Archive for the ‘Inner City’ Category

Thanks to heneedsfood.com I find myself at one of the latest additions to the Alexandria’s industrial site, Vicinity Dining. It’s 6 weeks in its inception and already it is getting a pretty good wrap.

Considered a welcomed change from the Grounds of Alexandria. It’s slick, it’s open and oh so cozy. It’s a one size fits all business model, engineered to suit all needs. From having a nice little drop – to bar, cafe and restaurant dining. It’s organic and serves up breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s so good… I overhear, “I absolutely live for their bacon and egg rolls!!”

sticky beef ribs

The sticky beef ribs were very difficult to forego. The ribs was sticky, spicy, saucy and simply a melt in your mouth joy. The apple gave it a beautiful texture and freshness while the sam jang mayo made it pure bliss.

The ribs were so tender that there was a moment where I picked up the bones so I could suck the meat off. Only to find that the meat slid itself straight off the bone!

The home made chicken liver parfait was absolutely delicious and served in its very own jar. The texture was silky, smooth and the flavour nice and buttery. At $14 it was unbelievable value and sizeable in its proportions to lay it on thick.

chicken liver parfait

lamb shoulder

triple cooked chips

Coerced by the wait staff with their eyes rolling into the back of their heads ‘to get the lamb shoulder’, it was a moment we would not live to regret.

The beautiful specimen was slowly cooked at 70 degrees for 12 hours and covered with a delicious pesto and yoghurt tahini sauce. The meat was beautifully flavoured and plentiful that we even had to get takeaway containers to take out the rest.

The triple cooked chips was unfortunately the weakest link. It is cooked once at 70 degrees, again at 180 degrees and finally once more at service. Given the process, it wasn’t as crispy as expected. It just tasted like regular chips. However, I adored the intensity of that triple smoked salt.

knickerbocker glory

I didn’t quite understand the knickerbocker glory until a couple of bites in. And for something as glorious as this, there is always room for firsts, seconds and thirds…

It begins with caramelised banana and home-made banana ice cream which might I add is the best ice cream I have ever had. Filled with layers of chocolate pieces, cookie crumbs, honey comb pieces and topped off with a burnt caramel crisp. That I’m starting to think knickerbocker glory is sincerely an understatement!

To finish, the affogato with cointreau (made to order) was another simple pleasure with the vanilla ice cream playing a leading role.

affogato

Welcome to Vicinity Dining, for some good wholehearted organic eating.

Vicinity Dining on Urbanspoon

Vicinity Dining

02 9002 1333

90-96 Bourke Road
Alexandria, NSW 2015

vicinitysydney.com.au
on facebook.com

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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 Seiōbo on Urbanspoon

Momofuku Seiōbo on Urbanspoon

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

IMG_2797

The Art of Pasta is one of my favourite cook books. I am completely enamoured with it. It is a stunning collection of pasta and Italian recipes that is artistically captured and presented through an inspiring collaboration between Artist and Chef. Showcasing two craftsman at their best. Dishes are uniquely dressed with the original artworks of Luke Sciberras that were inspired and painted simultaneously while Lucio prepared the food on set. The book is so exquisitely beautiful, creative and just so… explicit that I have admittedly drawn inspiration for my food photography right from this book.

art of pasta shots 1

I discovered from the Sydney Morning Herald Grower’s Market (Pyrmont) facebook page, that the two authors Lucio Galletto owner and chef of 2 Chef’s Hat Lucio’s Restaurant and David Dale would be completing two food porn-y pasta demonstrations up on the Master Chef Stage followed by book signing. Right in front of everyone too, which is a bit naughty!!

(more…)

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 Seiōbo 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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As part of January’s Sydney Festival 2012, the Festival launched in its 12th year running their annual event, Fast Festival Feasts.

Fast Festival Feasts offer either one of the following option at any of the following venues :

  • a one course and wine/bottled water for $30; or
  • two courses with wine AND bottled water for $55
I couldn’t resist the $55 offer and decided to surprise my girlfriend at Black by Ezard for her birthday. I had a feeling she wanted to come here anyway, we tend to think alike so I thought, “I want to go to which means surely she must too”.

