Posts Tagged ‘restaurants’

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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The Bather’s Pavilion is separated into a restaurant and cafe, owned and operated by Serge Dansereau. There is also a kiosk to cater to those passing on by looking for a quick bite. (The kiosk is also very good). You can’t book at the cafe. Simply turn up and grab a seat.

The cafe does a great breakfast and an even better lunch. I would know, I am permanently stationed there for breakfast. The best pancakes in the world are being served right here. Fluffy and thick. Baked chorizo eggs and eggs benedict are bang on the money too. The venue also promises stunning views of Balmoral Beach. So gorgeous, you’ll be swept away and misplace yourself at a beach holiday resort. Amen.

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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

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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cheese bratwurst

For any food lover, a visit to Melbourne always deserves a pilgrimage to the mecca for foodies – Queen Victoria Markets. Almost equals to the amusement parks lovers coming for the theme parks to visit in Melbourne.

Deep down it is like any market, with stall owners bellowing out their best price, urging you to buy, buy, buy!

But unlike no other, everything is all within reach, bringing together a massive hub of fresh meat, seafood, fruit, veges, delicatessens and desserts. It is so delicious to look at, the sight of it rarely gets old.

bratuwrst & co 2

Like all my visits to Melbourne, I always come back to the Bratwurst Shop & Co.

You know it, I know it, everybody knows it.

Even Anthony Bourdain knows it. It is that good.

bratwurst 3

With the sure fire signs of a popular eatery. The human frenzy swarming in front of the counter is something to manoeuvre with. Get your pointy elbows out, move with haste and make way to the front.

bratwurst 4

There is a real sense of urgency and everything is rushed. You’re in and you’re out.

Ordering is quite swift, to the point and goes something like…

Sausage? Sauce? Sides?

Your options include: Spicy Bratwurst, Mild Bratwurst, Cheese Bratwurst, Weisswurst, Chorizo, Black Pepper Pork and Chicken & Mushroom.

bratwurst 5

cheese bratwurst

I ordered the cheese bratwurst and piled it with mustard, onions, sauerkraut and cheese. This required a decent amount of compressing to fit it in my mouth. So far it is my favourite bratwurst to date. Loving the snap of the wurst with the nuggets of soft cheese concealed with each bite. It is the perfect combo – there’s the crunch of bread, the tang of sauerkraut, onions and the creaminess of the cheese.

Welcome to Bratwurst Shop & Co and get your wurst on.
Bratwurst Shop & Co on Urbanspoon

I recently came across this amazing hummous which I have been meaning to share with you.
It is pretty incredible. It’s citrusy, creamy with smokey tahini notes on the finish. It’s so delicious, I even found myself polishing the rest off with just a spoon.

What drove me to purchase the Pilpel hummous was that it was gluten free, diary free, preservative free and the macronutrients faired pretty well against its competitors. Thinking it would taste pretty clean and bland, I was surprised to be absolutely blown away that something so pure could taste this good. Same can be said about all the other products they have on offer.

As I was spreading the good word. By pure coincidence, I unknowingly mentioned it to the national account manager of the range. Bonding over my love for the hummous. He asked if I could sample more of their products and of course I said, “yes”.

dip group shot

From left to right (below), we have the aforementioned smokey and tasty hummous, that you simply must try. This is the best hummous you will ever lay your hands on.

The beetroot almond dip is vibrant in its earthy flavours while the garlic dip is like the toum you would find in lebanese restaurants. I absolutely LOVE that stuff! I’m just glad that I can buy this in a tub and forego the kebab in order to get it! I sampled the garlic dip with lebanese bread and crackers. But the dip is spectacular with barbecued garlic chicken and lamb.

The harissa really packs a punch and was incredibly hot but you can calm things down by adding a spoonful to savoury dishes for some extra kick.

dip spread

Dari’s Table is the sister brand of Pilpel and I love how the Dari’s Table dips are all ready to go and beautifully presented so you don’t have to worry about serving them up in a separate dish if you’re out and about.

My personal preference is the olive hummous, while my sister loved the nutty and fluffiness of the almond hummous. Overall, all the hummous tasted inherently alike just with an added twist at the end. So it is really what you’re in the mood for.

dari's dips

The dips are vegan, gluten, dairy and preservative free. It’s even Kosher. Loyal followers swear by their hummous, naming it as the best hummous that they have had outside of Israel and I’m told, Israel is meant to have the best hummous in the world.

food porn nation sampled goods courtesy of Dari’s Table

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

For $45 we grabbed a five course barbecue feast at Efendy Restaurant during the Crave Sydney Food Festival. (Normally $58).

