I love fried chicken, and I am not talking just about Kentucky Fried Chicken but all sorts of fried chicken. Korean fried chicken, chicken Karaage, western fried chicken, you name it – I LOVE FRIED CHICKEN!
There has been a lot of talk and hype about Mary’s which can be found in the cool suburbs of Newtown. I was in Sydney and was catching up with two of my lovely girlfriends. Originally we were thinking of going for a fried chicken crawl, start at Mary’s then go to NaruOne and potentially end up at Arisun! Yes, our eyes were bigger than our stomach. We didn’t even go to the second location, we went to Mary’s and that was pretty much it!
Mary’s is headed up by Jake Smyth (ex-bodega) and Kenny Graham (ex-Gardel’s bar at Porteno). Luke Powell, ex-head chef at Tetsuya’s is in charge of the kitchen – so there are some pretty big names! The entrance is tucked away down Mary’s Street off King Street, and if I didn’t see anyone come out I don’t think I would have found the place!
The menu is on a blackboard and it is short and sweet – it’s burgers or fried chicken.
We ordered the fried chicken, whole ($28) and it arrived in a basket. The fried chicken is Southern American style, the batter was crunchy and had a lovely kick to it and the chicken meat was incredibly tender and scrumptiously juicy.
The cheeseburger ($14) has been voted as one of the best cheese burger in Sydney. It was good, but for me, it would still have to be Dan Hong’s at Lotus. I have yet to try the cheeseburger at the Fish Shop so I don’t know. However, the Mary’s burger was simple, a glorified version of In ‘N’ out burger which I absolutely love. The bun was soft and a tad sweet but not overpowering. The burger was simple and delicious, almost as good as Dan Hong’s but not quite!
The shroom burger ($12) grilled field mushroom in placed of pattie was good but I have to admit, the cheeseburger was probably better.
Mary’s is DARK! Extremely dark but I do like the vibe – it’s cool, friendly and extremely down to earth. The menu is simple which makes it easy to decide and I have heard the drinks are seriously awesome! Will definitely come back to have some cocktails and perhaps a cheeseburger or fried chicken.
Service friendly but there was one thing I noticed, majority of the guys, so about 90% of guys at Mary’s that night all had a beard! I kind of felt left out! HA!
GA’s ratings: 8 / 10
6 Mary Street
Newtown, NSW 2042
Ph: +61 2 4995 9550
I love going to Melbourne for a short trip, whether it is for work or a long weekend getaway. I was in Melbourne for work during my Sydney trip and I have heard so much about Little Hunter that I had to go and check it out myself. Gavin Baker (ex sous chef at Fat Duck, London) and Pete Evans (chef and host / judge on My Kitchen Rules) head this lovely establishment which is located in the basement of 195 Little Collins Street.
I had perused the menu before coming and knew exactly what I wanted. We started with the in-house baked herd bread which was served with chicken skin butter – yes you heard me right, chicken skin butter! It was incredibly delicious, the bread was warm and soft and slathered with the butter was just AMAZING! I wanted to lick the little bowl on my own!
My dining companions and I couldn’t go past the pork crackling topped with paprika and white cheddar which was served with apple sauce ($6). My goodness – these were so addictive that I couldn’t stop eating them. The pork crackle were light, airy and crispy and I absolutely loved the paprika and white cheddar.
The cured kingfish with seasoned roe, roasted peppers and bay oil ($14) was a hit. ‘The Mother’ absolutely loved it – he said it was extremely light and the flavours were wonderful.
My aunt couldn’t go past the fish, Chatham Island Blue Cod which was served with sea grasses, leeks, and brown butter ($39). The fish was pan fried which was deliciously crispy and the fish itself was wonderful.
The rest of us, the three of us, couldn’t go past the wood-roasted pork served with kale, cider vinegar and fresh sausage ($38). Oh my, more crackles! The pork meat was tender, and I loved the cider vinegar, it really gave it a nice kick. I couldn’t help but steal some of ‘The Mother’s’ crackle as well!
We ordered a couple of sides, fresh vegetables, olive oil, butter, and lemon peel ($9).
I absolutely loved the roasted yams with gremolata ($7) – it was incredibly tender and absolutely delicious.
The little hunter fries with fry sauce ($6) was also a hit!
We were stuffed but couldn’t help but order dessert. Thought we would share the licorice ice cream, milk crumbs, bee pollen and candied citrus ($12). I have never had licorice ice cream and oh my, this was fantastic! It was different but in a good way and not too sweet. The milk crumbs and candied citrus was a wonderful complement.
Service was excellent and food came relatively quickly. We all thoroughly enjoyed our food and would definitely be back for more. I love Melbourne and its fantastic restaurants.
