Archive for the ‘Hatted Restaurants’ Category

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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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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Darrell Felstead at Foveaux Restaurant (One Hat) puts forward a weird and wonderful menu to suit the adventurous diner. You have a nose to tail philosophy, a creative flair for reinvention and a pairing of unlikeliest of food types. Surely that should pique anyone’s interest? The menu challenges you conceptually and can be confronting if you’re not quite game. There’s the pepper nachos and sour cream ice cream which is said to quite popular or the duck cheese served with smoked duck and cuttlefish. What… is that all together? Or perhaps the veal tail is more to your taste? No matter where you turn, you can’t hide. It is not for the faint hearted and I like that. A lot.

With a Groupon voucher I was able to sample the menu at a reduced cost and for two people we received an entree and main for $59.

Prices quoted below are at al la carte prices.

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Guillaume Brahimi has announced on the 2 July 2013 that Guillaume at Bennelong will be shutting its doors by the end of 2013. Read here for further details. 

Guillaume Brahimi has had a formidable career to date. Born in Paris, his star was on the rise taking on various roles at three michelin restaurants.

Moving to Australia, Guillaume earns a record breaking two chef hats within 6 months of opening his restaurant Pond.¬†He is later invited to turn around Bilson’s at Circular Quay (now Quay) with no chef hats and 11/20 rating, remarkably taking Bilson’s to receive the coveted three chef hats.

In 2001, Guillaume is awarded the highly sought after contract to take over the restaurant at the Sydney Opera House. Within a year of its debut, it is recognised as one of the top 50 new restaurants in the world. The restaurant has a long list of accolades under its belt. Awarded year in and year out, it reaches the pinnacle (three chef hats) and today sits as a two chef hat restaurant with a 17/20 rating.

With his culinary prowess set against the backdrop of the most breathtaking views of our iconic foreshore. It is hard to believe that Guillaume at Bennelong is not on anyone’s hit list. This may be more the case than ever before, now that the space for the restaurant is up for tender with rumours that it may transform it into a cheap eats venue.

That said,  I was able to pay Guillaume a visit for my birthday before any major overhaul thanks to my sister Рagirlhastoeat.

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In the heart of the CBD, we find ourselves tucked away in one of my favourite restaurants in Sydney – Pendolino.

Awarded a “One Hat’ out of a possible Three Hats from the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide, I am always shell shocked as to why Pendolino is only given the one.

Being the veteran that I am, I became quite vocal of what we should order. I go in and advocate that we must try the beef carpaccio and the hand made ravioli with burnt butter sage sauce.

beef carpaccio

The first thing that immediately impresses upon you is the beautiful scent of truffles when the beef carpaccio is placed in front you. To taste every single morsel of flesh is phenomenal with its melt in your mouth texture. It is so tender it doesn’t even require so much as a chew, only a gentle slip into your mouth. The aromatic notes of the truffle, the saltiness of the testun barola cheese and soft crunch of the rocket cress deliver a delicious and sensory overload.

four cheese ravioli

This is a dish I simply can not do without. The hand made ravioli is expertly tended to and made to perfection. Resulting in the perfect thinness of pasta that is tightly wrapped around a delicious filling of spinach, parmigiano reggiano, gruyere, buffalo mozzarella.

The filling is beautifully plump and strikes the perfect balance between the mixture of cheese and the burnt butter and sage sauce. And the experience of the buttered sage leaves disintegrating along the roof of your tongue feels incredible.

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Porteno is 2 years in the running and already it has risen to the stars. Having recently been crowned at the Good Food Guide awards with the best chefs of the year (Ben Milgate and Elvis Abrahanowicz), Porteno is also brimming with a 2 hat rating to boot.

