pork stock finding I prefer the thicker more flavoursome pork soup to the more subtle chicken soup. Now I love my ramen with a heap of bean sprouts and a perfectly soft boiled egg with orange gooey insides – and that’s exactly what I got and more because I found hidden underneath my mountain of noodles an extra egg!!! My sister decided she also wanted to have some sushi so ordered the Mini Ramen with pork stock in which they forgot to add the seaweed pieces. After we told the waitress she missed the seaweed pieces, they gave us a double serving of seaweed too! You’ll find that the portions served at Manmaruya are very generous, I’m always leaving with a food baby and even my sister’s "mini" ramen is not so mini.

Thinking she was getting a "mini" ramen my sister also ordered the Spicy Tuna Roll and Soft Shell Crab Roll to share. The Spicy Tuna Roll which I forgot to take a photo of  had six pieces of spicy marinated fresh tuna rolls to dip in a spicy mayonnaise tingling the tips of your tongue. I was so happy the Soft Shell Crab was not dripping in oil like in some other establishments. Mum wanted to order something she could not eat everyday and had the Sushi Sashimi Combo. We did have to wait an hour for this to be served but it was well worth the wait with fresh thick pieces of sashimi. We didn’t have dessert tonight but we finished our meal off with a serving of takoyaki instead with piping hot pieces of octopus encased in a crispy shell drizzled with sauce and katsubushi.

Manmaruya Ashfield is a great addition, especially if you’re not in the mood for great Shanghainese food currently dominating on Liverpool Road. If you’re also not in the mood for ramen try their Aburi Sushi – it’s one of my favourite dishes there! Manmaruya Hurstville also serves Camembert Tempura, but I don’t think I spotted this on the Ashfield menu.

Manmaruya
 

 
Kogashi Ninniku Ramen

 
Soft Shell Crab Roll

 
Sushi Sashimi Combo

We dined at the courtesy of Manmaruya Ashfield.Manmaruya on Urbanspoon

They also have sister branches at
Manmaruya Campsie  Manmaruya Restaurant on Urbanspoon
Manmaruya Hurstville  Manmaruya on Urbanspoon

Maze by Gordan Ramsay

As both of us aren’t much of Hell’s Kitchen people, we arrived with no expectations and weren’t sure of what the lunch would be like here but the beautiful light lunch we were served was a perfect way to end our stay in Melbourne. Maze located in the new Crown Metropol, was a little hard to find (the only entrance we could find was through the taxi arrivals).

Upon arrival we were served drinks while waiting in the cushy lounges while they readied our table. We opted for the 4 Course lunch for $49 and soon enough we were served complimentary bread with seaweed butter. I couldn’t really taste the seaweed but the salty butter was delicious with the bread – now I love my carbs so I always have to stop myself from eating too much bread.
Lunch was off to an amazing start, my Yellow fin tuna tartar was pretty to look at and was light and refreshing. I loved everything about this dish – the tuna was fresh, the radish gave it a crunch and yuzu how I’ve missed you. Bill’s Smoked eel and local green asparagus on a bed of pressed apple was lovely and subtle, I think I’m starting to have a taste for eel now.
The slow cooked octopus was tender and very flavorsome with the chorizo and grilled capcisum but paled in comparison to the “Tête de cochon” which Bill had for his next course. The Tête de cochon was a crispy on the outside and revealed a tender pork terrine inside which matched well with the watermelon it came atop. Both of our 3rd courses were equally amazing. I had the Pan roasted John Dory a beautiful piece of fish, the flesh was soft and flaked at the touch hidden underneath a super crispy skin. It also came with a pumpkin mash which I loved. My favourite dish of the lot though was the Crispy roast pork belly which Bill ordered. The tender pork surrounded by a beautiful dashi broth was the dish of our day. For dessert I couldn’t go past the pannacotta and chose the coconut and white chocolate pannacotta with black olive caramel which sounded unusual but I’ll give it a try. I really enjoyed eating the pannacotta with the black olive caramel and mango granita and felt the pannacotta was missing something when I finished all the caramel. It also came with a small olive and rosemary friand which I strangely enjoyed – I’ve only recently started to like olives.  The other dessert choice was the Madagascan chocolate "jaffa" which came with puffed rice YUM!

I loved the light lunch at Maze and were pleasantly surprised by the Japanese influences, which could be why it appealed to my tastes so much. Maze offers an affordable lunch in a relaxed atmosphere, an airy space with high ceilings and a lot of natural light. I’d definitely come back for lunch whenever I’m I happen to be in Melbourne next.  

