Archive for September, 2010

Linguine with garlic prawns and chili

September 30, 2010 2 comments

I don’t usually cook non tomato base pasta, I am not sure why, however, we ordered a delicious linguine pasta with garlic prawns and chili and had to try and replicate it at home.

The recipe below is from Jamie Oliver. I love his recipes and knew that I couldn’t go wrong!

Now the linguine with garlic prawns and chili, this recipe is for 2 people.


200g linguini, cooked as per packet instructions

200g of raw peeled king prawns

1 garlic clove

1 fresh chili

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

1 tbsp chopped parsley


Cook linguini in boiling salted water according to packet instruction. Stir occasionally to make sure none of the pasta is sticking together

Place frying pan on medium heat

Peel and slice the garlic. Halve, deseed and finely slice the chili. Chop parsley leaves finely and put aside

Add a splash of olive oil to the hot frying pan and add the garlic, chili, parsley and prawns. Fry everything together for a minute or two, stirring as you go

After about 3 to 5 minutes when the prawns are pink and cooked through, turn the heat off and drizzle over a splash of extra virgin olive oil

When linguini is cooked, scoop out of cupful of water to keep, and then drain in a colander

Add pasta to frying pan. Toss everything together and if the sauce is a bit thick, add a little of your reserved cooking water to thin it out slightly

Finish with drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and voila

It was absolutely delicious! I like my pasta spicier than most, so added more chili on my plate. ‘The Mother’ was impressed. He said it was marvelous (bit bias i know!) but he said that there weren’t enough prawns!

My brother, F, called whilst I was eating and wanted me to save him some! Sorry hun, will make you some next time! It was yummy though…

Categories: Recipe, Recipe: Rice Tags: ,

Breakfast at Bangbang Cafe, Surry Hills

This is not my first visit to Bangbang, I first came here with my dear friend B for lunch. I have heard good things about their breakfast so dragged ‘The Mother’ here.

As you may remember, I didn’t get a chance to take a photo of the uber cool oversized headphone, on the wall. This time, I made sure we sat in front of it so I wouldn’t forget! I would love a drawing of something like that in my apartment – not sure if that will go down well with ‘The Mother’ though but I thought it would be pretty funky!

Now breakfast, I started with coffee – can’t seem to start the day without one! Bangbang uses Campos beans, and my skim flat white was creamy and perfect! The best remedy for a wakeup call.

Most of you probably don’t know, but I am slightly allergic to eggs. Too much of it will make my eyes puffy. I know it’s the yolk, as I have done a couple of experiments. I can eat the egg white as many times as I want during the week, the egg yolk unfortunately, twice a week max! Unfortunately this also includes desserts that contains a lot of eggs! Like my mother’s 3 layered cake that contains 30 eggs – I kid you not – 30 eggs! This also means not too many creme brule! Yes it does suck, considering how much I love eggs! I have been eating a lot of eggs the week leading up to the weekend, so had to be cautious. Weird I know, but sadly it IS true!

So I opted for the herb field mushrooms and wilted spinach on toasted wholewheat topped with melted taleggio cheese and roast tomato. I love mushrooms and wilted spinach so I knew this would be a winner and it did not disappoint! The taleggio cheese was delicious, it was mouthwatering. The soft texture, pungent aroma and buttery flavours were really addictive and were a great addition. I wanted more and more and was in cheese heaven. It was exactly what I needed that morning.

‘The Mother’ ordered 2 free range poached eggs on sour dough with a serve of schulz bacon. I didn’t try any of the eggs, but the bacon, sensational! It was cooked to perfection, crispy and deliciously good.

We had a sneak peak of other diner’s breakfast, and had food envy! Everything just looked marvelous! Next time, there will definitely be a next time!

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

Bangbang Café

113 Reservoir Street

Surry Hills, NSW 2010

Ph: +61 2 9281 0018

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Moo Moo the wine bar and grill, Gold Coast

September 28, 2010 2 comments

Mid-last week, I was at the Gold Coast for a conference. It’s an annual event, one in which I have been fortunate enough to go for the past 6 years. I don’t usually enjoy going to conferences, but this one I don’t mind. There’s a lot of drinking involved, so usually by the end of the conference, I am over drinking (yes that’s right) and do not really want to drink for another month!