Ideal for meat lovers and big groups. It’s Argentinian fare, brought to you by a traditional Parilla¬†(barbecue) and Asado (pit of fire) with carcasses splayed and spinning for your viewing pleasure. This is expertly tended to by Elvis’ dad (Adan Abrahanowicz) and served to you by hot to trot 50’s pin up waitresses.

bbq eggplant

First up, Ensalada Palermo Viejo. Kind of like your pizza look-a-like and is covered in a tahini base with all the roasted trimmings nestled on top it with a gooey quail egg added for good measure.

Emma G ceremoniously did the honours of slicing and dicing (cos she always does this so immaculately) to reveal a delicious resounding crunch of the hard base and it only seemed fitting as she was London bound for an indefinite length of time. Naturally we had to make her pay for it and dish up everything in sight!

tuna

The tuna is cooked to expose a luscious pink in the middle centre and is rested upon this glorious garlic sauce. It is so tasty you could lick the plate and even your mum couldn’t hate you for it. And it all comes covered with asparagus, capers and jalapenos all smokey and charred to give it that added flavour and crunch.

blood sausage

I was pretty impressed with my food eating crew. We all leaped at the opportunity to hack into the blood sausage. Most people get put off by the thought of it. Not us… we practically hoovered it down, not even with the slightest hesitation or an afterthought. It was meaty, smokey and incredibly juicy on the inside.

pig

The 8 hour woodfired pig is justifiably famous and rightfully so. Its moist centre glistens with its own juices and with the fat shining just as bright. It tastes just as sweet. And of course, you can only judge a pig by it’s crackling. With a rock hard blistering exterior and indisputably emphatic crack against your jaw line, there is no arguing that this is the perfect pig.

lamb ribs

While tasty, the 8 hour woodfired lamb but didn’t quite hit the same note as the woodfired pig. I guess I’m just a die hard pink in the middle or (red raw if you will) kind of girl when it comes to my lamb.

polenta

This is so… good, that it has to be bad! The polenta comes out luxuriantly silky and rich that a couple of heaped spoonfuls is just right.

fennal salad

The fennel salad is tasty, textured and wonderfully fragrant.

brussel sprouts

Considered another non-negotiable must have item among Porteno fans.

If you’re not a fan of brussel sprouts, try their fried up and nutty version and it is likely to change your tune. It still has that distinct bitter brussel-ness to it but I can assure you most of the aftertaste subsides.

quince gorgonzola tart

This is not for the faint hearted, it boasts rich and powerful flavours. The quince sits within the gorgeous crumbly base while the gorgonzola cheese is whipped through the muscat ice cream. This is then piped on the tart’s surface. I personally loved the cross between sweet and savoury and find that all the flavours are a perfect accompaniment to one another. But this definitely had a lot of love-hate chit chatter going on at our table.

pav

Probably the best pavlova I’ve ever had and was an easy crowd pleaser among the group. And again, its considered a favourite of Porteno fans.

Unfortunately, the burnt milk custard, orange jam & chocolate ice cream didn’t quite do it for me. I’m not a fan of chocolate orange, so the battle was already lost before it had even begun. And the chocolate was just too rich for me. So really, I’m not really in a position to comment.

burnt milk custard and ice cream

Welcome to Porteno, for Argentinian fare served with Argentinian flare.

Porte√Īo on Urbanspoon

Porte√Īo

02 8399 1440

358 Cleveland Street
Surry Hills, NSW

porteno.com.au

The one dish you must try. Sake’s most celebrated dish. The sashimi tacos.

Eat ’em and weep.

sashimi tacos

2x tuna & salmon sashimi baby tacos with chilled tomato salsa matched with Kozaemon Junmai ‚Äėsake shots‚Äô $17

The minced morsels of sashimi flesh, the taco Jap inspired shell with the excruciatingly microscopic salsa beads is truly legendary. It’s enough to bring tears to your eyes.

bocconcini tempura

bocconcini tempura w reduced balsamic and lemon salt $10

bocconcini tempura 2

The thing I love most about this dish, is that the tempura bocconcini is remarkably stringy. This made for fun, long sweeping arm movements in order for us girls to firmly get the damn thing under control and safely into our mouths. You are left bound by your moral imperative to channel your inner child and play with your food. So, forget mum!