 

 

 

 
complimentary bread with seaweed butter

 
Yellow fin tuna tartar
white radish, yuzu. enoki mushrooms, black garlic

 
Smoked eel and local green asparagus
orange and miso, pressed apple, crispy shallot

 
“Tête de cochon”
watermelon, kohlrabi and crispy pigs ear

 
Slow cooked octopus
chorizo, grilled capsicum, nasturtiums

 
Pan-roasted John Dory
pumpkin, piquillo pepper, spiced red wine

 
Crispy roast pork belly
calvalo nero, soybeans, dashi

 
Madagascan chocolate "jaffa"
bayleaf sherbet, mandarin marmalade, black rice

NOT AN EGG – ITS THE SHERBET

 
Coconut and white chocolate pannacotta
mango and black olive caramel

 
 

Maze Melbourne on Urbanspoon

Ms.G’s

Having to decline a lunch date with these girls and reading about the great food they had, I was all the more keen to try Ms.G’s as soon as I got back from my holiday, so I jumped at the opportunity to head there to celebrate a friends birthday. Well aware of Ms.G’s (155 Victoria St Potts Point) having a no bookings policy we arrived early at 630pm on a Saturday night and were seated immediately on the middle level with a view of the city lights across the water. Taking in the surroundings, the quirkyness of the restaurant catches my eyes, the graffiti on the walls, the hanging hessian ropes and I’m excited to hear Grease playing in the background – it’s going to be a fun night.

 
We decided to each choose a dish to share amongst ourselves but first we need drinks – one of the main reasons we decided to come here. Ah yes, the asian in me could not resist the packaged Pina ‘pearls’ Colada – you can’t go wrong with alcohol and pearls. The boys both went for Ms.G’s Famous Yuzu Slushee which we found it best to drink it fast or it melts and you’re left with a strong taste of vodka.
The Mini bánh mì were the first to arrive filled with crisp pork belly, a tangy sauce and fresh herbs they were deliciously moreish! Surprisingly we were served a very generous amount of plump sea scallops with guacamole. I liked the braised wagyu beef shin the least, though the beef was very tender I found it lacked some oomph and was a bit bland for me. My favourite dish of the night looked the simplest – the egg noodles with XO sauce and braised duck. The XO sauce was flavoursome and I especially loved breaking the egg yolk and mixing the ooze into the noodles which brought it all together. I also really enjoyed the fried baby chicken though when it first arrived I was a little shocked at small they were, but I pushed it to the back of my mind so I could enjoy it and enjoy it I did, amazingly the skin was really crispy, the meat was succulent and it was not oily at all!!
For dessert I chose the "Stoner’s Delight" which arrived as a hot mess of all things sweet. I loved scraping every last bit of the peanut brittle and had to fight Bill off the doughnut ice cream, but it all got a little too sweet for us in the end. I also found the marshmallows were light but had a more wet consistency which was an interesting texture to eat. The others were more sensible and chose the Pandan chiffon cake, had I known it came atop a mountain of sago I probably would have ordered this too as it was refreshing with the sorbet and strawberries.

Not surprisingly the fun theme continued into the bathrooms with huge metal buckets as sinks and vintage taps and where the walls were plastered with old brown newspaper clippings and even recipes…I recall reading a Japanese Egg Salad recipe while I was there. I loved the vibe of Ms.G’s and it would be a great place to catch up with friends, just make sure you arrive early because as we left we found it was a super full house.

Ms G’s
  
Asian mothers are the best mothers

  
  
  

Pina ‘Pearls’ Colada – Appleton VX & Havana Club Blanco rum, pineapple, coconut, yogurt sorbet, green pearls
Ms.G’s Famous Yuzu Slushee – Limoncello, Russian Standard vodka, yuzu juice, Regan’s orange bitter
teehee…anyone else find it dirty stabbing her mouth with a straw as indicated?

  
Mini bánh mì with crisp pork belly

  
Sea scallop, jícama, guacamole, finger lime

  
Egg noodles with XO sauce, braised duck, soft poached egg – YUMYUMYUM

  
Braised Wagyu beef shin “Hue Style”, konnyaku noodles, lemongrass, chilli broth

  
Fried baby chicken (whole) and Kimchi Mayonnaise

  
“Stoner’s Delight” doughnut ice cream, chocolate, rice bubble, pretzel, peanut brittle, marshmallow

  
Pandan chiffon cake, strawberries, coconut sorbet

  
  
 

Ms G's on Urbanspoon

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

Roule Galette

Back to normal programming, just for a week because then I’ll be off to Japan.

After checking out of the hotel on our last day we headed out for breakfast. Initially we were going to a drop by a cafe on Degraves St but it was already crowded and instead found Roule Galette (Flinders Lane, Melbourne) – a tiny but very cosy and cute restaurant where our very charming waiters sang and danced along to french tunes all the while happily chatting away to each other in French and making our galettes.