GA’s ratings: 8.5 / 10
195 Little Hunter Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Ph: +61 3 9654 0090
I love Japanese food and can never get enough of it! Even when one is pregnant, they can still eat Japanese food, the hot food that is – there is just a lot of variety! I was catching up with the lovely R for lunch, and she suggested Fuku which can be found in World Square just opposite Din Tai Fung. We always go for Japanese food – nothing wrong with that, as I absolutely love it!
I’m not quite sure how long Fuku has been around for. I don’t go to Din Tai Fung as often as I used too so hardly ever go up there. It is quite a large restaurant and spacious, and was busy for a lunch time on a weekday! The menu is vast, many options, bento boxes, set lunches and a la carte.
I have been craving fried chicken for a while now so opt for the chicken karaage lunch set. With is came sashimi, some fresh vegetables and tofu.
The chicken karaage was a little different than norm. it came with some sort of sauce which didn’t make the skin as crispy as I had hoped. It was still very tasty thougth and the meat was very moist and tender. It definitely satisfied the cravings!
R had the beef, I didn’t have any but she definitely enjoyed it!
I also ordered a side of grilled sweet miso glazed eggplant and it was absolutely delightful. A little on the sweeter side but I certainly enjoyed it. it was wonderfully soft and sweet and loved the addition of the lotus root chips!
Would definitely love to come for dinner next time I’m in town to try the sashimi and other wonderful dishes. Service was indeed polite, and food came relatively quickly.
GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10
Shop 1103 Level 1 644 George St
Sydney, NSW 2000
Ph: +61 2 9261 8977
I first went to this restaurant many years ago – the first time we moved to Hong Kong which was in 2010. The Big Bite has also moved location, it is still in North Point, but not on King’s Road but Java Road. The new location is slightly bigger and the menu is a lot more intensive then before. They now serve breakfast instead of just burgers.
‘The Mother’ was hungry, so he thought we would share a couple of things. Now, when ‘The Mother’ is hungry, his idea of sharing isn’t quite 50-50. It’s more like 90-10 to him! The big breakfast was indeed big – scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages, baked beans, mushroom and tomato – everything I love on the one plate!
The cheese burger was good, but wasn’t as good as I remembered it to be. It had way too many veggies for my liking, and no sauce trickled down my hand. It wasn’t as messy, it was just way too neat. It was good but the old burger was infinitely better.
The buffalo wings were spicy, and not too bad. I have definitely had better, especially in the USA.
Service is minimal, there is no table service, you order at the counter and then food is delivered to your table (from memory). Unfortunately I wasn’t blown away by the burgers which is sad, but the breakfast I would definitely come back for!
GA’s ratings: 6 / 10 (for burger), 7 / 10 (for breakfast)
The Big Bite
Shop 4B, G/F Kar Fu Building,
196-202 Java Road, North Point Hong Kong
Ph: +852 2327 3263
I am really liking this Indonesian Restaurant. I came here for lunch for the first time since they moved location and came back again for dinner about a few weeks later. This time though, we got to try more dishes on their menu.
We started with the pork satay – tender and full of spices. I had to ask them specifically not to put the peanut sauce on the satay as I am still allergic to nuts. Satay with no peanut sauce is just not the same I tell you – not the same, but it is still quite tasty.
The beef satay was nice but I still prefer the pork.
However, my favourite would have to be the tendons satay – deliciously tender and incredibly tasty.
The corn fritters were sweet, and I grew up with this snack and absolutely loved it!
The perkedel was ok, I still think Mum makes the best perkedel!
The roast chicken was excellent, incredibly tender with crispy skin.
The chicken curry was slightly on the spicy side but who could resist chicken and potatoes? Definitely not ‘The Mother’ – his favourite dish!
Beef rendang is one of my favourite dish, and although I am bias with Mum’s rendang, this was actually not bad. Not as good but I would happily eat this if Mum’s not around.
Service was efficient, and I would happily return and get my Indonesian fix. I have to say the food at this location is infinitely better than the one at Causeway Bay.
GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10
Indonesian Restaurant 1968
5/F, The L Place
139 Queen’s Road
Central, Hong Kong
Ph: +852 2577 9981
I haven’t been to Claude’s for a while now and have wanted to go ever since the refurbishment. They have shifted the fine dining area upstairs and opened a casual, affordable eatery / wine bar downstairs. Downstairs was still tiny, it was cosy and not as loud as I had anticipated. I was having a girl’s night with one of my dear friend, M. She has been here a couple of times and knew exactly what to order!