You walk in to what looks like a residence-turned-restaurant. Someone is tending to the barbie, the fumes engulf the enclosure and the surrounds. With the scent of what’s to come, you feel like you have been welcomed into a Turkish home with the indelible mark of some very warm Turkish hospitality.

mini pide

capsicum & pomegranate hummus

To get things started, we are presented with a fresh hot bun accompanied with Zeitoun extra virgin olive oil and a drop of balsamic. The additional capsicum pomegranate hummus was deliciously thick and smokey.  At one point, we had to skip the bread and upgrade to the hummus all on its own.

poached bulgur shell, spiced lamb w walnut, chilli oil & yoghurt

spiced lamb 2

When we pierced the bulgar shell casing, a spiced lamb mince filling spilled open to reveal the separation between the outer casing and inner filling. Overall this was relatively tasty dish.

traditional lamb kebabs

The traditional lamb kebab got our tongues wagging and our taste buds were sent into a flurry with the smoked eggplant. You couldn’t help but side swipe all the trimmings, just to get down with the eggplant all buried underneath.

charcoal chicken thighs, pastirma, pearl barley salad

Another highlight of our meal was the charcoal chicken thighs. The meat was enriched with the marinade and coals from the fire. The chicken was nice and juicy with the smoked charred flavour infused into the skin’s surface (this can be achieved if using one of the affordable and mobile gas smokers, too). The pearl barley salad wasn’t for me but Brazil seemed pretty happy to take my share of it.

kadayif dolme 1

kadayif dolme 2

To showcase a cross section of the desserts from the Efendy menu we were presented with a variety of Turkish sweets.

The walnut kadayif dolme, was a tasty little textured pastry packet filled with a sugary walnut filling. Kind of like your a sugary nut spring roll with the shredded fibres of pastry splitting on impact.

The stretchy mastic was something I have not had before. A Turkish ice cream that is produced from plant resin. Creating an elastic and stretchy feel upon consumption (aka Arabic gum).
Due to its elasticity, we were provided with flat-headed spoons (pictured above). Which is the only way to cut across and help it break free from the connective mastic square block.

My personal favourite was the almond pudding fairy floss. A combination of goo, fluff and crunch. The pudding really hits the spot while it makes you quiver at the knees.

turkish coffee

Welcome to Efendy, a Turkish delight.

Efendy Restaurant | meze bar on Urbanspoon

Efendy Restaurant | meze bar
02 9810 5466

Balmain
79 Elliott St
Balmain, NSW 2041
efendy.com.au

About a year ago, my sister and I were invited to sample the menu at Apsleys at the Lansborough Hotel in Hyde Park Corner, London.

This would be the most overwhelming, heart stopping and mind blowing experience of my life and is also known to house Michelle Obama’s favourite dish –  Carbonara Fagottelli. Where a pillow of pasta quizzically encapsulates a carbonara filling. You place it in your mouth, push your tongue to the roof of your mouth and let the fluid centre combust. It is unforgettable. (See post here).

Executive and Sous Chef Massimiliano Blasone and Marco Calenzo are responsible for this dish and have since moved on from Apsleys and now head up Cassis Bistro in South Kensington, rubbing a michelin star quality to the restaurant menu.

To celebrate their new venture, we were invited back as guests to sample a specially created tasting menu across their al la carte range.

brioche

We began with a foie gras terrine marinated in provencale wine served with a toasty and buttery brioche. The foie gras is almost as thick as the brioche, so I just slithered a little foie gras and ate the rest on its own LOL, I wanted it all to myself!

The addition of slow cooked peach and “terra”, a cocoa butter crumble were interesting condiments but I was more than happy with foie gras alone.

caramalised foie gras

This fresh piece of foie gras was absolutely mouth watering. Prepared like a creme brulee and blasted with a sugary coating before service. It paired wonderfully with the rhubarb marmalade cutting straight through the fat and lifted the foie gras with a wonderful sweet intensity.

sea bass tartare

The sea bass tartare with sesame wafer was absolutely delicious. The tartare was sliced and diced to teeny tiny perfection and immaculately coated with a gorgeous cream sauce all nursed in between two crumbly thin wafer slices.

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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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