Archive for May, 2011

Tigerbakers, Darlinghurst

This place was recommended by a friend. I was due for a catch up with one of my dearest friend, M and suggested this place. It has been a while since we had breakfast together, so this catch up was well over due!

Tigerbakers can be found on Victoria Street in Darlinghurst. It has been recently renovated, for the better I hear and opens from Wednesday and Saturday from 5pm till late. They are open every day for breakfast. There are sidewalk seating, however, it was too cold to sit outside so we opted to inside.

The breakfast menu I hear hasn’t changed, and neither has the prices. You can find your typical bacon and eggs roll, ricotta hot cakes, porridge and scrambled eggs on the menu.

Started with my usual skim flat white, unfortunately the coffee was a little disappointing. It was burnt and extremely bitter. M’s coffee was the same, it was ‘burnt’.

M couldn’t go past the special – scrambled eggs with ham, onion and tomato ($14.90) and additional hash brown. The scrambled eggs were fluffy and light and the onion, ham and tomato a wonderful complement. Unfortunately the brown toast was a little ordinary, which is a shame.

The corn and dill pancake looked divine! However, I wanted something ‘simple’ so opted for poached eggs with bacon ($14.90). Again the brown toast was ordinary, and pretty much uneventful.

The poached eggs, however, I loved! Oozed with yolk and the bacon excellent, cooked just the way I like it.

I do like the patterns on the table, from memory, every single table had a different design.

I also like the decor and the painting of the ‘tiger’ just in front of the kitchen.

The service was friendly, it was a real shame that the coffee wasn’t great. I had to get another one when I got to work as it was so unsatisfying. Nevertheless, it was good to catch up with M.

GA’s ratings: 6.5 / 10


294 Victoria Street

Darlinghurst, 2010

Ph: +61 2 9360 4890

Tigerbakers on Urbanspoon

Becasse, Sydney

I haven’t been to Becasse for at least 2 – 3 years. The last time I was here was with one of my dearest friend, M, for her birthday. I have wanted to go back, but thought I would wait until they move to their new location in Westfield Sydney. I was a little apprehensive about the location when I first heard about it, how can a restaurant, a two hatter restaurant be in shopping mall? Then I thought about it, a lot of restaurants in Asia are in malls, for example, French Window in IFC in Hong Kong and it works. Provided it’s away from the hustle and bustle of shoppers and Becasse is.

Becasse has also opened their first bakery, LOVE all the different types of pastries, bread and sweet but do not love the temptation. I try really hard to avoid that part of the food court so I don’t buy anything. I love the entrance to Becasse, the tunnel of four seasons, and it’s secluded from the food court.

The restaurant is small, a LOT smaller than the previous location. Only sits about 30 people, and where we sat faced the window of Virgin Active gym, where everyone was running on treadmills and I was about to stuff myself with delicious French goodness by Justin North.

I came with a friend, D, he’s never been to Becasse before so was looking forward to the meal. The menu was slick, it was in a leather case and diners had the option of a la carte (3 courses) for $120, and degustation of either 5 for $150 or 9 for $190.

We opted for the a la carte 3 courses – a choice of four or five dishes in each. Whilst perusing we were presented with some housemade butterpuff pastry with green olive mascarpone. The pastry were deliciously light and flaky, and topped with creamy mascarpone – a wonderful start.

Then, some housemade breads – petite brioche loaves, seven seed rolls and sourdough with poached quince and sesame seeds. The butter with wakame and pink salt shaped in teardrops were deliciously creamy. I couldn’t help but smother (and by smother, a teardrop on each bit of bread I tore) it on the delicious sourdough with poached quince.

Our favourite bread was the sourdough quince. The bread was warm, the quince sweet, and oh so delicious. It was so good that we had to ask for another serving, and they were more than happy to give us more.

Amuse bouche: king fish with cucumber, this was a very light and refreshing start. I love the texture the fish and the wonderful accompaniments.