Deciding it was a little too early for a crepe with chocolate and sugar, we both chose galettes (an authentic savoury pancake which comes from the French region of "Bretagne", made from buckwheat flour). I chose the traditional Brittany Complete Galette filled with ham, shredded cheese, butter and completed with an egg in the middle of the folded crepe. Bill on the other hand had a more decadent breakfast choosing the Saint Jacques, a galette with "Saute" de leek and extraordinary scallops from overseas. Initially I was a bit worried the scallops wouldn’t be cooked well, but they were big, fat, juicy and seared lightly, I especially loved the cream and leeks inside the crepe.

Roule Galette 
 
  
  
Complete Galette – filled with ham, shredded cheese, butter, egg

  

Saint Jacques – "Saute de leek" and extraordinary scallops from overseas

Though the food took a while to be served (I blame this on Bill’s Saint Jacques), the waiters were friendly and it was a lovely way to start our day.

Roule Galette on Urbanspoon

MoVida Aqui and The Flan

We managed to score a table at Movida Aqui & Terrazza (500 Bourke St Level 1) where we over-ordered because we wanted to try everything on the menu. The space was huge and decorated with milk crates surrounding the bar tables and the open ktichen, the atmosphere was lively and happy. Definitely a fun way to finish the night ๐Ÿ™‚

We took fairly long to decide what we wanted to order but we started off with a jug a sangria because Bill was craving something fruity… and a complimentary board of bread and olive oil for dipping. Soon the Tapa Clasicas started to arrive; I love calamari so I had to order the calamari sandwich which came with this beautiful garlicky mayonnaise while B wanted to try the anchovy on crouton with smoked tomato sorbet – I’m not a fan of anchovies but I didn’t want to take a bite out of Bill’s and just ordered one for myself too and I loved the cooling sensation of the tomato sorbet against the warmth of the anchovy, it also balanced out the saltiness of the anchovy so was very nice to eat. I also love potatoes, so the catalan potato bomb was next on my list and oh my god I could have had more of these little babies. These tasty morsels were crisp and perfect though I think the chorizo must have been minced (for some reason I expected to find a piece of chorizo in the middle much like an onigiri). And that was the end of our tapas.

I would have been happier if we had a few vege dishes but B is more of a meat guy than veges so we ordered the Jamones which he finished most of because it was too salty for me unless I ate it with bread which I already finished off (I’m preeettty sensitive to salt, I like sugar more). We also ordered the pork belly with truffle? (I forget) from the specials menu and was recommended by our waitress as a must-have, probably because the skin was so crunchy, the meat and peaches were so tender and juicy. The speed of food arriving at our table slowed down when we got to the raciones, so much that we ended up ordered an extra dish of croquetas filled with spicy pork and forgetting we were still waiting on our crab omelette..d’oh. Of course they both came at once, when we were practically stuffed to the brim, the crab omelette was light and fluffy but I couldn’t enjoy the croquetas as much because for one I was full and two I was already too much in love with the bomba.

We were unable to finish the croquetas and Bill was ready to call it a night but I still wanted dessert even though I was really really really full. B said he could only commit to one bite of dessert, and I was sure I couldn’t finish the rest of a dessert myself so we decided to just ask for the bill –  I guess Bill saw the sadness in my eyes and reasoned that we would regret not trying dessert here and ended up ordering the flan. The flan was the one dessert to rule them alllll, so simple but so fricken DELICIOUS, we both could not get enough of it, it had just the right amount of sweetness and went down so smoothly – I was fighting over each spoonful creme caramel with a man who said he could only commit to ONE BITE. I was so so glad we ended up ordering dessert :))))))) and I’ve actually been craving it ever since. – it was that good.

It was definitely a fun and casual night within the lively, spacious atmosphere of the restaurant. The service was attentive with the waiter refilling our sangria, bringing more ice and the waitress checking up on how we were going in terms of food. They were both also really patient when I was very indecisive about what foods to order… I’d love to go back again with more friends so I can try a wider variety of dishes.

  
Movida Aqui

  
Sangria

  
I spy croquetas

  
Bocadillo de calamares
Calamari sandwich with Basque guindilla and mayonnaise

  
Anchoa
Hand filleted Cantabrian Artisan anchovy on crouton with smoked tomato sorbet

  
Bomba
Catalan Potato bomb filled with chorizo

  
Jamones 50 grams served with pa amb tomaquet
Serrano ‘Montesano’ artisan mountain ham 24 months

  
Pork Belly (from the specials menu)

  
Crab Omelette (from the specials menu)

  
Croquetas
spicy pork croquettes

  
Flan
Crème caramel served with pestino
(haha check out the quality of this photo… you can tell the sangria worked it’s magic by now… but seriously guys even though its a crap photo it was DELICIOUS)
  

MoVida Aqui and Terraza on Urbanspoon

Cumulus Inc.