I was fortunate enough that an ex-colleague, S, was up there, and thought we would catch up. Mind you – by the time we caught up, it was about 8-ish and I have had some decent amount of drinks in me and was looking forward to a nice meal! We asked the concierge for some ideas, and she suggested we go to Moo Moo, which was located on broadbeach, which apparently is where all the bars are, should we decide to kick on.

Moo Moo is known for its steak, ‘putting sexy back to steak’. Unfortunately both S and I didn’t feel like steak and was sold by their special of the day. The restaurant is casual with an open kitchen which gives diners a view of the chefs at work. It had a lively atmosphere, however, at times quite noisy.

We started with the amuse-bouche, unfortunately, I can’t remember what this was called. I do remember the waitress saying that it was ‘wagyu beef’. It had a sweet chutney sauce and the vegetable that came with it was spinach. It was a little cold for my liking but it was tender and succulent.

The special of the day was pan seared Atlantic Ocean trout with wasabi, served with an Asian salad with orange dressing. The Ocean trout was absolutely wonderful, fresh and tender. The hint of wasabi was subtle but a great compliment. The orange dressing surprisingly complimented the salad and the fish, and each mouthful was just magnificent. I was pleasantly surprised, it was a beautifully done dish, and both S and I really enjoyed it.

Both S and I love desserts, so we opted one each. S ordered the hot fudge sundae ‘Moo Moo’ style – rich chocolate brownie topped with vanilla bean ice cream lashed with hot fudge sauce and finished with homemade crunchy honeycomb. The presentation was fantastic and did it taste as good as it looked? Even better, as it did not disappoint! The chocolate brownie was deliciously rich, and chocolatey. The vanilla bean ice cream was creamy and the honeycomb was crunchy, chewy and absolutely scrumptious. It was RICH but scrumptiously good.

I opted for something non-chocolately, and ordered hot passionfruit and marshmallow soufflé with blood orange sauce pot and burnt caramel ice cream. It had me at ‘burnt caramel ice cream’. The soufflé was light and fluffy and a tad sweet for my liking, the burnt caramel ice cream magnificent. My only gripe would be not enough ice cream!

Unfortunately (or fortunately) the restaurant has different shades of red light, which turned all the photos red-ish, however, I have to admit that it was quite funky and had a nice ‘vibe’ to it. The waiters attentive, service fantastic and both S and I really enjoyed our meal.

It was great catching up with S, I have missed a good girlie conversation. It was great catching up with you dear friend and I can’t wait to catch up again.

GA’s ratings: 8 / 10

Moo Moo The Wine Bar and Grill

Broadbeach on the Park

2685 Gold Coast Highway

Broadbeach QLD 4218

Ph: +61 7 5539 9952

Moo Moo The Wine Bar + Grill on Urbanspoon

Menya Mappen, Sydney

September 27, 2010 4 comments

Noodles and self serve tempura – I had to visit!

Mappen, is a tiny self service restaurant situated inside the Skyview Plaza, the former Optus store which is behind the 85C cake shop on George street. The concept is quite simple really, self service. As you walk towards the restaurant, there is a poster / sign with instructions on how the whole concept works.

Instructions is quite simple, you choose a drink, select your type of noodles (udon, soba, ramen, hot, cold, small, large), pick your toppings, grab a bowl of tempura sauce, eat it and when you are done, return the tray – sounds simple enough right?

‘The Mother’ and I joined the queue, and it was BUSY as it was dinner time.

We waited patiently as our noodles were being cooked; I opted for the bukake with udon.

Once the noodles are cooked, you then help yourself to some chopped shallots and tempura flakes. Get yourself a tray, accept the bowl of noodles and then decide on one or more of the delicious tempura in front of you. I was in tempura heaven! They had a variety of tempuras ranging from sweet potato, onion, prawns, white fish, chicken, egg and vegetable kakiage – tempura galore!! YUM! There are also cold salads and condiments to choose from and onigiri rice balls should you wish to order more.

My bukake udon, was heavenly, it was cooked perfectly! Unfortunately, they don’t make their own noodles which is a shame. The soup was a little tangy from the lemon which gave it a nice kick. I took some fermented tofu – which was deliciously thin and light and was a great compliment with my udon.

