Archive for the ‘Sydney CBD’ Category

Swine & Co. is brought to you by the Urban Purveyor Group. The master minds better known for Saké Restaurant & Bar, Ananas Bar & Brasserie, The Cut Bar & Grill, The Argyle, The Lowenbrau and Bavarian Bier Café.

The name Swine & Co really provides the basis and inpsiration behind the menu. Expect to see pork, pork and more pork. A glorified Mr Crackles, the menu is full of gusto, serving up crispy pig’s tail ($19), black pudding ($22) & lamb brains ($15). There’s more pork to be had with their mains of pork belly ($34) or suckling pig ($40) with a promise of that quintessential crackling. You can even eyeball that beautiful little piggy spit roasting away before you decide to take it or leave it. Even though, it should be mandatory. For lunch time only, they have a deli menu serving up more deliciousness with pork belly rolls ($12), reubens ($14) & a sinful concoction of prosciutto, provolone jaffles with truffle butter ($11).

But today. I fully intend to get porked.

black pudding - fpn

Black pudding with Hervey Bay scallops, foie gras, lime caviar and a quinoa crisp ($22)

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Uccello is tucked away on Level 4 of the Ivy and overlooks the Ivy Pool, which I find weird as I have never really seen this with my very own eyes in broad daylight. Think Pacha. It’s a great spot if you are wanting to make the most of the great sunny weather and make use of a city slicking roof top pool. You can eat, eat, eat and let it all hang out. Minus the itsy bitsy teeny weeny.

Headed up by David Lovett, the menu promises an authentic Italian experience, with a less is more approach. It focusing on good quality produce and it shows. The seafood is incredibly fresh, the pasta is hand-made and flavours are subtle yet tasty enough to make each and every dish truly sing.

The highlight of meal, apart from eating all this gorgeous food was seeing Karl Stefanovic in the flesh. I have a massive man crush on him! You really have to love a man that can make you LOL in the morning when you have your cranky pants on and panda eyes are in full swing!

collage - fpn

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Ramen has the power to polarise people to cause widespread debate on “Where to find the best ramen?” and boy will we hunt it down. It is Japanese soul food at its core and has developed from the humble streets of Japan to achieve a cult-like status.

Since its grand opening, Ippudo has been hot on everyones lips.

“Is it as good as they say?” (See previous post).

Whether you agree or disagree, Ippudo has to be said and done.

I was invited to return to Ippudo to take on a crash course ramen 101 session and to learn more about the Ippudo experience. There was also the offer to try all their ramen. How could I refuse.

Dress with expandable waistline?? Check!

collage fpn

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I’m a regular here and this is easily one of my favourite lunch spots around work. Every time I walk in I’m greeted with a, “Ciao bella” and if I’m lucky enough I will get a kiss on the cheek, breathing an Italian charm into the place. Even if I’m walking along the street and they spot me, it is still ciao bella time.

Serving up outstanding dishes with quality ingredients, everything is reasonable priced and well-portioned. I would go so much as to say that they serve the best Italian in the CBD. It is best to book or come in just at 12 to beat the lunch rush. Otherwise, get your food to go and they’ll knock off a couple of dollars. Somewhere between the $2-$4 dollar mark.

The lunch menu is organised by antipasto, panini, salads and pastas, where you can order your choice of pasta and sauce. The menu is waited on by super charged energizer bunny staff who hop, skin and leap around you efficiently. Their full-of-life personalities are so infectious that it can’t help but always seem to brighten up my day.

linguine boscaiola

More often than not, I will order the linguine boscaiola ($16.50). It is the ultimate, served with pancetta, mushrooms, caramelised onions in a cream sauce. The use of pancetta and caramelised onion add another dimension to this favourite. The pancetta creates a lovely smokiness and chewiness while the caramelised onions carries a sweetness into this savoury dish.

The side of parmesan is served in a generous bowl, so you can sprinkle as much or as little as you like. Most places tend to serve you pittance and I think this tiny detail makes such a difference to the experience and taste of your meal, especially when the parmesan is of such a high quality.

Garlic bread ($5.50) is beautifully fragrant and crusty, it is the perfect contraption for dipping, especially into somebody else’s plate!

linguine w peas

Linguine with peas, pancetta, garlic, chilli & truss tomatoes ($16.50) is not for the faint hearted. It packs a bit of a kick and is full of flavour with the chilli and garlic. Again, the sauce takes on a delicious smokiness with the use of pancetta. This is so stunning, it’s hard to think I am on my lunch break. Shouldn’t I be at a food court somewhere?

