Drink Better Wine, North Sydney

Drink Better Wine was conceived so that a bottle shop could operate in the same space as a restaurant. Customers could eat their way through the menu, walk the aisles of the cellar, pick their wine and drink straight from the bottle without paying any corkage.

Since their conception, they have changed their pricing structure to match their online wine prices which is at a significantly reduced cost. To make up for the difference, they now charge a $10 corkage per bottle. I am told that even with the corkage the price still works out to be cheaper. Even so, the sound of not paying corkage versus paying corkage, will always have a better ring to it. Even if this means passing on the savings to the end consumer.

I’m not terribly phased though, good food and good wine awaits me and it will be cheaper too!

collage - fpn

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Gnome Espresso & Winebar, Surry Hills

gnome space

Gnome is located just moments away from the main hustle and bustle of Crown St. It’s a great spot for breakfast, brunch & lunch. It operates as a cafe by day and wine bar by night. So you can wine and dine on Wednesday to Saturday nights if you fancy.

Food is cheap and cheerful, which is great given that the produce is locally sourced, sustainable and organic but it comes without the price tag. Staff are switched on and personable in their approach,  that when you order your next round of coffee, they remember your coffee order to the letter - no questions asked. You really can’t go wrong.

coffee

Brazil takes on the ocean trout sandwich ($12). Served with capers, dill, mascarpone & watercress. At $12, I am really impressed with the quality of ingredients and serving size of the sandwich not only in its entirety but also with the generous helpings of ocean trout and subsequent fillings.

ocean trout

I opt for the ultimate self destruction and take on the super grilled cheese ($12). It’s stuffed with cheddar, gruyere, buffalo mozarella & prosciutto. The cheeses are fit for purpose and are served at melting point. Again, at $12 I more than impressed with the variety and quality of cheeses. And more so, at the amount of it that is served.

So much so, that the sandwich had this pulsing white buffalo centre, which I had to squeeze and pop open. Which was pretty spectactular. And to top it all off, there are these beautiful prosciutto layers on top that blends remarkably well. Adding a meaty saltiness against all the other creamy and crunchy textures of the cheese and bread.

super grilled cheese

Welcome to Gnome Espresso & Winebar, for a great little find.

Gnome Espresso and Winebar on Urbanspoon

Newmarket Hotel, St Kilda Melbourne

bone marrow & beef brisket taco

What immediately strikes you about Newmarket Hotel is the impressive use of space. Its industrial urban chic contrasted with a cosy panache.

The space is divided between pub-come-bar-come-restaurant. The decor blends and overlaps one another and its the unmistakable change in scenery that marks the separation.

Pub/bar-goers linger around the front courtyard either in park tables or high tables tops. Venture further inside and you will find serious diners located firmly in proper tables and chairs.

The blended approach also takes shape in the menu. It promises a taste of latin, southern and californian influences. The menu reads so well that you wonder if you’re ever going to get out of there without ordering everything that’s on there! Uttering words like truffles, low and slow, 36 months matured and garlic chips. Everything reads deliciously that I just want to eat their words!

bone marrow & beef brisket taco 2

The bone marrow taco is unctuous. A gooey buttery mush with the chimichurra playing a helping hand in intensifying the flavours. I had it ‘with’ and ‘without’ the taco and preferred the marrow on its own. It didn’t require any meddling with the robust flavours of the spicy bbq brisket. It was simply gorgeous on its own. However at ($24) for three, our individual marrow piece came out on the smaller side and was no larger than an inch.

field mushrooms w garlic chips

A healthy portion of the field mushrooms ($9) melded beautifully with the drizzled dollops of jalapeno crema and crunchy garlic chips. Both added texture, salty and umami notes to this earthy dish.

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Wooden Spoon Bar & Restaurant, Cremorne

I was very excited to be recently invited to sample the menu at Wooden Spoon Bar and Restaurant. Being a local to the area I was keen to check out our new addition to our parts.