First course, I couldn’t go past the petuna ocean trout, king prawns, pomegranate and Vietnamese dressing. It was beautifully presented. The ocean trout was wrapped in a ruby red layer of pomegranate jelly which was surrounded by the dots of coconut cream, olive oil and Vietnamese dressing.

I love pomegranate jelly and I love ocean trout so this was a win win dish for me. The trout was served a room temperature, and I loved the combination of flavours of pomegranate jelly and fresh trout roe which bursts in my mouth. The king prawns were cut into bite size pieces, it was sweet and succulent. Unfortunately I couldn’t taste the Vietnamese dressing, the coconut cream was subtle which I enjoyed.

D opted for the squid ink forgotten vegetables, smoked pork jowl, yabby tails and aroma of cedars. This was such a playful dish – reminded me a little of Gastro Park and Restaurant Arras. I had food envy but I was getting pork for mains and really couldn’t do pork for both. The forgotten vegetables consisted of purple congo potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips and white radishes which resembled a little like a rainforest and in the midst of it all, caramelised pork jowl and yabby tail. I had to try a little piece of the pork jowl and it was incredibly tender that it just melted in my mouth. It was incredible and excellent.

For mains, I opted for the 18 hour pork neck, sherry, chickweed and nettles, cranberry red potatoes and black pudding jus.

The 18 hour pork neck was amazingly tender that it just fell apart. The black pudding jus was rich but wonderful. I love the subtleness of the sherry, it was a hearty dish and exactly what I needed and wanted that evening. It was scrumptiously good.

D on the other hand opted for something less hearty but just as good. Squid ink coddled hapuka, squid, coorong pipis, cauliflower and miso. The hapuka fish was slowly cooked in squid ink. The cannelloni filled with chicken and prosciutto scattered around the plump and Moorish coorong pipis and curly raw squid. This also looked amazing! D said it was excellent and he enjoyed every single bit of it.

The pre-dessert was apple three ways, marshmallow looking soft apple mouselline which sat on top of apple sorbet and bite size pieces of fresh apple in zingy wine jelly. This was definitely a palate cleanser and absolutely tasty.

For dessert, I couldn’t go past the 68% alton beni zokoko chocolate cadeau and salted black cumin caramel – a chocolate BOMB!

Inside, the salted black cumin caramel which sat on crumble of chocolate and honeycomb. It was sweet, overpoweringly sweet. However, the scoop of chocolate sorbet was excellent, and provided some relief to the rich chocolate bomb. Unfortunately, I didn’t finish this as it was just too much.

D on the other hand, opted for something less rich – silken lemongrass and lime caramel, passionfruit crunch with vanilla yoghurt sorbet. This dish was so pretty – I love the colourfulness of the dish. I didn’t have any of the silken lemon grass and lime caramel but had a bit of the passionfruit crunch and vanilla yoghurt sorbet. It was light, citrusy and I love that tang at the end.

Judging by how D demolished this, I can ‘safely’ say he enjoyed it! But wait… there was more…

Petite fours: Justin’s version of chocolate Milky Way and macaroons. D and I were too full to eat this at the time. We sat there for the next 30 or so minutes but we really couldn’t fit anything else in.

We were given farewell gifts – croissants for breakfast the next day. We both put our chocolate and macaroons in the bag. ‘The Mother’ ate the chocolate and macaroons that evening, he seemed to have enjoyed it and the croissant, he had the next day. I managed to get a bite, and it was deliciously fluffy, flaky and soft! YUM! Thanks Justin!

I love the new venue of Becasse, I know I had my doubts at first, but after dining here, I really like it and definitely better than I remembered it to be! Maybe Justin is keen for that extra hat? Definitely keen to try the chefs table one day, I think minimum spend is $2k at night for six people. One day….

It was a wonderful evening with D, I think I can safely say that he had a wonderful meal!

The wine list was extensive and the staff super friendly! I love the attention to detail in each food, the flavours, and the quince sour dough bread! Great for business venue or even for a special event, am definitely keen to go back soon.