What was I doing on the weekend that everyone was suffering a heatwave in Sydney…?  I was shivering in Melbourne.
Bill and  I hopped on a plane early Saturday morning, hopped off the plane in Melbourne and headed straight to Cumulus Inc. for breakfast XD A weekend away in Melbourne came at just the perfect time as I’d settled in a new job, Bill was about to start his new job, it was close to Valentines Day (hooow convenient.), hopefully it would be the start of good things to come.

Melbourne greeted us with rain and a cold 14degrees, it was quite dreary walking through Flinders Lane and seeing most restaurants close. I was so happy when we got to Cumulus Inc. (45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne) and entered the warm lofty hall/warehouse with an open kitchen and marble tops. We were lucky that though we had arrived at 930am, it was relatively empty… this changed withint 15mins as the place filled up with more early morning people. Usually if I eat out for breakfast I need to have a poached egg, but the poached egg they had on offer was paired with smoked salmon (which I don’t eat…I don’t eat any salmon except for shake) so I picked the Turkish baked eggs. It came out on a small cast iron pan and smelled delightful, the tomato and dukkah were so flavoursome but the labne was too sour for me and Bill happily ate that. Bill ordered one of the specials of the day which was toasted sandwich with pork belly and a side of cranberry sauce which he enjoyed as well. We also ordered two madeleines filled with lemon curd which were made fresh to order, coming out 20mins after we finished our breakfast all hot and sugary and was just what I needed to wake me up. Though the service was a bit slow, the turkish baked eggs and perfect lemon madeleines are worth the wait – I’d happily come here for a lazy breakfast anyday I’m in Melbourne. And that was the start of our weekend away.

 
 
Cumulus Inc

 
bubbles!

 
Turkish baked eggs, spiced tomato, dukkah, labne

 
Special of the day Pork belly toasted sandwich

 
Madeleine filled with lemon curd

Cumulus Inc. on Urbanspoon

Loosening our belts at Lรถwenbrรคu 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

Birthday Eve at The Boathouse on Blackwattle Bay

Seafood makes me happy, so for my 23rd birthday Bill spoiled me and he took us out to dinner at The Boathouse on Blackwattle Bay (End of Ferry Road, Glebe). A converted boathouse, it’s a little hard to find and very hard to find parking in small residential streets but we saw some people arriving in style via water taxi which dropped them right outside. Our reservation at 6pm was absolute perfection as The Boathouse has a panoramic view of the Anzac Bridge and the city skyline which was stunning as day transformed into night and there were lights glittering everywhere – so pretty!

We just had to start off with oysters which were fresh shucked to order; their variety of oysters available were dizzying and we wanted to try them all but we thought it might confuse us too much so we chose oysters from Lemon Tree Passage with a mignonette – very fresh and briny goodness. Wanting to try something different we also ordered the Ocean Trout Roe with Potato Blinis which was the sex. The potato blinis were hot and fluffy, smeared with creme fraiche and a little wasabi and topped it off with big plump ocean trout roe and popped it whole into my mouth – so moreish and to die for! Afraid that the ocean trout roe wouldn’t fill us up we also ordered the delicate Tartare of Yellowfin Tuna but those potato blinis really fill you up… On a completely different note – they served all our dishes on a metal tier and myself being short… it was difficult to take photos of the food without having to stand up so unfortunately the photos of the oysters and ocean trout roe which were placed on the top tier…aren’t fantastic.
There were a few things on the menu we would have liked to try but we couldn’t go past their famous Snapper Pie to share. After 30mins along came a trolley and the snapper pie was served at our table – amazing, yum! Bill also really loved the smoked tomato. For a side salad Bill ordered the Green Beans and Radicchio salad which was delicious but we were too full to finish this. Obviously not full enough to skip dessert though and we had a simple Banana souffle served in a small copper saucepan – too cute! and Pecan ice cream. We finished the evening off with complimentary Frangipani and Apple Crumble petit fours.

The staff were polite and attentive without being overbearing and the restaurant had a relaxed ambience and the food was simply delicious. We’ll definitely return, especially for special occasions and focus more on trying oysters from different areas of NSW.

Have a safe and happy new year everyone!!

 
The Boathouse on Blackwattle Bay

 
Organic Rye and Sourdough

 
Lemon Tree Passage Rock from Mid North Coast
 
 
Tartare of Yellowfin Tuna, Cuttlefish, Radish & Lime

 
Ocean Trout Roe from Macquarie Harbour, Potato Blinis with Wasabi & Creme Fraiche

 
Potato Blinis

 
Please excuse my dirty plate but this is my finished product

 
Green Bean, Radicchio, Egg & Sunflower Seed Salad

 
Snapper Pie with Smoked Tomato & Mashed Potato

 
Simply delicious

 
Banana Souffle and Pecan Ice Cream

 
Frangipani and Apple Crumble Petit Four

Thank you Bill for an amazing dinner with a super pretty view and I think we should have our reception here kthxbye

Boathouse on Blackwattle Bay on Urbanspoon