Now, the best part of the meal – tempura! I took a prawn tempura and a vegetable kakiage which was a tower of grated vegetables. It was huge and absolutely fantastic. Unfortunately, I couldn’t finish it as it was just too big, but it was deliciously good! The prawn tempura – perfect! It was with serious control that I only took TWO tempuras!

‘The Mother’ saw someone ordered beef udon and it looked fantastic! The soup was not tangy like mine but was delicious and full of flavour. The beef was tender and succulent. It did not disappoint!

I forgot to take a photo of ‘The Mother’s’ tempura – I was too hungry! ‘The Mother’ got himself an egg and a zucchini tempura. I didn’t try the egg tempura but it was soft boiled then deep fried. He said it was weird but deliciously good at the same time. The zucchini tempura – sensational!

I LOVED the concept, the meal and of course the tempura. My only gripe would be the limited seating. Diners would come and reserve seats before ordering, which meant that people who had ordered and collected their food were left standing around aimlessly. Good thing is that Mappen staff would come out and ask people to leave politely. If the restaurant looks full, don’t worry, you will be able to find a seat as the turnover is quite quick! However, diners, please don’t reserve yourself a table before you order, it’s just not cool!

The décor was seriously cool, it had vintage Japanese movie posters pasted on the walls. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to take a photo of this as one, we were running late to see our movie and two, it was seriously buzzing and we wanted to leave so other diners could eat.  Total cost for our meals was less than $25, which is a bargain and easy on the wallet. ‘The Mother’ and I will definitely be back!

GA’s ratings: 8 / 10

Menya Mappen Noodle

Shop 11, 537-551 George Street

Sydney, 2000

Ph: +61 2 9283 5525

Mappen on Urbanspoon

Categories: Japanese, Noodles, Sydney Tags: , ,

Berta, Surry Hills

The new-ish restaurant Berta is located on Alberta Street. Some of you may know that I am directionally challenged! I ‘knew’ that Alberta Street was ‘somewhere’ near my place but I had no idea that it was THAT close from where I live! I occasionally walk home, and was looking for Alberta Street but I didn’t realize that the street is off Goulburn Street! Yes like I said I am directionally challenged!

I dragged ‘The Mother’ here one evening, he too was wondering where this restaurant was. He kept asking if I was at the right place, and he should, as we almost missed it. It is hidden in a laneway, and the entranceway is very low-key, there’s a long walk through from the entrance to the restaurant, which was dark, edgy but yet cool.

It was about 7.15pm when we rocked up; the restaurant was full, busy and noisy. There were no queues; however, no tables except the bar. ‘The Mother’ was more than happy to sit at the bar, where we can watch the bar tenders do their thing and watch the chef in action.

Berta was set up by the guys who set up Vini (which is also in Surry Hills) and the Head Chef is O Tama Carey, who previously worked at Kylie Kwong. Berta focuses on food sharing, which means you can try more things. The menu is written on a blackboard, which is hung on the wall, and is very cryptic. It only lists the ingredients of each dish and leaves it at that. However, the waiter or waitresses are more than happy to explain how each dish is cooked. They also have an extensive selection of wine for you to choose from.

We started with the chicken liver pate with bergamino (bergamot orange) liquor and oh my, it was absolutely fantastic. The pate was deliciously creamy, smooth and was so flavoursome that made me want more and more. It was served with house-made flat bread, which to me looked like a giant biscuit or cracker. The kumquat jam was deliciously sweet and was a great compliment to the pate. ‘The Mother’ was famished and couldn’t wait to dig in, so apologies for the bad photo! I had to stop trying to take ‘good’ photos as he kept eating and eating and didn’t offer to give me any!

The clams, pine nuts and prosciutto were beautifully done, you could taste the pine nuts and prosciutto and the combination were divine. This was the highlight of the dish for ‘The Mother’. This dish comes with a side of bread, which can be dipped into the soup.

‘The Mother’ ordered a side of kipfler potatoes which were deep fried, and was crunchy on the outside and soft and moist on the inside. It was served with flakes of rosemary and was scrumptiously good.

The duck mandilli, braised duck wrapped in pillows of pasta sheets were wonderful. The duck was tender, the broth delicious and intriguing, as it was rich and spicy at the same time. I kept wanting more and more. The pasta sheets were delicious, the whole dish, simply outstanding.

My highlights for the evening were the duck mandilli and the chicken liver pate with bergamino liquor.