On arrival we were seated along the bar area. We began by warming things with a serving of polenta fries with gorgonzola sauce and a cocktail to boot. We chose the Daim Soutar, a blend of Baileys, Frangelico, Amaretto, cocoa and cream. For all you alcoholic chocaholics out there, this can’t be beaten!

polenta fries w blue cheese sauce

daim soutar

Soon after, we were taken to the restaurant area to begin our meal. I thoroughly enjoyed tearing through the zucchini flower top to get to the warm goats cheese centre. The lightly battered texture of the flower with the warm salty filling was always going to visually and physically go down well. The salad of cherry tomatoes, beans and rocket was a lovely accompaniment to offset the richness of the zucchini centrepiece.

zucchini flowers w goats cheese

zucchini flowers 2

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Beef Steak Club, Kingsley’s Steak and Crabhouse

I was recently invited by the lovely Sarah Ashmore from the Pacific Restaurant Group to attend the Kingsley’s Steak and Crabhouse quarterly event, the Beef Steak Club.

And of course, I was more than happy to sign up and join the club :)

Traditional Beef Steak Clubs finds itself all the way back to 1700′s, a British tradition that enjoyed the circles of actors, artists and even the likes of royalty and statesmen. The Kingsley Restaurant have adapted the beef steak club so that everyone is welcome, to wine and dine in good company.

dinner table

One thing I gathered quite quickly from the Beef Steak Club is that the guests who attend, attend all of the quarterly events. They join forces to talk food, literally stuff their faces and to get absolutely annihilated by the wine.

It is an absolute onslaught of food and wine, that I was positively beside myself. So best to purge your bowel before coming.

It is also great value for money. For $90 you receive canapes, a set 4 course menu and an endless stream of matching wines. To which, I later found out that Kingsley’s don’t make a profit from these events!! They do it to reward their loyal guests and club members.

Nevertheless some of the club go-ers do tend to take the membership quite seriously. See below…

steakman

Chef

scallop

I’m not normally a scallop person but this was one of the sweetest things I have ever tasted. It was a sizeable little thing too, I’m talking 50 cents here and bloody thick. I think thats what helped keep the juices in tact. The venison chorizo was a tasty sliver of salty cured goodness while the sweetcorn puree was a creamy touch that bound it all together.

marron

The marron tail was a beautiful piece of flesh and was even prettier with the jewels of caviar drizzled all around it. Give it a good swirl and dunk into the jerusalem artichoke and get set for lift off.

wagyu

This right here, is wagyu beef cheek in all its cheeky glory. It was rich, tender, juicy and was a pure hunk of that ‘melt in mouth’ chunk of love that just kept on giving. And those braising juices weren’t bad either.

polenta

pecan pie

To finish, we were served a delicious dessert of pecan pie and honey ice cream. It was a gooey, crumbly, nutty and buttery way to complete my night.

Welcome to Beef Steak Club, for an absolute onslaught of food and wine. Over and out.

A special thank you to my hosts at the Pacific Restaurant Group for a truly wonderful night and for having me as their guest.

Kingsleys Steak & Crabhouse on Urbanspoon

Kingsley’s Steak and Crabhouse

1300 546 475

6 Cowper Wharf Rd
Woolloomooloo, NSW 2011

kingsleys.com.au

$39 Ladies Lunch, The Village, Potts Point

As Excuse Me Waiters plus 1, I attended the Ladies Lunch Blogger Event at The Village, for a very sizeable set menu and cocktails jugs to boot. And for anyone who knows me best, surely knows that I couldn’t even stand a chance of saying no to that.

For just $39 per person on Saturdays and Sundays, you can round up the girls for wine/cocktails and a very sizeable set menu all dished up in a very stylish, sheik and modern setting.

promo

antipasto sharing plate

Antipasto Plate – cured meats, artichokes, chargrilled red peppers, semi-dried tomatoes, marinated olives, hummus, beetroot dip & toasted sourdough.