GA’s ratings: 8 / 10


100 Market St Level 5 Westfield

Sydney 2000

Ph: +61 2 9283 3440

Becasse on Urbanspoon

Categories: French, Sydney Tags: ,

Copo Cafe and Diner, Drummoyne

I was catching up with a couple of my oldest school friends, the doctor and the accountant. It is always so lovely to catch up with them, it amazes me that we have known each other for over a decade. We try and catch up at least once a month, and this was one overdue catch up!

I have heard wonderful things about this cafe, Copo cafe and diner. I was supposed to go here with a couple of friends during Easter but they were closed. Copo cafe and diner can be found behind Victoria Road in Drummoyne. It is set in a large 2 storey building with an outdoor terrace on the second floor for those long lazy Sunday breakfasts in the sunshine.

The cafe was busy by the time I got there at 10.30am, however, we didn’t have to wait long until we were seated. I love the wooden communal table; the menu was vast and had a South American twist to it. We were in awe and didn’t know what to order. We asked one of the waiters what their specialty was and he suggested we all get the baked eggs.

Started with my skim flat white, the coffee was excellent, smooth, aromatic and strong. It went down too nicely!

We each got the baked eggs, the doctor had the Moroccan eggplant baked eggs with labne, herbs and toast ($17.90). This was absolutely delicious! I loved the perfectly cooked eggplant, the flavours and the dollops of yogurt. I didn’t enjoy the labne so much but it was tender and succulent. Without the labne, this would probably be my favourite out of the three.

The accountant had the baked eggs with fried potato, chorizo, chimichurri and toast ($17.90). I contemplated in getting this, but didn’t feel like fried potatoes. I loved the chimichurri sauce, and the spicy chorizo.

I opted for the house smoked trout baked eggs with creme fraiche, herbs and toast ($17.90). This was nice, but compared to the other two a little bland and boring. The trout I thought was over cooked and dry.

The eggs were also too cooked unfortunately, I was hoping that it would ooze with yolk, at least the first one, but alas no. All our eggs were too cooked. The pan was thin, I have not had baked eggs in such a shallow pan. It’s a shame, as this would be a very yummy dish.

The other dishes sounded good, I would definitely be keen to try the bubble and squeak with fried egg, Barossa valley speck, cabbage, peas, potato and toast. Even the hotcakes with rhubarb, mascarpone and maple syrup – YUM!

I can see many locals come here to get their breakfast and it’s very child friendly. Service was friendly and warm, and the coffee was excellent.

It was so lovely to catch up with you both. We chatted, we laughed and we mesmerized. We will have to do it again soon.

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

Copo Cafe and Diner

M3 135 Victoria Road

Drummoyne 2047

Ph: +61 2 9719 9057

Copo Cafe & Diner on Urbanspoon

Dieci e Mezzo, Canberra

I have heard wonderful things about this not so new Italian restaurant which is situated in the foyer of an office building in Canberra’s city centre, ActewAGL House (which stands for ACT’s power, water and gas utility). Robert Foster is the Canberra-based designer of this foyer, I love the colourful fluorescent lights. It was what attracted me to the building, and hence, Dieci e Mezzo.

Dieci e Mezzo is the latest project by Fiona Wright, an ACT restaurateur known for The Lobby and Water’s Edge. Fiona teamed up with James Kidman, ex chef at Woolloomooloo’s Otto. I can see the resemblance of food that James Kidman has created at Diece e Mezzo. Otto was one of our favourite business lunch venues so when I heard he’s was here in Canberra with his new rustic Italian fare, I had to try!

The restaurant is very spacious; I thought it would be a bit weird having a restaurant in a foyer, but it is protected from the foyer by removable opaque glass panels. I love the colourful back drop at the end of the room and I can see this restaurant as a great function room.

The menu had variety, although only six different choices for both entree and mains, the choices were vast. Entree ranged from salad, sardines, liver to quail. Mains, fish, beef and pie and pasta, which can be ordered for both entree or mains.

