Stressless Sunday Dinner, Ormeggio at the Spit, Mosman

Ormeggio at The Spit is located at D’Albora Marinas and enjoys stunning views of Middle Harbour and Pearl Bay. The restaurant is headed up by Executive Chef Alex Pavoni and serves up Italian food in a traditional way but with a contemporary twist. In the last two years, Ormeggio has claimed 2 hats by the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide in 2013 & 2014, and has been awarded the hatted honour since 2009.

From 6pm every Sunday, Ormeggio at the Spit hosts a Stressless Sunday Dinners where you can enjoy a 6 course degustation menu for $69 per person. The 6 menu items are taken from their al la carte menu and can change week in and week out. Thank you Chris, MAB vs Food blog for putting me on to it.

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To start, the biodynamic veal tonnato (veal tartare) sets the scene with its magnificence and it is literally quite mind blowing. The veal pieces arrive with dried capers and dried anchovies. Something I have not had before giving it a brilliant crisp wafer crunch and saltiness to the velvety veal. The tuna mayo was deliciously intense and creamy with the shaved bottarga giving it a delectable oceanic touch.

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Guillaume at Bennelong – The Last Supper

Since publishing this post, Stokehouse have announced 11 March 2014, that they have pulled out of the Bennelong project and will not occupy the Sydney Opera House site

Guillaume at Bennelong sadly closed its doors to the public on the 31st December 2013, after making the controversial decision not to renew the tender with the Sydney Opera House. The announcement of this news was almost as heartbreaking as the thought that the venue would be turned into a bistro style restaurant and cafe. To the disappointment of onlookers, it was widely known that the Sydney Opera House insisted on creating a venue that was more accessible to the public. However, all is not lost. Guillaume Brahimi is currently renovating his new restaurant in Paddington, for a late April to early May opening. It will be named Guillaume, taking over the Darcy’s restaurant site and is said to be a more relaxed dining experience than its Bennelong self.

It will be interesting to see the Stokehouse by Bennelong, with the Van Haandel Group securing a 10 year lease. Opening day is set for May 2014, where the venue will see a two tier site with casual dining on the upper level and a more sophisticated two hat dining experience on the ground level.

I wanted to visit Guillaume at Bennelong one last time before it was all over. You can read about my first visit here. Today, we sat down to 4 courses for $150.

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Rockwell & Son, Collingwood – What is a Smashed Patty?

My burger blitz continues at Rockwell and Sons. Rockwell and Sons is located on Smith st, Collingwood, about 500m from the very first Huxtaburger in Melbourne. It breathes an industrial small bar feel where Manu Potoi (ex-Attica), and Casey Wall (ex-Cutler and Co) take on a menu that is a cross between American dude food and French cuisine. The menu is organised into share plates, sandwiches and sides where you can get your paws on a generous serving of crispy duck confit wings ($12). Or perhaps you can have the chicken liver parfait ($14), or the smoked lamb ribs with Kentucky BBQ sauce. It isn’t American food without the obligatory fried chicken (in this case sandwich $12) and mac n cheese ($8), of course! Nothing is priced over $14, which is great when you consider the pedigree behind the counter.

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Huxtaburger, Collins St Melbourne

If you are a bit of a burger geek like me, then Huxtaburger should be on your burger bucket list. Starting up in Collingwood in Melbourne, it is making its way to new locations in the CBD and Prahran with rumours that there is more to come.

The CBD store is located on Collins St at Fulham Pl just off Flinders Lane. Starting from $9 they offer a seriously quality burger and it all comes down to the quality of ingredients. They use Moondarra Wagyu beef and a deliciously glazed buttered sweet bun. It is light, sweet and glossy which melts away with the rest of its glorious insides. It is the stuff that burger dreams are made of. Some have said it comes very close to the ultimate Shake Shack burger and I totally hear you… There is even a ‘separated at birth’ type resemblance but I would still give the gold medallion to Shake Shack. Shake Shack has cheesy fries. Enough said.

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The burgers here are curiously named after the family members in the Bill Cosby show. There’s Bill with pineapple, beetroot, bacon and egg ($12), or you may also want to consider the hot favourites. Like the Denise ($10) with beef, cheese, tomato, lettuce, jalapenos and sriracha mayo or artery clogging Theo ($12). That’s a double patty, double cheese, bacon, mustard, mayo, tomato sauce, bbq sauce, tomato, lettuce & pickles on a buttered sweet bun. Sweet Jesus.. saying it out like that sounds bad. Did I actually consume all of that? ‘THE’ almighty Theo. I hadn’t realised… but can I just say it was FREAKING AWESOME and worth every penny that triple by-pass is going to cost me. It was so good, that I immediately wanted another.