The staffs were friendly and efficient with their service. Come before 8pm, as it got extremely busy afterwards. Unfortunately the restaurant was dark, which meant my photos were crappy! (Still working on ‘The Mother’ for a new camera!!!!!)

I really enjoyed Berta, it is a great new restaurant and I am looking forward to coming back to try different things. If you haven’t been, GO! You will not be disappointed.

GA’s ratings: 8.5 / 10


17 – 19 Alberta Street

Sydney, 2000

PH: +61 2 9264 6133

Berta on Urbanspoon

1 metre of pizza at Criniti’s, Darling Harbour

September 24, 2010 2 comments

It’s very rare that I go to Darling Harbour for dinner, in fact, the only restaurant I know in Darling Harbour is Hurricanes! So when my brother, F, suggested this place, Criniti’s, I was more than happy to try! Also, it was his birthday gathering with his friends, and I couldn’t exactly say no! How can I say no to food?

Criniti’s serves Southern Italian cuisine, apparently there is another branch in Parramatta and they even have a ‘1 metre’ wood fire pizza and 1kg BBQ ribs. I thought no one could ever finish a 1 metre pizza and I was proven wrong! There were 8 of us that evening, and we decided to get 3 pizzas and 4 pastas – talk about carb-ing it up! If we were doing the half marathon or full marathon the next day, then this would be the perfect meal! Alas, none of us were but we still had a wonderful meal!

I was going to the bathroom to wash my hand, and when I came back, I saw a metre of pizza and thought good grief, we are never going to finish this! We ordered suprema (ham, cabanossi, capsicum, mushrooms, mozzarella cheese, olives, pepperoni, oregano and onion), calabrese (olives, sausages, roasted capsicum, mozzarella cheese, oregano and chili), and godfather (chicken, avocado, mozzarella cheese, oregano, and semi sun dried tomatoes). A lot of mozzarella cheese, but it is a pizza after all!

The pizza base was thin and crispy at times (pending on which part of the pizza), the toppings were generous and delicious! I absolutely love the suprema, only cause I am a sucker for mushrooms on pizzas, and I love ham, pepperoni and cabanossi – the combination of it all was fantastic! The calabrese was also good, the chili gave it a nice kick, but the godfather, was so so. As much as I love chicken and avocado together, this was a little disappointing.

The carbonara (red onion, bacon, parmesan cheese and egg in a cream sauce) with fettuccini was deliciously creamy. I am not a massive fan of creamy base pasta so didn’t have a lot of this. I know my sis-in-law to be, O, enjoyed it and so did my brother.

The aglio e olio (virgin oil with garlic, basil and parsley, prawns and chili) with spaghetti was sensational! It was simple but yet well executed. The prawns were fresh and the chili really gave it a nice touch! I am really loving pasta or pizza with chili! Unfortunately I didn’t take a photo of this, the plate was almost empty by the time it got to me!

The calabrese (Italian sausages with napoletana sauce and olives, chili and meatballs) with penne was good, the meatball was HUGE! I think there were 3 of these huge round meatballs. The meatballs was tender and succulent and delicious.

The al pacino (homemade Italian salami with chili oil, garlic and basil in a napoletana sauce) with penne was good but nothing special. The calabrese was infinitely better, but my favourite would have to be the aglio e olio, that was fantastic!

We sat there for the next 20 mins digesting our food and not being able to move. My brother was thinking about dessert already, not at Criniti’s but he wanted Movenpick ice cream, which I didn’t know at the time, had opened at Darling Harbour! I couldn’t say no to that!

To say that Criniti’s servings were generous is an understatement! The restaurant was busy, noisy, buzzing and staff moved quickly around to try and keep up with customer’s needs and wants. Great for parties, and big groups, and relatively cheap. It was a great evening, and welcome back sis-in-law to be! We have missed you!

Apologies for the dark photos! My camera is Canon IXUS 75 and in need of an upgrade!!!! It doesn’t take good photos in the dark *sigh*.

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10


Level 2, Harbourside Shopping Centre

Darling Harbour, Sydney 2000

Criniti’s Southern Italian Cuisine Darling Harbour on Urbanspoon

Celebrations at Restaurant Balzac, Randwick

September 22, 2010 2 comments

It has been a while since I last saw my friend C, and by a while I mean 5 over years! It was our love for food that brought us together and we went to Restaurant Balzac to celebrate two occasions. The first being that C recently passed his exams / course – WELL DONE buddy! The second, my return to Sydney.