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Ippudo has quickly become to what some would consider as legend. Conquering the likes of New York, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Seoul, Shanghai. Ippudo has firmly found its place in Sydney’s Westfield. Since its opening it has quickly drawn in the crowds and cult following with its signature ramen and pork buns.

ippudo - close ramen

Ippudo specialises in Tonkostu ramen and offers up 3 variations of this:

  • Akamaru shinaji (above): the recipe is 25 years old and includes miso, garlic oil, pork belly, black mushrooms, bean sprouts and shallots – the Tonkotsu broth is slow cooked with pork bones to add extra depth of flavour
  • Shiromaru motoaji: Tonkotsu broth served with Hakata ultra thin noodles and includes pork loin, black mushrooms, cabbage & shallots
  • Karaka men: Tonkotsu broth with Hakata wavy noodles and includes spicy miso paste with ground pork

You can also specify the firmness of your noodles from “soft, medium or firm”. Which is funny because as a child I loved them soggy but as I have gotten older, I have graduated up to medium and now firm. I love a firm texture! They recommend having it firm but I wonder, how do you like your ramen?

akamaru w flavoured egg

Having tried 2 out of 3 Ramen’s at Ippudo, the Akamaru with flavoured egg ($18) is my absolute favourite. I love the intensity and richness of the broth and every bowl of Ramen always comes down to the broth.

The broth comes positively gleaming with richness and flavour. I am so impatient I quickly go in for the dive and I completely immersed in it. It is sensational.

I also love the fragrant hints of garlic oil and the option to swirl the miso paste into your broth. To do so, lifts the broth to the highest order.  My ramen is firm, adding texture and bite contrasting nicely with the fork tender pork belly that melts. The addition of flavoured egg is luxuriant, oozing its way out. Soft, rich and plump.

ippudo pork bun

The ippudo pork buns ($4) are so delicious, every mouthful is just as delicious as the next. The buns are super soft, the pork is spicy, fatty and tender. Setting itself apart from the creaminess of Japanese kewpie mayo and crisp lettuce leaves. Reminds me a lot of the famous Momofuku pork buns.

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the rook collage fpn

The Rook is the newest venture from the Keystone Group and is responsible for likes of The Loft, Cargo Bar & Bungalow 8. It is considered the latest Rooftop bar to hit Sydney. Well… ‘ish’. There is an open bit, some windows (some plastic-ky ones) and hopes to make the rooftop retractable.

It appears to be loosely based on London’s Burger and Lobster concept, where the menu is limited to burgers and lobsters. Word of mouth is that the food isn’t The Rook’s strong suit. Its a great place to have an after work drink, draws on a buzzy crowd, bangs out some good tunes but appears to fall short on the food front. Remaining positive, I am keen to find out for myself.

lobster roll.

The lobster roll ($25) comes positively jammed packed. The lobster filling includes additions of potato, corn, mayo, onion, jalapenos and bears a strong likeness to a potato salad. Unfortunately, it was under seasoned and missing a bit of punch. Yet the flavours were strong enough to overwhelm the delicate lobster.

Being one who likes to “eat with their eyes” I found that I would have also preferred the lobster in larger chunks. I really wanted to see the hero of dish and then, I wanted to be able to feel it when I tasted it.

truffle fries

Truffle fries quickly make for good munching. Yet the truffle flavour is lost on me very quickly and appears to be only lightly doused. They smell and taste delicious at first but unfortunately the wonderful aroma quickly subsides. The side of tomato salsa quickly comes to the rescue. It’s smokey, tangy, acidic and quite intense. Delicious as it may be it doesn’t quite make up for the absence of that beautiful truffle.

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After a 17 month restoration project the Gowings building has been resuscitated back to life with the QT Hotel – a hotel, spa, bar and restaurant. Inside you will find the Gowings Bar and Grill – a European style brasserie serving up seafood, steaks, woodfired meats and rotisserie fowl. Try and time your visit for Friday at lunch for the pinot and suckling pig special, if you can.

Located between the historical Gowings building and the State Theatre, the Bar & Grill has that staged New York Broadway feel to it.  Walk on in and you will taken by the slab of tuna hanging by its tail cut wide open and red raw. Hello… fish bits.

With its extensive menu, it is difficult to decide what to eat and what to forego. Everything looks like a win and equally very expensive. $38 schnitzel anyone?

crab cakes

For her entree Ms G takes on the hot spanner crab cakes ($19). I’m given a taste and already I’m hit with food envy. It’s the combination of the beautiful crumbs, fleshy crab pieces and the creamy aioli that I would happily come back for.

oysters

Sydney Rock Oysters ($5 each)

steak tartare

I’m always a sucker for steak tartare ($29) but I found myself slightly disappointed. There is no questioning the quality of the ingredients but it wasn’t the traditional steak tartare I had in mind. It was far more creamier and lacked the tang and pep I was hoping for. The shoestring fries, surprisingly came out as the hero of this dish.

yellowfin tuna tartare

Tartare of Yellowfin Tuna ($18)

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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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One of the most popular events to hit Crave Sydney Food Festival is the Night Noodle Markets. Held over 13 nights where Sydney’s Asian restauranteurs come together in true hawker fashion to showcase their best at Sydney’s Hyde Park.

I’m not normally a huge fan of the Night Noodle Markets. There are hoards of people, you can never find a spot to eat and worse, there’s usually a massive line between you and what’s cooking.

This year saw more stalls and more seating. Event organisers even included table service in the mix. Staff would remove your leftovers and kindly offer to order you a drink. “I’ll have a cab sav thanks!!”

