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Archive for October, 2010

Dinner @ The Chophouse, Sydney

I went to the Chophouse with a colleague for lunch (read review here) and was telling ‘The Mother’ how great it was. He recommended it to his friends, and a few weeks later, I was back again for dinner.

We sat upstairs, which was new. It’s more of private and quieter. I didn’t ask, but I am quite sure you can hire the top room for a private function. We were catching up with ‘The Mother’s’ friends, some of whom I have gotten to know well and have lived with. They have been friends since high school, and nothing will ever break their strong bond! They are a great bunch of guys, and I have had the opportunity to get to know the partners quite well. I have to admit, I did miss them whilst we were in Hong Kong. We used to have brunch together every Sunday morning, and dinner at least together once every couple of months– we were like one big happy family!

So chophouse, like my lunch experience here, I almost didn’t order the steak. The crispy pork belly and sea scallop salad sounded good, however, I was talked out of it once again. I opted for dark ale marinated wagyu flank (200g) – MB6+, 400 day grain fed, char grilled with a dollop of chimichurri sauce. Served medium rare, the flank was thin, incredibly succulent, juicy and tender. The chimichurri sauce was garlicky and a great complement. I really enjoyed the steak, it was just the ‘right’ size for me.

‘The Mother’ had the fillet on the bone with chutney and jus (320g) – marble score 2, black angus, 150 days grain-fed beef tenderloin on the bone. Served medium rare, this was just unbelievable, unbelievably tender, and unbelievably juicy. I managed to steal a few pieces whilst he wasn’t looking and talking!

S had the wagyu cheese burger with fries and house made ketchup. I didn’t have any of this, but it did look good. S demolished it and seemed to have enjoyed it.

M and A1 had the glazed beef short rib with house-made bbq sauce (350g) – Riverine District NSW, Angus-Hereford Cross, 150 days grain-fed, slow cooked. The meat literary just came off the bone, it was THAT tender. I had a tiny piece and it was seriously good.

The shoestring fries and the seasonal green beans with herb butter were wonderful.

The cauliflower gratin was delightful. Baked, with lots of gruyere – it was creamy and delicious. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo of this! It was naughty, fulfilling and deliciously yummy.

For dessert, ‘The Mother’ and I shared the 80g swiss milk chocolate block with rocky road. I love how it was served on a chopping board and a cleaver – it was cool! ‘The Mother’ had ‘fun’ chopping the chocolate into pieces. This was excellent, but both ‘The Mother’ and I are suckers for rocky road.

A2 and S shared the chocolate tart – it was slightly bitter but deliciously chocolate-y.

M had the atlantic bomb, unfortunately, I didn’t have any of this. He sat too far away for me to steal a spoonful. However, he did say it was sensational.

A1 and K had the caramelized banana cheesecake with butterscotch and caramelized almonds. Again they were sitting a little too far for my reach, but both A1 and K said it was awesome. Butterscotch – I LOVE butterscotch *sigh*.

I do like the chophouse, the ambiance, the service, and food were all fantastic. I’m not usually a big fan of steak house, but this I like!

More importantly, the company was fantastic! It was great catching up with gang. Let’s organise something soon.

GA’s ratings: 8 / 10

Chophouse

25 Bligh Street

Sydney 2000

Ph: 1300 CHOP IT (1300 246 748)

Categories: Steak, Sweets, Sydney Tags: , ,

Breakfast at Fifi on Foveaux, Surry Hills

As this name suggest, Fifi on Foveaux is situated on Foveaux Street in Surry Hills. I was having my weekly catch up with B, and she suggested this place. It has been a while since I last came here.

The coffee was just ok, it lacked aroma and taste, however, I did love how the cofee is served with chocolate freckle treat.

I opted for the granola muesli with seasonal fruits and berry yogurt. The granola muesli is crunchy, filled with nuts and dried fruits, raisins and was delicious. The berry yogurt, creamy, with lots of berry was delicious and a great complement to the granola. The fruits were fresh and delicious.