scampi tempura

tempura scampi tails with sweet ponzu, coriander & jalape√Īo slices $36

The tempura scampi tail was wonderful thick, plump and super sweet. The ponzu sauce made it even sweeter and the tempura batter liberally drank the sauce from the bottom up, leaving it positively dribbling with the sauce. The scampi tempura crossed between both crunchy and soggy territory. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed it!

sashimi tacos 2

sashimi tacos $17

I couldn’t resist it, fight it nor withstand it and thanks to good old fashion gluttony, we indulge in another round of the¬†sashimi tacos¬†with absolutely no shame.

kingfish double crunch

kingfish double crunch $15

The¬†sushi roll¬†looks simple enough but this baby is loaded with crunch, textures, layers and flavours on the inside and out. One bite and everything implodes. ¬†It’s pure perfection and I’m somewhat confused, overwhelmed and even a little ecstatic by this little humble roll.

dessert bento box

dessert bento box – chocolate cup cake, yuzu sorbet, nashi pear gyoza, passionfruit dipping sauce with matcha apple mousse sticks $22

We thought the dessert bento box was the perfect way for the pair of us to go out on the finish. The bento box is ideally paired for two and a great way to sample sweet Japanese inspired flavours along our palette.

The highlights were the¬†Yuzu sorbet¬†which served ¬†us with a refreshing hit and the¬†apple mousse sticks¬†was a crumbly and a creamy ensemble with this glorious goo spilling from the inside. The¬†chocolate cupcake¬†was too rich for my taste but Emma practically hoovered the poor thing down,¬†apple floss¬†also didn’t stand a chance while the¬†nashi pear gyoza¬†remained as the weakest link.

buttermilk pannacotta w raspberry coulis

buttermilk pannacotta w raspberry coulis – $12

Just to top things off, we were fortunate enough to receive a complimentary tasting of the¬†deconstructed Russian cream. I’m not sure why, but who am I to refuse Sake and my god, it was absolutely delicious.

Welcome to Sake Restaurant & Bar, for cutting edge Japanese food sitting firmly at the fore.

Saké Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

Saké Restaurant & Bar

02 9259 5656

12 Argyle St
The Rocks, NSW 2000

sakerestaurant.com.au

Apologies, it has been a while. I promise, I haven’t forgotten about you. Sometimes, things take over and get in the way of your food porn dreams. Including mine! Nevertheless here I am, Momofuku and all.

Momofuku Seiobo is not your typical establishment. It’s in your face and a robust up yours to the fine dining scene. Blasting Hip Hop, Grunge and Motown jams with an air of cool nonchalance mixed with the¬†odd cuss from the chefs and staff. Who both, personally run table service to all guests. This is not for the everyone. ¬†After that wretched booking system, it seems that the million dollar question is. “Is it worth the hype?” It does hold a $175 price tag and 2 hours later, I was bound to find out.

shiitake chips, nori, mochi and smoke potato with apple

The shiitake chips, nori and mochi had an interesting textural play on your japanese favourites. While the textures and reconstructions were quite playful I found there were nothing out of the ordinary in terms of the actual taste. Alternatively, the smoked potato with apple was definitely a knockout. The potato had these intense smokey tones and the encasing just crumbled under the slightest pressure when bitten. ¬†And when you think you have missed the apple and you’re ready to say ‘it’s over red rover’, the apple comes in right on the finish giving your palette a pleasant fruit tingle.

steamed pork belly bun, cucumber, hoisin and chilli sauce

The moment we had all been waiting for. The groping of the lengendary¬†David Chang’s pork buns. David’s pork belly is lusciously fat and full of flavour, wrapped inside a baby bum soft bun with a drizzle of that sweet sweeeet… hoisin sauce. Think deconstructed duck pancake. Delicious? Why yes. But I couldn’t help but feel surprised that this was the signature dish. Bloggers and friends seem to unanimously unite and say that David’s pork buns are better in the NYC noodle house. Who am I to judge though? I have never been.