We started with the Pig’s face roll (2 for $12) – delicious slow braised pork cheek and black fungus relish on a toasted buttery milk bun! Oh my, the pork was extremely tender and the black fungus was a wonderful complement. Could definitely have eaten two on my own!
The double-baked gruyere cheese soufflé ($22) was to die for! OH MY!!!! It smelt absolutely amazing and was incredibly delicious. The outer layer was a little crispy and the inside is full of cheesy goodness! It was absolutely tasty.
Fried chicken, cashew and curry leaf ($18) is a must order – without the cashew of course. The chicken was tender and I loved the crunchiness of the skin.
Last but not least, pork belly, parsnip puree and onion ($33). Melt in your mouth pork belly with the amount of fat to meat ratio, and creamy parsnip puree. I would have preferred the skin to be a little crispier though.
Dessert was brown sugar soufflé – soft, fluffy and not ultra-sweet which was nice.
It was a lovely dinner with friends, we probably over ordered but it was good to try the simpler dishes of Claude’s. Service was lovely and tentative and would definitely love to come back to try their other dishes. I really like what they have done to Claude’s, especially the bar area downstairs. Its very relaxing and you can even have dinner at the bar which is nice.
As always, it was lovely catching up with M! I certainly have missed our dinners together.
GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10
10 Oxford Street
Ph: +61 2 9331 2325
Day 3 of Xiamen, it seems like so long ago now that we came and went to Xiamen. After we spent ¾ of the day at Gulangyu Island watching the boys play cricket, we had a pretty relaxing 3rd day. Dragon was up early so we had breakfast at the hotel first, no one else did but just us! She had her congee and I had a bit of eggs as I was craving some. After everyone was up, including ‘The Mother’, we walked around the old quarter again, as the last time we were there, it was quite dark and we didn’t get to see or buy much. I still didn’t buy anything but got to see a little bit more of the Old Quarter than before.
The rest of the crew had not eaten and was starving, so we stopped by Ze He Huang Peanut Soup Shop – we were told that this was a must visit. As the name of the restaurant suggests, this restaurant is famous for the peanut soup!
Considering I have a nut allergy, I didn’t try any but all my traveling companions did and thought it was sweet and that the peanuts were soft and melted in your mouth. They thought it was ‘different’ but in a good away. I wanted to try the spring rolls, it was weird had sticky rice in it and I couldn’t go past the first bite.
The place was BUSY! You have to buy ‘tokens’ in order to buy food. I was in heaven, they had all sorts of different snacks. We got some xiao long bao which were good but the skin was a little too thick for my liking.
I bought some pork buns – not your typical bbq pork buns and they were delicious. Even ate it at night whilst Dragon was sleeping and it still tasted good!
Not to mention these delicious red bean dessert – my favourite!
Whilst walking around the old quarter, we noticed this lady making some sort of pancakes, and of course M and I couldn’t resist!
We thought we would share half and it was good! Seriously good but I was getting full by this stage.
I dinner location to ‘The Mother’, again this is not something I do very often but he has not disappointed. We went to Shuyou Seafood Restaurant, which was relatively close to our hotel. Again left all the ordering to both M and ‘The Mother’.
Shuyou Seafood Restaurant has 4 floors and one of the largest restaurants I have seen. There was a wedding that evening and we were taken to the top floor and had our own private dining room! We didn’t ask for one, so ‘The Mother’ was a little scared at how much things were going to cost! Thankfully, it wasn’t as expensive as he had anticipated.
We started with these clams – I didn’t have any of this, but ‘The Mother’ said it was tasty and demolished it on his own!
The crispy skin duck, liver on rice cracker was amazingly tasty. The liver was smooth and rich, but the rice cracker balanced it out. I really loved the crispy skin duck, it wasn’t oily at all and the whole thing just melted in your mouth. Delicious!!!
We wanted to try a bit of everything so ordered the mix plate – duck, bbq pork and chicken from memory. The bbq pork was fantastic, so was the duck!
The mushroom and tofu hot pot was simple but tasty.
We all enjoyed the stir fry beef with green peppercorn. The beef was incredibly tender and the green peppercorn left a tingly sensation on your tongue.
We were too full for dessert, but I couldn’t stop eating these twist cookies that was on the table. It is one of my favourite Indonesian snacks and was surprised to have found it in China! No doubt I ate my fair share.
Service was good, even though it was a private room, they didn’t forget about us and food came out relatively quickly. It was definitely a wonderful meal shared between family and friends! Definitely worth the visit if you are in Xiamen.
We had a fantastic time in Xiamen, met some wonderful new friends and we definitely ate well! I really do miss the street hawker food – something that Sydney should have!
1-4 / F, Podium Building of Mansion of Bank of China, North Hubin Road
Ph: +86 592 533 8899