Brioche with fresh butter and black volcano salt

We started with a loaf of piping hot brioche to share. We are not your typical fans of brioche, well… I personally find that it always sounds better than it actually tastes. Yet we both fell madly in love with it. The texture, taste and feel was a cross between a brioche and a croissant. Oh… croissants… Along with fresh a slather of butter and volcano ashen black salt, it tipped me right over the edge.

Heirloom tomato, basil sorbet, mozzarella, serrano jamon

Heirloom tomato, basil sorbet, mozzarella, serrano jamon

 

Given the two course meal deal, we elected to have one us order the entree and the other order the dessert, so we could share all three courses amongst ourselves. We began our entree with the heirloom tomato salad and the dish had nice earthy and balance of spring flavours throughout.

Organic Farm Egg, Potato cream, truffles, iberico ham, herb salad @ Black by Ezard

Organic Farm Egg, Potato cream, truffles, iberico ham, herb salad $36

As an added extra, I decided to order the luxurious and decadent organic farm egg salad. The signature dish received critical acclaim from food bloggers and food critics alike, so much so that we recently saw the price hike from $34 to $36.

The egg mound was held and wrapped inside a lattice of potato threads that was gloriously swimming in a pool of potato cream with truffle shavings and a slice of iberico ham to the side. Joey@foodiepop describes the dish as the Roll Royce version of your breakfast favourite. I however, felt that I had ordered the Lexus sleek convertible later to find out it was actually a Toyota. I was actually rather disappointed given the expectation, as well as the new price tag attached. The egg wasn’t gooey and that’s enough to make a girl pout, and the truffle? I couldn’t even taste it. Nor could Emma. I suspect we got unlucky given the positive reviews and at $36 a pop, I felt let down.

You can be the judge of the goo-o-meter.

 

Heirloom tomato, basil sorbet, mozzarella, serrano jamon @ Black by Ezard

A not-so-gooey egg being served
Grass fed angus, spinach pudding, mushroom and chive salad @ Black by Ezard

Grass fed angus, spinach pudding, mushroom and chive salad

Wow! This grass fed angus medallion was incredibly plump and juicy. You can tell but just looking at it! Every radiant slice and taste of the beef was a decadent, gratifying, silky, buttery mouthful. I am salivating just thinking about it. The mushroom and chive salad was just as stunning as the cafe au lait tinged sauce, which left me justifiably using my fingers to sweep the plate clean. I personally was not too fond of the spinach pudding which had a springy spongey texture and excessive taste of spinach. Even though I marvelled at the perfectly rounded green semi-sphere I kept it to one side.

Clover honey parfait. ginger biscuit, honeycomb and cinnamon @ Black by Ezard

Honey crunch – clover honey parfait. ginger biscuit, honeycomb and cinnamon

I couldn’t help but ring ahead and ask for the staff to personally write a happy birthday message for Emma G. Interestingly enough, this modest call lead to everybody at Black personally wishing her happy birthday at various intervals throughout the night. She was a tad overwhelmed and humbled but it all but I was very impressed with the attention to detail in sending my little message.

We finished our night with another tasty number – Honey crunch. The clover honey parfait was crumbed and coated with ginger biscuits granules. To the side we had a honeycomb piece nuzzled on top pile of cinnamon dust and together, it was a nice balance of flavours.

In all, our meal was delicious, our night was pleasant and at that price I couldn’t complain. Staff were extremely friendly and attentive which made the night all the more special for the birthday girl. The standout dish was the grass fed angus beef and despite the hype, it was not the signature dish. But for an Australian grill specialising in grass, grain, wet and dry aged beef with a price tag ranging between $45-$95 for just the beef. You would expect nothing less from the grill. I would definitely like to come back here but maybe after pay day or my annual bonus.

Welcome to Black, the star grill and a pricey one at that.

Black By Ezard on Urbanspoon

80 Pyrmont St Map.656a974
Pyrmont, NSW 2009
02 9777 9000