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Catalina, Rose Bay – 3 course semi-set menu

Awarded One Chef Hat, Catalina is perched along the edge of the water in Rose Bay. The venue offers sweeping panoramic views of the Sydney Harbour from an expansive open dining area containing an impressive indoor and outdoor space. You can watch sail boats, wind surfers, ferries and sea planes float on by. Its location means you can arrive in style, either by sea plane, boat or ferry making it no stranger to celebrities or wedding functions. Today I am here for a different kind of celebration, my girlfriend’s hens lunch, where we sat down to a sumptuous three course semi-set menu for $110 per person. This is the bride-to-be’s favourite dining spot and I can easily see why.

$110 semi-set menu also includes bread, chips, salad, coffee/tea and petit fours.

Prices quoted below are as they appear on the al la carte menu.

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Buns and Balls, Kings Cross

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If the name doesn’t grab you by the buns let alone by the balls, then surely the food and booze will. Buns and Balls is located just under Hugo’s Bar and Lounge on Bayswater Road and is headed up by Gary Linz, founder and owner of Opporto and Bondi Pizza. The new venue brings a cool and casual atmosphere to what some might consider as a bit of divey end of town. Here you can knock down a few cocktails, chink your wine glasses, grab some buns and balls around the loungey outdoor area,or you can take it inside to where the pool table or foosball is at.

Since publishing this post Buns and Balls have announced that they have closed and will be reopening in the Eastern Suburbs due to the new licensing laws.

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The Dining Room, The Park Hyatt

The Dining Room located inside the Park Hyatt is situated underneath one of Sydney’s most prime landmarks, the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The restaurant itself is also perched right in front of the Sydney Opera House and offers up the most spectacular views of the harbour. The decor is as breath taking as the views, creating a warm, intimate and modern setting.  Since October 2013, the menu has been headed up by newly appointed Head Chef Franck Detrait and  undoubtedly showcases the hallmarks of his culinary experience back in France. Including his notable stint at one michelin star Vendôme in Paris. Mains are roughly at the $40 mark, making the $95 for a tasting menu exceptional value for 6 courses. This includes three entrees, two mains and one dessert from the menu.

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Fratelli’s Wood Fired Pizza, Cremorne

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For a wood fired pizza that is absolutely delicioso, head to Fratelli’s Wood Fired Pizza in Cremorne. The Pizza is as it should. It’s simply, tasty and all topped on a delicious pizza base, that’s thin, crusty with a bit of chew. There are even lovely little air pockets, creating more flavour and texture, with its lovely burnt rounded edges flaking away with each bite. The setting is a mix of dine in and take away where you get the “it’s your local” feel, making the service really homey and friendly.

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Wok On Inn, The Rocks

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It’s a gorgeous day in Sydney and I find myself with founder of Wok On Inn and with the two lovely ladies from 6DC PR (Sara and Julie). All have accompanied me to show off Wok On Inn’s latest venue at the Rocks, tucked away just a hop, skip and away from the Lowenbrau. I have to admit I’m feeling quite inspired when I meet Ankur Sehgal, founder and owner of the Wok On Inn franchise. He shares with me his vision and what sets Wok On Inn apart. “It’s all about dishing up street food that’s authentic, bold and affordable”, he says. Wok On Inn is just like any street food you would find back in Asia. There’s no MSG, meat is chemical free or grass fed and they pride themselves on using the freshest highest quality ingredients. It is about being as real as it comes, with its hawker stands, outdoor communal seating and help-it-yourself cutlery. What makes it even better is that Wok On Inn represents 8 different flavours across 8 different regions. That’s Chinese, Thai, Indonesian, Malaysian, Singaporean, Mongolian & Korean. Ankur (Owner) has also made every effort to preserve each origins inherent traditional flavours by going in so far as to create their very own authentic Asian sauces from each country of origin. All made with locally sourced ingredients.

We order three dishes to share. The Pad Thai, Bangkok Noodles and Uncle’s Drunken Noodles ($12.95 each) but during lunch this is ($9.95 ) with a can of drink/water but even at full prices it is still much cheaper than my local!

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The Choc Pot, Burwood

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If chocolate is your vice then The Choc Pot’s for you. Power couple Ash and Deirdre have taken the plunge and are dipping into all things chocolate, serving up home made desserts with quality wholesome ingredients. You can experience things like callebaut chocolate in their molten choc pot (worth selling your soul for) home made waffles, home made marsh mellows, deliciously mouthwatering salted caramel hot chocolate or a red velvet one if you fancy. You can also expect to see cold drinks served with a twist. Mmmm… make that everything else that’s on the menu. Crowds are already coming far and wide and making the pilgrimage to The Choc Pot home in Burwood. With their star quickly on the rise, I can only predict a bigger and bigger future for 2014.

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