Sushi Buffet Course at Sushi Samurai

My ears perked up at the thought of a sushi buffet… for only $24.80 that sounded like a bargain. We frequent Sushi Samurai (14 Bunn St Pyrmont) whenever we feel like casual Japanese and the sashimi we've had there is always really fresh (previously posted here)…probably because its so close to the Sydney Fish Markets.

The Sushi Buffet ($24.80) runs for 90mins (after you've ordered) and is only on Saturdays for lunch and I highly recommend you to book – if you've ever been, Sushi Samurai is a pretty tiny space and fills up very fast and they also have a few seats outside. Now before you can order all the sushi you can stuff into your belly (big or small) you first need to finish a Starter Plate which is between a choice of two sushi platters either nigiri or rolls and they both come with two pieces of karaage chicken, agedashi tofu and miso soup. Set A is a platter of nigiri – salmon, tuna, kingfish, scallop, egg, prawn, sea urchin and salmon roe boat and two pieces of karaage chicken. Set B I believe is to cater more for the westerners or non-raw seafood eaters and has 8pieces of roll sushi, 2 pieces of salmon aburi, tuna and prawn nigiri and two pieces of karaage chicken. Once your starter plate is finished the real buffet begins and your free to order unlimited numbers of nigiri and rolls! They offer the usual nigiri salmon, sanma (?!), kingfish, tuna, prawn, squid and egg. Don't fret they also cater for roll lovers offering salmon avocado rolls, tuna salad avocado rolls, vegetarian rolls, California rolls and salmon avocado rolls. I was so happy that they also have aburi sushi which I lovee and ordered loads of scallop aburi, kingfish aburi and salmon aburi. There are also a few items which you are limited to a max 2 piece per person including the scampi nigiri, sea urchin boat and salmon roe boat.

I was a tad sad they didn't have natto rolls and my favourite squid was sold out but the variety they have on offer was amazeballs for a buffet. I had the Set A – I liked the idea of a starter plate, it was like a taster so you know what you might want to order more of. The tuna wasn't bad but the best items on the menu were the scampi and scallop which were both plump and firm and of course the delicious aburi sushi. I thought this buffet was great in terms of affordability, variety and freshness. Personally I thought 90mins was enough and we were all stuffed to the brim, but if you don't think the sushi buffet is enough… you can always order the Sushi Buffet Deluxe course ($29.80)…which includes the same as the Sushi Buffet but you can also get unlimited orders of sashimi (salmon, tuna, kingfish or mixed), takoyaki, karaage chicken, tofu seaweed salad, crispy gyoza, deep fried fish head (salmon or kingfish) and deep fried oyster.

Sushi Samurai (Pyrmont)

Starter Plate A
Salmon, Tuna, Kingfish, Scallop, Egg, Prawn, Sea Urchin, Salmon Roe and 2pcs Karaage chicken and sushi rolls.

Agedashi Tofu

Waiting for our unlimited sushi order making chopsticks holders

Tuna and Kingfish nigiri

Scallop aburi, Salmon aburi and Kingfish aburi

Scampi

Sushi Samurai also have a branch in Neutral Bay, however I'm not sure if they're also offering the Sushi Buffet for Saturday lunches.

Sushi Samurai on Urbanspoon

CRAVE SIFF: Quarter Twenty One Let’s Do Lunch & Azuma Kushiyaki Sugar Hit

It's already the 2nd week of October which means the CRAVE Sydney International Food Festival is in full swing with restaurants all around Sydney offering food events.

Not working in the CBD means I'm not usually able to enjoy Let's Do Lunch offered during the weekdays but this year I was lucky enough to visit Quarter Twenty One (Level 5 Sydney City Westfield) for their Let's Do Lunch offering on the public holiday Monday. Even more awesome was that there was no public holiday surcharge! Though we were also able to order a la carte from the menu, we were both in the mood for the Let's Do Lunch slow cooked short rib of beef, spring vegetable ragout and fondant potato which also came with a glass of Brown Brothers Pinot Grigio for me and a Coopers Beer for Bill. The beef was so tender and melted in our mouths and we each had a generous amount of beef as well. I loved the fondant potato and the spring vegetables brought the dish together with the colours. We also ordered side dishes of veges and hand cut chips thinking it may not fill us up, but in hindisght the main dishes were enough. We even planned to order a dessert (the banana creme brulee was calling my name) to share afterwards but were way too full… not to worry Bill has promised to take me back ๐Ÿ˜€