sea mullet, nectarine and szechuan pepper

I am sad to admit that I found this dish very bland. The szechuan pepper and nectarine oil simply did not do this beautiful slice of pink sea mullet justice. I found the sea mullet was over powered with the szechuan pepper while the nectarine flavours were difficult to trace. There were also deep fried fish scales scattered along this dish. I did not like this one bit.

marron, fennel and dill

This dish was very tasty. I love it when you feel yourself bite through a perfectly plump sweet piece of marron. The mix of flavours were delicious with the squid ink puree was simply the perfect way to top it off.

wagyu beef cubes, radish and fermented beans

I loved the idea behind this dish. Eating spoonfuls of wagyu cubes topped with perfectly rounded wafer thin radish slivers. Again, I am sad to report that I felt there wasn’t a strong harmony across the flavours. I secretly wished that the Wagyu cubes were large enough for me to rip my teeth through them. At this size I could have swallowed them whole and due to the tiny morsels, it wasn’t really showing much pink. Which I personally think makes the best eye candy! The fermented black beans didn’t really do it for me either, so I steered clear.

smoked eel, jerusalem artichoke and pink grapefruit served with broth

The smoked eel, jerusalem artichoke and pink grapefruit was a pleasant dish with the sunflower seed puree combining it all. However, the broth was absolutely sensational. Its rich and deeply inherent flavours took over and I simply wanted to let go. So stunning and so remarkable it left me with my eyes wide shut.

mud crub, old bay, yorkshire pudding

Paying homage to our Mother England. Here we have crab pieces lavished with a marmite, pepper and butter sauce. This is served with a yorkshire pudding that just slurps up the butter sauce. Yummo!

egg, toasted rice brown butter

The steamed egg with toasted rice and brown butter is a very clever dish. An adaptation of an egg, it has an unusual interplay of textures that is simultaneously firm, delicate, wobbly and gelatinous. Served with a spoon, the spoon simply glides through the reconstructed egg like a hot knife through butter, only to reveal the gooey yolk centre that oozes out. Oh and if you’re wondering? It tastes like egg!

This dish is easily the most understated and unquestionably the best dish of the night. David’s¬†Pork bun, who? The agnolotti is encased with a pea puree and adorned with¬†ham and a parmesan foam. To eat this dish, spoon the agnolotti into place and dip it into the creamy foam while collecting the ham morsels. Place the spoonful in your mouth, let the foam sit there and taste it. Then push your tongue to the roof of your mouth and feel the puree centre burst inside of you. So heavenly, I would go through the agony of that booking system again, just to experience this dish once more.

Momo 18

mulloway, smoked roe and letttuce

Another fine dish, the mulloway and the sauce was a tasty little number. The to die for smoked roe gave it that surge of flavour that brought this meal from good to great. It had such an incredible flavour!

lamb neck, onion and mustard seeds

After all that seafood, I was pretty happy to be see red! I loved how evenly pink, juicy and perfectly tender this lamb neck was. The sweet onions, caramelised jus paired with the tang of the mustard seeds was lovely. At this point, I was so full but it was so good, I had to put this bad boy away.

honey licorice, bee pollen with cheese

To eat this dessert, you must dip your spoon vertically, from top to bottom making sure you capture all three layers, until you reach the goo tucked away at the bottom. This was a savoury, salty and sweet combination. It was extremely cheesy and I loved it.

peach, rose and pistacchio

Yum, yum, yum. I absolutely adored this dish too. The peaches felt like they had been soaked in bowl of tender goodness which was  juxtaposed with a creamy pistacchio ice cream and white meringue shards. Another great dessert.