This is not my first visit to Restaurant Balzac (read review here), but it has been a while since my last visit. I still do remember the bread and butter pudding as it is still one of the best bread and butter pudding I have had thus far. Unfortunately, we didn’t order any, I was a tad full, and was a little cautious about this so called ‘high cholesterol’.

Anyway, we started off with Sonoma bread with butter which was sprinkled with salt. The bread was fresh and the butter deliciously creamy and salty at the same time.

The degustation started off with the salt cod beignet. It was a perfectly round bite size beignet, tasty and a little salty. I could have easily eaten two on my own, alas, one each.

Tomato consommé with poached prawns, was served cold, which took me by surprise. I was expecting something warm, however, this was refreshing and served in a gorgeous little tea cup. The poached prawns gave it a nice touch.

Marinated black kingfish and ocean trout with orange, fennel and poached scampi tail. This was marvelous – the kingfish and ocean trout was fresh, the poached scampi tail, divine and the orange and fennel gave it a nice touch. I really enjoyed this dish!

Pan seared mirror dory with baby carrots, toasted cumin and dried orange skin. The dory was lovely and beautifully done the baby carrots were tender. The burnt baby carrot was interesting to say the least. It didn’t have that ‘burnt’ flavour, it still tasted like a carrot! The orange gave it a nice touch. C thought this was the dish of the night, I enjoyed this dish too, but I think I still do prefer the previous dish.

Truffled pigs head carpaccio, trotter canapé, crisp ears and parsnip remoulade. My eyes lit up as soon as the waitress said ‘pig’ – I don’t think I heard anything else! We started with trotter canapé first, and this was absolutely scrumptious! The canapé was salty with a small serve of crispy skin which was crunchy, chewy, and sensational! The crisp pig ears and truffled pigs head were a little bit disappointing. The crisp pig ear was a little tasteless I thought, boring, and the truffled pigs head was a little bland. C and I thought we ‘may’ have eaten the dish  in the wrong order, which could be true!

We had a choice of the lamb and the beef. Since I am not a huge fan of lamb, I opted for the short rib of beef with sauce bordelaise and parsnip fondant, served with bone marrow. The beef was incredibly succulent and tender, the parsnip fondant a great compliment and the bone marrow, magnificent!

Here is a close up of the bone marrow. hmhmhm bone marrow, I would have been happy to eat two more bone marrows on my own! Yes.. very greedy I know, but I LOVE bone marrow and this was perfect! This was probably the dish of the evening for me.

C had the roast rack of lamb with petite sale aux lentils. I had a tiny piece of this as I am not a huge fan of lamb, however C said ‘that the lamb was beautifully cooked, but otherwise nothing too special’. I don’t think he was a fan of the lentils!

Pimms and Lemonade was a cleanser, before dessert, to clean your palate. I enjoyed this, it was refreshing and light, and I thought the cucumber gave it a nice flavour. However, C did not like this, he is not a fan of cucumber, and felt that it would have been better without it!

Last but not least, dessert, warm chocolate fondant with Seville orange ripples ice cream.

Chocolate oozed out and oh my, it was deliciously rich and deliciously chocolatey! The orange ice cream was delicious, it had the right amount of acidity to balance out the richness of the chocolate. My only gripe would be that it was a small dollop of ice cream. I would have appreciated a little more ice cream!

The ambiance was pleasant, the service excellent. The meals were well presented. C felt somewhat unsatisfied, he believed that the portion was a touch on the small side and nothing had a real ‘wow’ factor.

Did I agree with C’s comment, I had one ‘wow’ factor, the beef dish with bone marrow. The bone marrow was a winner for me. I also enjoyed the marinated black king fish and ocean trout with orange, fennel and poached scampi tail. The daily degustation was $95pp not including the wine. They have daily degustation as well as monthly degustation which takes place on the last Sunday of each month – 9 courses for $110 not including wines.

It was great catching up with my dear old friend C and thanks again for dinner! This won’t be the last time we dine; we both have a long list of restaurants we would like to try. I am more than happy for C to review our next place.

C’s rating: 7 / 10

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

Restaurant Balzac

141 Belmore Rd

Randwick NSW 2031

Ph: +61 2 9399 9660

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