The Antipasto Plate was a great way to kick things off and share between perfect strangers. The ginormous jug of Pimm’s  was definitely enough to corrupt my poor innocent soul and get the conversation a flow, to talk to whom ever and say what ever.

pimms 

salt n pepper squid

Salt and pepper squid came out sweet, juicy and fresh. The aioli was so good you wanted to let the squid, sit, dip and rotate. And then sit some more in all its garlicky glory.

sicilian arrancini

smoked mozzarella arrancini, drizzled with tomato puree and crumbled parmesan.

While tasty, I thought this dish was missing the robust flavours in an arrancini that I am used to seeing. Still the arrancini was sizeable enough lavishly covered in tomato puree, parmesan shavings.

roasted pumpkin salad

The addition of the simple yet a tasty salad of salty feta, toasty pine nuts and roasted fleshy pumpkin helped ease the damage I was doing to my poor arteries. And let’s not forget the the tomato, basil and mozzarella salad too. Yep… anything to make me feel better. WOO! Kind of like the big mac meal with a diet coke combo.

jdecor

caprese salad

margarita pizza

Quickly back on to carb mode, the margarita pizza was a simple and tasty number, served on a thin crust with a thin coating of tomato, cheese and basil. No muss, no fuss.

chocolate fondant

Chocolate Fondant with Raspberry Coulis and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

I rarely ever “do” desserts. I’m more of a savoury over sweet kind-of-girl. But this Chocolate Fondant made me food-o so hard at the table, it was unbelievable. I don’t think I have ever umm… done that over a dessert, let alone a chocolate one? It had that crumbly exterior, an interior of liquid chocolate silk and that vanilla bean ice cream was pretty bang on too.

apple and berry crumble

I just LOVE this shot of Yvn from Excuse Me Waiter poking in. She kept apologising (bless her) but really, I think it made for a great shot! I also think this shot accurately captures the scene and mood of the event, just times it by 30!! It’s quite funny seeing yourself being reflected back at you 30 times!

Welcome to the Ladies Lunch, for a perfect way to get the girls out, for a glass and half and a meal that’s a steal.

Food Porn Nation dined as a guest of The Village

The Village on Urbanspoon

The Village

02 8084 6057

Kings Cross

1 Kellett Way
Potts Point, NSW 2011

For all other posts on the event, please visit:

Excuse Me Waiter

Nic Cooks

Mini Bites

Gluttonous Hipster 

The Food Book

Just Desserts

If I have missed your post, please drop me a line and let me know!

The White Hart, cocktails that eats like a meal

When you enter the gorgeous British concocted setting, it is oh-so-dapper and swoons you with its dashing English charms. The White Hart in Neutral Bay is famously known for showcasing the best cocktails in the area, and it’s popularity is rising, encouraging a mass exodus from south of the bridge. Edible cocktails being the main attraction.

Ranked as #2 best bars in Sydney and recently dubbed the top honour of Best Small Bar of the Year in 2011, I was very intrigued to find out more. It offers an extensive boutique cocktail menu, fine wines, tapas and dining menu to boot.

What an absolutely stunning looking dish with its bright colours leaping out at me from the table. The taste of it was equally as appealing with the creamy saltiness of the garlic aioli fish sauce along the sweet tang of the white balsamic jelly.

I almost went for another one. I only curse the day I couldn’t have a faster metabolism.

edible cocktail breakfast mojito

breakfast mojito – serves 2

The breakfast mojito is your deconstructed version of your cuban cocktail. The breakfast drink crosses more into your high school science experiment.

You brush your teeth with the mojito toothpaste (and don’t forget your gums). Rinse any residual paste with the listerine mojito mouthwash and knock that bad boy right back. Nibble away at your candied mint leaf until it disintegrates, then take your syringe and shoot on up your dosage of rum. What an ingenious way to get wasted!

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