Miso, cherries & black sesame

Oh stop it. I normally hate dessert. Why turn me now? The black sesame dust is sprinkled over the miso ice cream while the cherry sauce is concealed underneath. Again, make sure you push through all the layers and consume all the flavours all at once.

Petit Four Pork Shoulder - Whole

I had been eyeing this baby…

All… night…long.

Hubba hubba. Ring a ding dong.

I couldn’t take my eyes of it. I watched the Chefs’ slice it, man handle it, baste it and drizzle this beautiful specimen before service. Yes, very perve-y of me but I couldn’t stop glaaazing over it. To the point of being rude! I was neglecting the customary eye contact during dinner conversation. Oopsy. But you know, a lot of love went into that shoulder and I was going to love it right back.

I cheekily asked if I could take a photo of it, so I could get closer to it. They kindly brought the “hunk of love” over and gave me 2 minutes with it. *Snap, snap, snap*. Ohh yes… Now, I can have you my darling, forever…

Petit Four Pork Shoulder

Finally, there I was. Pork shoulder and I. Alone together with nothing between us, except Brazil and Emma to get in the way and a hot towel to wipe off the aftermath. Shy and a complete frigid at first, I couldn’t bring myself to press the meat slices in between my fingers. With a few words of encouragement, I plucked up the courage, I went for the grab and the rest is history. Tender, sticky pieces of pork leaving its sticky traces all over the place. Aaah… a piece of meat worth dying for. Why thank you miss piggy.

Was it worth the hype?

I am going to be really annoying and sit on the fence and say, “yes and no”. This was the general consensus amongst the group. Yes it a good meal and overall we did enjoy it. Given the price tag, the lengthy booking process, it was hard to support the hype due to some of the hits and misses throughout the night. Despite all that is said and done, Momofuku certainly pushes the boundaries and takes you to the limits. And at the end of the day, isn’t that what food is all about?

Welcome to Momofuku and to white picket fences. Over and out.

Momofuku SeiŇćbo on Urbanspoon

Momofuku SeiŇćbo on Urbanspoon

http://www.momofuku.com/restaurants/seiobo/

Ok. So we all know. It’s an absolute nightmare to even make a booking.¬†The booking form is as famous as the restaurant itself.

It’s rigid, comprehensive and virtually impossible. It almost makes you want to give up on food. Life even!

So I thought, what better way to enable my fellow foodies by writing up about my first-hand booking experience and share with you some of my key tips picked up over the course of a month.

With the hope that one day, you could almost certainly secure a spot at the elusive¬†Momofuku SeiŇćbo¬†restaurant. Or at least die trying.

My experience was no easy feat. Oh no no… But practice makes perfect and with countless attempts later, I would hone my clicking and typing skills down to a ‘T”, eventually taking me to see the bright lights of sweet success.

I would ceremoniously log in everyday at 10:00, enter my details, hit ok, only¬†to find crosses everywhere along the reservation table. This would already be my third week running…

Finally, I found a green tick that was available for me to click on. Ding ding ding – Jack pot.

momofuku - green

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This would be my second visit to Pendolino and a long overdue one at that. After 3 years I still remember from my first visit the stand out dishes that I had longed for ever since. The oysters with a tomato vinaigrette that ruled my world, the beef carpaccio that was out of this world and the ravioli that was out of this planet. When Brazil challenged the very existence of incredible Italian food, I took him straight here to be taken to the moon and back. And to the moon and back he and I both went.

Assortment of olive oils @ Pendolino

Assortment of olive oils

 

Complimentary bread @ Pendolino

Complimentary bread

We commenced our night with an assortment of olive oils and fresh fluffy focaccia. We were presented with a fruity, lemon and orange olive oils to introduce us to their olive oil range.

Freshly Shucked Coffin Bay Pacific Oyster served with Salmon Pearls and Pendolino Tomato Vinaigrette @ Pendolino

Freshly Shucked Coffin Bay Pacific Oyster served with Salmon Pearls and Pendolino Tomato Vinaigrette $4.50 each

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