B asked for half and half, half granola and half muesli. Like me, she enjoyed this. She is not a fan of rockmelons or honeydew, so more for me!

Their specialty is the feta omelette, I have had this before and it is good! Their chicken schnitzel with rocket and over-roasted tomatoes cooked to order is popular at lunch time.

This café is a short walk from Bills, if there is a long queue and you don’t feel like waiting , come to Fifi. It’s no Bill’s but the service is good, food is simple and homey and check out these gnomes seats, don’t you just want to steal one?

GA’s ratings: 6.5 / 10

Fifi on Foveaux

428 Crown Street

Surry Hills 2010

Ph: +61 2 9380 6881

Fifi Foveaux's on Urbanspoon

The CHEESE BURGER, amongst other thing, Lotus, Potts Point

Lotus has been around for a while now, opened in 2002 by Hemmes (who also owns the Establishment and Ivy) on Challis Avenue. I remember dining here 5 – 6 years ago, pre Dan Hong days. Dan Hong started his restaurant career at the age of 18 as an apprentice at Longrain, Sydney. Then he went to East Sydney’s Pello, then Marque, Tetsuya’s and then spent quite some time at Bentley. In 2007, he won the Josephine Pignolet award for Sydney’s Best Young Chef. At such a young age, he has accomplished quite a lot!

I have heard so much about Dan Hong’s famous cheese burger that I had to go and try it for myself. Like Hong Kong, I am always on the hunt for a good burger! And I have to say, it did not disappoint!

‘The Mother’ and I came here on Friday evening, I wanted to eat somewhere that’s not in Surry Hills, and well, he was more than happy to go anywhere! It was a gorgeous evening, so we both opted to sit outside. We were presented with the menu, and a couple of things caught my eye, the cheese burger for one, the caramelized pork belly, sashimi of yellow fin tuna amongst other things. We asked the waiter how big the size of the dishes were and he recommended that between the two of us we should have four or five to share, as the size of each dish is a lot smaller (and slightly cheaper). The dishes are meant to be shared, which means more dishes to try!

‘The Mother’ couldn’t go pass the sashimi of yellow fin tuna with sweet wasabi, soy and ginger dressing. Four delicious thick cut red tuna was placed before us, and my lord, it was incredibly fresh. The sweet wasabi, soy and ginger dressing was to die for! ‘The Mother’ is not a fan of wasabi, so more for me. The wasabi dressing was deliciously creamy, sweet, a slight kick to it but not overly powering and was amazingly good. I could have eaten this by the spoonful on its own! It was THAT good.

Next came the grilled wagyu beef, pickled onion, confit garlic and herb salad. They weren’t wrong when they said that the dishes are a lot smaller! Four red-ish delicious wagyu beef – they looked utterly amazing and they were just that! Unbelievably tender, juicy, no effort in cutting at all. The pickled onion was delicious, and the herb salad a great compliment. ‘The Mother’ really enjoyed this dish.

I couldn’t go pass the caramalised pork belly, dashi custard and pork crackling. The caramalised pork belly reminded me a little of Mum’s pork belly. It was good but I think I still prefer the way Mum makes it. It wasn’t exactly what I expected, I was expecting a thick slab of pork with crackle, Western style, like at Mad Cow, alas, it was more Asian. It was good, not as tender as I have hoped, but full of flavour. The dashi custard, however, I LOVED! So tender that it just melted in your mouth.

Now, the famous cheese burger – written as that on the menu. It smelt absolutely divine, and believe me, it WAS divine! It was as good as the rumours have said out to be, even better I thought.

Tender beef pattie with cheese, onion relish, pickles, and tomato sauce. It was messy, but I believe, the messier the burger, the better! The combination of the cheese, onion relish, pickles was just AMAZING. Sauce trickled down my hand, I couldn’t for one second put the burger down, each mouthful was better than the next. It was definitely one of the nicest burgers I have had thus far.