ATM machines were also cleverly installed so you wouldn’t have to bear the embarrassment of running out of cash. Clever.

eat art truck

a Food Truck story…

Eat Art Truck is one of 10 food trucks to hit Sydney, thanks to Sydney Mayor – Clover Moore.

This began with regulatory changes enabling mobile vendors to take shape and only 10 permits were up for grabs.

Due to overwhelming interest, interested vendors were put through rigorous testing where finalists competed in an ultimate cook off. The competition was judged by a panel of expert food judges where the winners of the permits were announced.

How to find them?

To locate the moving targets, trading hours are updated regularly through their Twitter and Facebook feeds but to access all Food Truck updates in real time. The City of Sydney has recently released a new Food Truck app.

chicken wings

Eat Art Truck is fast becoming one of Sydney’s favourite food trucks and is headed up by Testuya’s ex-sous chef Stuart McGill.

These chicken wings have been getting a lot of air time since its arrival. It boasts a spicy crisp exterior against a succulent interior and a gorgeous creamy mayo laced all over the chicken skin. And for $8 we had 6 massive chicken wings to let loose on. Bargain.

pulled pork bun

Next up, the pulled pork bun. The sweet bun was jam packed with masses of pulled pork. I chose to have the bourbon BBQ sauce rather than the hot chilli sauce and found that the bourbon BBQ was masked by the marinade of the pulled pork. So perhaps, hot chilli next time round? Nevertheless, the bun was still tasty and incredible value for $12. Surely no one could eat all of this in one sitting?

beef brisket bun

The beef brisket bun was less successful. If I had to compare the amount of beef vs. the pork. Beef would lose out.

I also found that the slaw to beef ratio was outweighed by the slaw. It didn’t taste like kimchi and I also couldn’t taste the chilli. By no means did it taste bad, it just didn’t live to up the expectations as advertised.

kingfish sashimi tortilla

The colourful kingfish sashimi was visually so stunning that I caught a lot of food envy from my fellow night noodle-ers!

The fresh kingfish cubes are tender and finds itself coated with lime and chilli. Kingfish morsels are laid on a bed of crunchy tortilla chips and is gloriously laced with the aforementioned mayo sauce.

chicken wings 2

Given its previous success. We unanimously agreed to order a 2nd and 3rd batch of the chicken wings. One wing per head count just will not do!

beef wrapped vine leaves

carmalised pork belly

The beef wrapped in vine leaves didn’t quite do it for me, it was dry and had this processed aftertaste.

Although the pork belly was beautifully soft, fatty and wonderfully caramelised with a delicious rich deep sauce. This went down a hit with the excess sauce soaked into our bed of rice.

noodles w spicy sichuan sauce

Served cold, these noodles were absolutely gorgeous. The noodles were soft and slippery and submerged in the most delicious spicy sichuan sauce finding its way through every strand.

tea smoked duck

It’s difficult not to compare the tea smoked duck to your duck pancake. I always find that the technique of cooking dries the texture of meat, reduces the fattiness and crispiness of  the duck. This was very much the case here. While tasty, my preference lies firmly with my fatty duck pancake.

sichuan pepper beef jerky

The less popular item of the night was the sichuan pepper beef jerky, only because it was scalding hot! A couple of pieces were unbearable and made it difficult to taste the inherent flavours with the chilli overkill.

The Night Noodle Markets was a vast improvement to previous years. Event organisers clearly put a lot of thought into the event by easing the amount of congestion by having more operators and more table settings.

With great weather on our side, buzz in the air and the hum of live jazz tunes. You can’t help but let loose with good company, good food and good wine.

Welcome to the Night Noodle Market, for good times.

Eat Art Truck on Urbanspoon

La Mint on Urbanspoon

Red Chilli Sichuan Restaurant on Urbanspoon

It’s been a year since my last visit and admittedly I was a bit hesitant.

I was brought back by another birthday girl and couldn’t bear to say no. We stopped for a quickie and mysteriously got in during the lunch hour.

Woo… and no lines too!

bread and olive basket

bread basket – complimentary
fat green olives on ice $6.00
Large green olives, black olive tapenade & crispy “music bread”

We were given a complimentary bread  basket while we grazed over the menu. I found that the bread this time round was a vast improvement since my last visit. Crusty and fragrant with a dash of olive oil and herbs.

The green olives were plump and delicious with the olive tapenade positively moorish.

prosciutto, pear and pecorino

It is said that the prosciutto has been hand picked by Jamie Oliver himself all the way in northern Italy. Levoni is rumoured to be dedicated to breeding and cultivating livestock of the highest grade up until its slaughter. With that kind of value proposition I couldn’t very well pass it up, now could I?

The prosciutto came salty, supple and gloriously pink. It’s delicious… yes. But it isn’t the best I have ever had but still… Jamie’s is tasty enough.

The salad was similarly tasty but we were disappointed to be only given 3 slices of pear.

spaghetti bolognese

spaghetti bolognese $12.50
entree size

The spaghetti bolognese was fairly tasty with the pasta al dente and the bolognese rich and meaty. It just had that distinctive tinned tomato aftertaste that made me smack my lips together in question and ask, “Is that aluminimum I taste?”

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