Quarter Twenty One

Warm crusty bread

Let's Do Lunch
Slow cooked short rib of beef, spring vegetable ragout and fondant potato which also came with a glass of Brown Brothers wine or Coopers Ale

Later in the week I indulged in yet another CRAVE SIFF event with my fellow sweet-a-holic girlies – a Sugar Hit offering a late night dessert during 9pm-11pm with a glass of Brown Brothers dessert wine or green tea at Azuma Kushiyaki for $20. Betty kindly organised a Sugar Hit at Azuma Kushiyaki an East meets West dessert tasting plate which I thorougly enjoyed at least years SIFF Sugar Hit though it had more Western influences than Eastern. However this year we were presented with the desserts which had a stronger Japanese influence and again presented in a two tier box. On the bottom tier we had a white sesame ice cream which had a subtle nutty flavour and a bowl of anmitsu. Anmitsu is a Japanese dessert meaning to top with red bean which was atop a small bowl of assorted seasonal fruits with tapioca pearls and my favourite shiratama rice dumplings covered with kinako powder. This dish was clearly loved by everyone in the group but the texture of the shiratama was a little rough for my liking and I suspect it has been made earlier and then refrigerated.On the top tier we had a yuzu sake, green tea tiramisu, sake sponge bites and a piece of dark chocolate praline. I absolutely loved the yuzu sake and could have had a few more glasses it was refreshing, deliciously citrusy and went down easily, I loved every single drop of it. The green tea tiramisu was my favourite the matcha layers of whipped cream and between them soaked sponge fingers though there was only a hint of shochu and marscapone. The sake sponge bites definitely had been soaked with sake more compared to the shochu soaked sponge fingers. The dark chocolate praline was the Western dessert a soft piece of chocolate encasing pop rocks. We all agreed the dessert here this year was better than last years and I have a feeling that I'm going to return again before the end of October.

Azuma Kushiyaki

Yuzu sake, green tea tiramius, sake sponge bites and dark chocolate praline

Homemade white sesame ice cream and anmitsu

We're now in the second week of October so you have three weeks to loosen your belts and enjoy some of the CRAVE SIFF offerings. Psst….the night noodles markets started this week at Hyde Park.

Quarter Twenty One
Quarter Twenty One on Urbanspoon

Azuma Kushiyaki
Azuma Kushiyaki on Urbanspoon

Korean Cultural Cooking class LA Galbi and Kochujang Jiggae

Annyeong! I love Korean food, especially hot pots and I love having Korean bbq with friends (not so much having the bbq smell in my hair) and kimchi and korean fried chicken are staples in my house but I've no idea how to make most of these korean dishes. So I was excited when Heather Jeong of SBS Korean Food Safari and SBS Kitchen Conversations fame invited me to attend one of her popular Korean cooking classes held at the Korean Cultural Office (255 Elizabeth Street, Sydney). I was a bit confused as I'd walked past Elizabeth Street several times but I've never seen the KCO well it's not because I'm going mad but it's fairly new and opened in 2011 the year of friendship between Korea and Australia. The Korean Cultural Office is more like a museum and currently exhibitis ancient tools, Korean arts and instruments.