Compared to Rockpool Bar and Grill? This was infinitely better! The bread was soft, the combination of the flavours were seriously mouthwatering. Looking at the photo again made me crave for it! ‘The Mother’ knew how much I loved it, he gave me some of his, now that’s true love!

We ordered a side of fries, ‘The Mother’ was more than happy to finish the fries whilst I demolish the rest of his burger. Yes, I am a pig, but I can never say no to a good burger!

Deliciously content, we sat there for a while perusing the dessert menu. I can’t believe I didn’t take a photo of this, but the warm choc chip cookie, vanilla ice cream, raspberry and butterscotch looked fantastic! Unfortunately, I was too full to truly enjoy this! It was good, but the cheese burger.. seriously… one word marvelous!

Unfortunately I didn’t get to see the chef himself. I did tell the waiter to pass on the message about how fabulous the burger was!

Stuffed, we waddled home, and all I could think about was the stupendous cheese burger and how I could have probably eaten another one after that walk!

*came back a few months later, and had the epic burger again and another wonderful dishes.

GA’s ratings: 8 / 10

Lotus Bistro

22 Challis Avenue

Potts Point, 2011

Ph: +61 2 9326 9000

Lotus on Urbanspoon

Kawa – great little cafe in Surry Hills

A popular little café on Crown Street, Surry Hills. It’s cozy, unpretentious, and serves delicious homey, organic food, and all day breakfast on weekends.

I took ‘The Mother’ here one weekend, for a casual brunch. He ordered some tea, and I love the Chinese tea pot (especially the colour!) in which the tea was served in.

The skim flat white tasted a little bit like a latte, but it was still good.

‘The Mother’ ordered the Florentine eggs Benedict. Two delicious perfectly poached eggs, served with spinach topped with hollandaise sauce.  The hollandaise sauce was deliciously rich and creamy, I couldn’t help but scrape some of it with my omelette. ‘The Mother’ really enjoyed it, more than his breakfast at baffi and mo (read review here).

I ordered the omelette with two filings, sausages and mushrooms. The omelette was as big as my head, filled with delicious beef sausages and mushrooms. Unfortunately, the omelette was a little dry, hence the scrapping of the hollandaise sauce.

Check out the big chunks of beef sausages, they were tender and delightful. I could have probably eaten the sausages on its own!

It’s a great little café that has been around for a while now. The service has improved from last I was there, it’s friendly and very relaxing, great for people watching.

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

Kawa

348A Crown Street

Surry Hills, Sydney

Ph: +61 2 9331 6811

Kawa on Urbanspoon

Pleasantly surprised, Longrain, Surry Hills

I am not usually a fan of Thai food, but I haven’t been to Longrain for a while now and was keen to give it another go. It is more on the fancier and expensive side. I remember going for a friend’s 25th birthday party, the cocktails were awesome but I don’t remember much about the food, so when R suggested it, I thought why not? I haven’t caught up with R and N since I got back from Hong Kong. Last time I saw them was in India at their wedding, so I was looking forward to the catch up.

We got there early, so it was still quiet. However, not long after we were seated, about 30 mins, the restaurant was packed! I am not sure if I am really keen on communal table. I quite like that ‘personal’ space with my friends without anyone else being able to hear our conversation. Same goes with hearing other people’s conversation.

It took us a while to decide, as we couldn’t help but talk and talk, we had 9 months to catch up on! We each picked a dish, I picked the Eggnet filled with pork, prawns, peanuts and bean sprouts and served with cucumber relish. This was on Time Out Magazine’s top 50 things to try in Sydney, and I can see why. The dish was served cold and was full of flavours. The crispy bean sprouts, crunchy peanuts, tender pork all eaten with cucumber relish burst with flavours, it was absolutely delicious. Unfortunately the eggnet wasn’t crunchy and as much as it was pretty, it really didn’t add any flavours to the dish.

Next came the organic chicken poached in coconut cream & chili jam with thai basil lime juice & cashews. The chicken was incredibly tender, the chili jam with thai basil lime juice was delicious, and gave it that nice tangy flavour.

The ocean trout with coconut, and caviar was to die for! (I can’t remember the rest of the name unfortunately!) The ocean trout was incredibly tender, that it just melted in your mouth. The coconut was subtle, and the vegetables were a great complement. I really enjoyed this dish, but R didn’t like the ocean trout, as he is not a fan of red salmon, trout or any of the like.

We ordered a side of papaya salad and it was seriously spicy – it really gave it that nice kick! It was probably one of the nicer papaya salads I have ever had! Again, there were a burst of flavours, sour, sweet and spicy, it was scrumptious!

Unfortunately we were too full for dessert, between the three of us, we had three main dishes, and a salad and check out the mountain of rice! It was just too much.

I was pleasantly surprised. I don’t usually love Thai food and have struggled to find a ‘good’ Thai Restaurant! I love Spice I am, and I have to say Longrain will be on that list of ‘likes’. However, the only downside for me is that communal table and the wait. I have heard people waiting up to 2 hours for a table of two! I personally think they can make use of the space better, more tables and maybe a smaller bar.

It is one of the most expensive Thai Restaurants I have been too, however, the ambience, the service, the meal, it was well worth it! There is no reservations, come early as they do fill up very quickly. If you do have to wait, you can always enjoy a cocktail or two at the bar.

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

Longrain Restaurant and Bar

85 Commonwealth Street

Surry Hills, 2010

Ph: +61 2 9280 2888

Longrain Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

Lunch at Commodore Hotel, North Sydney

It was the day of S and T’s wedding, after the beautiful ceremony, the crew (P1, C, P2, D, A and I) thought we would catch up, have a drink, and grab something to eat, as we were all ravenous. C suggested we go somewhere on Blues Point Road, in North Sydney. I wouldn’t have a clue where to eat, so was happy for whatever was suggested!

I haven’t been to the Commodore Hotel for a while now. When I used to work in North Sydney, this was a place we would go too, the outside terrace beer garden with its alfresco setting was something my old colleagues used to enjoy, especially on a warm Friday afternoon. Unfortunately, it was a little over cast that day, so we opted to sit inside.

There are two menus offered at the Commodore, the Bar food and the main Bistro food.

I opted for the free range chicken schnitzel with chips, salad and lemon aioli. For once, it wasn’t the aioli that caught my eye. I love ordering chicken schnitzel at pubs, it’s like my standard comfort pub food. The chicken schnitzel was gigantic! It was lightly crumbed and tender. Dipped in lemon aioli, it was exactly what I needed that day! The serving was just too generous that I wasn’t able to finish it. I also wanted to save some room for the feast that evening.

‘The Mother’ ordered the rump steak (250grams), served with salad, fries and café de paris butter. ‘The Mother’ always has his steak medium rare and it was deliciously juicy. He seemed quite happy with his steak, he didn’t really offer me any, I had to steal a piece whilst he was busy talking!

P1 had the Wagyu beef and cheese burger, layered with lettuce, beetroot relish, tomato and sweet pickled cucumber and served with fries. It looked good, but it was just too hard to ask for some. P1 demolished his burger, he said it was the combination of hunger and goodness! It did look good.

C had the redspot whiting fillets served with fries, salad and sauce remoulade. Unfortunately I didn’t take a photo of this, it was again a very generous serving. C didn’t finish it, but she did say it was ordinary.

Both P2 and A had the pot pie (baked with pastry lid and served with potato puree on the side). I was too hungry to even take a photo of their dish! They both seemed to have enjoyed it.

It was great catching up with the crew again, it’s definitely been a while! I love how weddings or birthdays brings us all together.