Our class was a small group of six and I was lucky enough to bump into the lovely Vivian there too. I especially loved how intimate the class felt and made it a very enjoyable hands-on class. Heather started to demonstrate and explain Korean cuisine and core ingredients whilst we nibbled on some gingko nuts, said to improve your memory.
One of the dishes we were taught was LA Galbi a dish which has increased in popularity in Hawaii and Los Angeles. This is one of Bill's favourite dishes and we almost always order these marinated short ribs when we go Korean bbq. Heather kindly explained the different cuts of meat, showed us how to butterfly the meat and tips on how to buy them at the butchers – ask for pyeon galbi (non-marinated). We each marinated our own cuts of meat with sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, refined brown sugar and some kiwi to break down the meat with acidity and popped it in the fridge to absorb all the flavours and ready to cook later at home. Heather had  pre-marinated some LA galbi which she simmered over a low heat (on baking paper so the sugar doesn't ruin the pan) and we had a plate of tender, sweet short ribs best wrapped in a korean lettuce.
Kochujang jiggae and sundubu were one of the first Korean dishes I tried and I've loved Korean cuisine ever since. Kochujang jiggae is a korean chilli hotpot, a sort of comfort food to eat with a bowl of steamed rice. It's a one pot dish and very easy to make, as long as you have some core ingredients – kochujang – a vibrant red chilli paste made from harvested and sundried chillis and doen jang – a fermented soybean paste. The seasoning (kochujang, doen jang, dash of soy sauce) along with your vegetables (tofu, zucchini, potatoes) and pork mince are cooked in the korean claypot called a duk baegi which can be bought at Korean grocery shops. After 10 minutes it should a vibrant red and be bubbling hot, ready to eat with a bowl of rice.

Once we had the hands-on cooking experience and gained knowledge of the korean culture as well as the cuisine, the class concluded with a sit down meal, sampling the dishes we made today and banchan which are side dishes normally served at each meal to accompany your rice – I love banchan served at korean restaurants I would be happy eating just that with rice! Heather generously prepared a colourful array of banchan including kimchi, kongnamul (bean sprouts in sesame oil), a Japanese style sunomono and lotus root jorim (simmered in broth). Heather also bbqed some strips of wagyu which were marbled beautifully, seafood pajeon (pancake) with squid and mung bean pajeon to sample. Due to the sweetness of korean dishes, dessert is normally fruit however since it is nearing "Chuseok" the celebration of the harvest moon and Korean thanksgiving, we were treated to some pretty rice crisps!

The Korean Cultural Office cooking class was a great experience and I had a lot of fun learning to make some of my favourite korean dishes. The classes are intimate and Heather is a lovely teacher providing guidance along the way. It was a great way to learn further about the korean culture and the unique ingredients and techniques particular to korean cuisine. The Korean Cultural Office are holding cooking classes in October and November and are very affordable and pays for itself with the sit down meal at the end ๐Ÿ˜‰ For further information head on over here Traditional and Modern Tastes of Korea. Happy Chuseok and Moon Festival everyone!

Korean Cultural Office Cooking Class

Pyeon galbi

Butterfly and score the meat

Marinate in sesame oil, soy, green shallots, ginger, garlic and brown refined sugar

Simmer over a low heat for sweet, tender LA Galbi

Doen Jang – soybean paste

Kochujang Jiggae

Steamed rice

Wagyu strips


Mung bean pajeon

Banchan

Happy Chuseok!

Heather Jeong

Thank you KCO for a lovely afternoon and beautiful meal. Ayana attended courtesy of Korean Cultural Office.

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

Sake Restaurant & Bar

I’ve been to Sake twice more after my first visit with these lovely girls…way back when it was really hot during the Sydney summer…so I totally thought I’d blogged about this already, my bad.

Sake Japanese Restaurant & Bar (12 Argyle St, The Rocks) was the newest addition to the Argyle Precint at The Rocks serving contemporary Japanese food. First order of our summer lunch was ordering some cocktails to cool ourselves, I think most of us chose the girly Pink Blossom a cocktail mix of summer fruits and umeshu and it was just what I wanted and I loved crunching on those passionfruit seeds. Of course after seeing Sushi Chef Shaun Presland on Masterchef we could not forgo the sashimi tacos. The crunchy sashimi tacos are delicate and I loved the fresh salsa with the tuna and the sake shot went down rather smoothly. Chirashi sushi is one of my favourite dishes to indulge in Japan, so I was curious to see what the Chirashi salad was like and it was easily my favourite dish and one of the main reasons why I’ve returned to Sake. It was a deceptively simple salad presented with lashings of mayonnaise concealing a salad of sashimi pieces and soba noodles, omelette, and the best thing about it was the tenkasu – I’ve ordered this each time I’ve been back – it’s that good.The sashimi combo was the highlight for most with delicate pieces of fresh sashimi-grades slices sitting atop a bed of ice, hehe I was so happy to see slices of bonito besides the usual salmon and tuna. Other dishes we ordered was the grilled scampi cooked prefectly so the meat was easily pulled apart from the shell and the popcorn shrimp roll filled with bite sized prawn tempura pieces. Though we had plans to have dessert at La Renaissance patisserie we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try a couple of desserts at Sake. Desserts containing tofu is not unusual in Asian cuisines so we chose the Orange Tofu Cheesecake which was presently so prettily and I really enjoyed the subtlely of flavours of the tofu and Grand Marnier. The Frozen yuzu souffle was not quite what we imagined, it was more like a mousse than a souffle but I absolutely love the yuzu flavour and the I would have happily licked the miso-ginger caramel off the plate.