North Sydney is truly a ghost town on the weekend! Nothing is open, it is a lot more buzzing during the weekdays that’s for sure.

It was truly great catching up with you all!

GA’s Ratings: 6.5 / 10

Commodore Hotel

265 Blues Point Road

North Sydney 2060

Ph: +61 2 9922 5098

Commodore Hotel on Urbanspoon

S and T’s Wedding

It’s that time of year again, weddings. This year, however, I haven’t been invited to too many. Last year I had a record of 6 weddings in 8 weeks! That’s almost one wedding every weekend!

I had the pleasure of attending a dear friends wedding, S. I have known her for a while now, I met her through indoor soccer, and our friendship developed from there. She is one of the kindest and most calm person I know!

I remember the first time I heard about T, S claimed they were just ‘friends’ but from the tone of her voice, and the way she described him, I knew that whatever they had would blossom and they will become more than just friends. I met T finally after a couple of months and I knew he was perfect for her. T is kind, friendly, incredibly intelligent and was deeply in love with my dear friend S. They had so much in common; believes, likes, and dislike, I knew they would eventually tie the knot.

So when I received an invite for their wedding, I couldn’t say no. I had to be there to share their special moment. The church wedding ceremony was held at St Mary’s Catholic Church in North Sydney. It wasn’t a big church but it was definitely a gorgeous church!

It was a wonderful ceremony, the bride gorgeous and the groom, handsome eagerly waiting for his beautiful bride-to-be to walk down that aisle. It was truly a magical ceremony.

The reception was at Curzon Hall, Marsfield, an extremely elegant function centre whose feature is a huge stand stone manor set amongst some beautiful gardens. Here is a shot from the balcony where we enjoyed a couple of glasses of red wine before the delicious feasts starts.

Here is a shot of the sparkley chandeliers – if they weren’t so big, I would have taken them home!

Now the feast, to start with, smoked salmon with sour cream and chives, on top of mini pancake accompanied with king prawns and garnished with tomato and onions. The smoked salmon with sour cream and chives was absolutely delicious. I wasn’t a fan of the mini pancake, it was cold and a little tasteless. The prawns were served cold but again, deliciously fresh.

The first platter, seasoned salt ‘n’ pepper calamari on slow roasted cherry tomatoes was deliciously good. I couldn’t help but have a second serving, or was it third?

The second platter, ginger and shallot marinated scallops with shredded leek were delightful! It was steamed and served with ginger, shallot and some soy sauce.

Alternate main dish, I had the slow baked ½ grain fed baby chicken marinated in fresh herbs, served with potatoes, leeks and onion cakes, garnished with mushrooms and onions. The chicken was incredibly tender, the sauce however, was a little rich for my liking, but the potatoes, leeks and onion cakes were a great complement.

‘The Mother’ had the char grilled msa rib eye scotch fillet served with potatoes and beans. The gravy was full of flavour, the steak was a little on the cooked side. I think it’s hard to get steak right for everyone, especially if you have over 50 people at the reception.

For dessert, a trio of dessert – fresh, crunchy, cannolli filled with sweet hazelnut and vanilla bean gelato, it was fantastic. The meringue was a little too sweet for my liking, but the passionfruit brule – awesome! There is always a second stomach for dessert isn’t there?

Let’s not forget the wedding cake, it’s supposed to resemble Cradle Mountain, where T proposed to S.

The dancing started after the dessert, ‘The Mother’ and I grooved to a few songs before my feet got sore and I had to stop. The joyous of wearing super high heels!

It was a wonderful wedding. To my dear friend, S, many thanks for inviting us to celebrate your wonderful day. We had a fantastic time.

Congratulations S and T – many thanks for your support and friendship! We both wish you the very best of luck on this new existing journey, and many many happiness!

Curzon Hall

53 Agincourt Road

Marsfield 2122

Ph: +61 2 9887 1877