I was amazed at the amount of space in the restaurant and it’s ability to cater for all types of diners as we walked past the huge private dining rooms, smaller private rooms and dined surrounded by intimate booths too. Our waiter was charming and friendly and the atmosphere in the restaurant was abuzz. Sometimes I’m a bit skeptical of fancy takes on Japanese food but I’d happily come again and again for the funky and contemporary menu of Sake and kick back with plenty of delicious cocktails. 


Sake Restaurant and Bar
 
 
The Pink Blossom
Strawberries, citrus fruits, passionfruit smashed & combined with umeshu and cranberry juice

 
Sashimi Tacos
tuna and salmon sashimi filled baby tacos with chilled tomato salsa matched with Kozaemon Junmai ‘sake shots’

 
Chirashi Salad
Yuzu-dressed sashimi pieces, crunchy salad mix, thin noodles, sliced sushi omelette & flying fish roe topped with daikon tsuma & tempura crunch

 
Sashimi combo classic

 
Grilled scampi
grilled green tea salted scampi on daikon ribbon salad with yuzu dressing

 
Popcorn roll
prawn-tempura pieces rolled inside out with spicy mayonnaise and spicy tobiko

 
Orange Tofu Cheesecake
Grand Marnier tofu cheesecake with white sesame seed tuille

 
Frozen yuzu souffle
citrus-infused souffle with miso-ginger caramel sauce

 

Sake Restaurant & Bar 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

Quarter Twenty One Cookery School – Perfect Pork Crackling

A few weeks ago, I was looking for ideas for Bill’s Quarter of a Century birthday and I got a little sidetracked landing at Quarter Twenty One’s website. My eyes lit up at the sight of those three little words… "Perfect Pork Crackling", without a doubt Bill’s favourite foods are pork crackling, pork belly and a great piece of steak. And I knew this would be a nice little gesture to celebrate Bills birthday and had ourselves booked in for the express class.

Opposite Becasse Bakery is Quarter Twenty One (Level 5 Westfield Sydney) including the bistro restaurant and providore where I spy amazing produce, walls of wine and the pink salt that I usually take as souvenirs overseas ๐Ÿ˜› (You also get 10% off products if you’re attending the cookery school). Through the providore you’ll find yourselves at the Quarter Twenty One Cookery School run by the lovely Libby. The school is fitted with stainless steel tops, state of the art equipment and finished with a wall of mini spice jars giving a warm, intimate and homely feel.

The class began with the grinding the fennel seeds and salt in the mortar and pestle to massage onto our huge pork rumps after scoring the skin. After our mise en place was completed, accompanied with a glass of wine we watched as Head Chef of Quarter Twenty One Michael Robinson shared his knowledge and food inspirations with us. We watched in anticipation as he demonstrated how to cook the crispy pork crackling and accompanying side dishes of sprout and chestnut saute, caramelised pears and a potato puree whilst he and director Libby Travers provided us with tips and tricks to cook a fail safe dinner.

The end result? Hearing the crunch as the pork was cut into serving pieces and smelling sweetness of the pears and the beautifully caramelised brussel sprouts. Of course we got to eat some too!

We both loved the class and the idea of cooking for the soul – I think it was Bill’s first recipe too (hopefully not the last)! Though they call it a 45 minute express class, it was really relaxed able to ask questions and a casual way to perfect a culinary skill. A definite big bonus was we have completed most of the mise en place for dinner and ready to cook!

How did we go at home? Well… it didn’t go quite as smoothly as he demonstrated and took us nearly 90mins to get dinner on the table but practice makes perfect!

Quarter Twenty One
 
 

Quarter Twenty One Cookery School
 
 

 
Peering into the bag of goodies – brussel sprouts and chestnuts

 
Kurobuta pork rump ready to be scored and massaged with fennel seeds and pink salt

 
Head Chef Michael Robinson
Applying pressure to create that crispy crunchy crackling

 
*CRUNCH*

 
Perfect Pork Crackling
 
 
Sprout and chestnut saute, caramelised pears and potato puree

 
Bills version…practice makes perfect!
 
 
My version… we’re getting there!
 

Happy Birthday Bill! I hope you enjoyed the class and you’re more motivated to cook for us ๐Ÿ™‚

Quarter Twenty One 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

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

  
  
 

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Greenhouse by Joost

On gorgeous days such as today I find myself craving, fresh, light and simple foods much like the beautiful lunch we had at Greenhouse by Joost. Sadly Greenhouse by Joost has moved and is no longer situated on Campbells Cove against the backdrop of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. It was a pop-up restaurant within a shipping container which aims to create no waste. An interesting idea and a great concept – the chairs are made from aluminum irrigation pipes and leather off cuts, drinks are served in recycled jars and water in wine bottles, sustainable using fresh produce and waste is composted. Reflecting on the service we received at Quay also reminded me of the sincere apology we received when we dined at Greenhouse by Joost earlier in the year, which made a huge difference in our mood.

We find the huge orange building covered in greenery at 1030am and find that the restaurant is already a buzz with the lively chatter of customers. We’re promptly seated where we have a view of the Harbour Bridge and where we receive plenty of natural light. I especially loved the flower in the glass jars with our table number written on it. There are no menus when we arrive, however the walls are littered with words from the dinner menu. Our waitress kindly explains to us what’s on offer for breakfast this morning as all foods are made on the premises including breads. I choose the cinnamon donut and a cappuccino and Bill goes for the breakfast bar and a "jar" of freshly squeezed orange juice. Not long after our drinks arrive, however after 45 minutes our drinks were empty and we were still waiting for our food. We feel pretty guilty as we sat at our table for nearly an hour with no food on the table, while a line forms outside the restaurant in the rain as they huddle under their umbrellas. After an hour of waiting our waitress comes to our table, kneels down talking to us at eye level, sincerely apologised and explained our order got lost and never went through so she would try and get our food to us asap. It seems as thought we weren’t the only people who’s orders were forgotten as she starts to make the rounds around the restaurant – the table next to us chuck a tantrum, devour the food and leave. Finally our waitress brings out our food and offers me another cappuccino and advises that our breakfast this morning would be complimentary.
Since it was nearing the lunch service we ask the waitress if we could just stay for the lunch service and she was more than happy to accomodate for us and our lunch is served soon after we place our orders. I ordered the seared mullet where the skin was perfectly crisp and the flesh was soft and moist served with sweet, juicy tomatoes on a plank of wood. Bill went for a lighter lunch ordering the wood roasted baby carrots, beetroots and pistachios with some labne. The carrots and beetroots were caramelised bringing out the sweetness of the vegetables, while the labne gave it a touch of sourness and the pistachios added texture.
 
Normally we would have been pretty pissed that we had to wait an hour for breakfast to arrive, but for some strange reason we both felt pretty calm, content and at peace. I’m not sure whether that could be attributed to the positive concept that Greenhouse by Joost promotes or whether the simple and gorgeous dishes just made us super super happy. Nevertheless we had an enjoyable morning together. If only Greenhouse by Joost was a permanent addition to our harbour, it would be a great place to bring friends visiting from overseas and also bringing a positive awareness to the community.

Greenhouse by Joost
  

  

Fresh squeezed orange juice $5

  
Cinnamon donut & Breakfast Bar

  
Wood roasted baby carrots, beetroots and pistachio $16

  
Seared mullet and mixed tomato salad $26
  
 

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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 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

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 ๐Ÿ˜ฆ 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! 

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