The wine list is quite extensive, however, I wasn’t in the mood for wine. I was afraid drinking a glass of wine would make me sleep ….. at the restaurant!

Started with complimentary rye bread, it was served at room temperature – fluffy and absolutely tasty when dipped in olive oil.

I wanted to try something different, so opted for mille feuille of sardines, cauliflower puree, pickled cauliflower, pine nuts and watercress ($23). This was such a flavourful dish. I know my friend, C, would not appreciate this dish as it has too many greens but the sardines were served at room temperature, the pastry thin and crispy, and the cauliflower puree was creamy and subtle. The pickled cauliflower and pine nuts I loved and the watercress really gave it that lovely touch. It had the sour, the sweet, the tang, and the creamy – it had it all and it worked!

I had to refrain not to order the pork belly! A couple of friends had noted that I ordered a lot of pork, so thought I would order something different, the Whole whiting filled with prawn, scallop, bread crumbs, lemon and soft herbs $36. Yes a whole fish! And yes, it ‘looked’ at me!

Inside, prawns, scallops, bread crumbs infused with lemon and herbs. The fish was incredibly tender and fresh. The prawn and scallop I thoroughly enjoyed. The only problem with eating a whole fish is the bones and this was one bone-y fish! It was good but I think I would have enjoyed it if I didn’t have to pick out all the bones!

Dessert, well, I couldn’t really fit any. I ate ‘a whole fish’ as the waitress re-iterated! I was stuffed. I am keen to try their breakfast though, the granola is supposed to be one of the best! They also have a fixed price express lunch menu, a two or three course menu which changes every week.

I love the ambiance, the service, and the food, fantastic! To be honest, I have not been to Otto since James Kidman left. I am keen to try Otto again and compare (so stay tuned!). If you are visiting Canberra, I would definitely recommend this place.

GA’s ratings: 8 / 10

Diece e Mezzo

Corner of Bunda and Mort Street

Canberra City, 2601

Ph: +61 2 02 6248 3142

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Categories: Canberra, Italian Tags: ,

The Dip, Sydney

The Dip is headed by Sydney DJ Levins and Sydney Foodie Bianca. Located in the GoodGod  Small Club on Liverpool street, The Dip serves American-style snacks such as hot dogs, nachos, grilled corn and many more.

I was catching up with the gym enthusiast, S, and suggested this place. As per usual, I had perused the menu closely prior to coming and knew exactly what I wanted, the pulled pork sandwich! However, we thought we should share so we can try more things.

We started with the Lev’s Dawg ($12) – smoked kosher hot dog with chipotle mayo, fresh tomato salsa, grilled yellow peppers and American mustard on a steamed bun.

I love the squiggle of mustard; the bun was soft, the hot dog was good, and love the chipotle mayo. The tomato salsa and grilled yellow peppers were a wonderful complement. It was good and tasty but I have to admit it wasn’t my favourite.

The southern smoke ($12) – 12 hour smoked pulled pork sandwich with bbq beans, apple and cabbage slaw and spicy bbq sauce. Frigging REDONKULOUS! It was one of the nicest pork sandwiches I have had.

Generous serving of smoked pulled pork which was incredibly tender that it just melted in my mouth. I love the combination of the sweet bbq beans and the spicy bbq pork sauce, it was just EPIC! The bun was soft and I wanted more. I couldn’t help but ‘eye’ the other half, but S too demolished it and the next thing I knew, it was gone and we both wanted another one!

The grilled corn ($8) on the cob, with lime mayo and chipotle salt is deliciously addictive! The corn kennel which burst with sweetness in my mouth, the creamy lime mayo and topped with chipotle salt – OH MY GOODNESS! I couldn’t help but smother my corn with the yummy lime mayo, it was just amazing.

The slaw ($6), apple and cabbage were light and creamy. Thought we should have some veggies.

As the waitress cleared our table, I commented on how wonderful the pulled pork sandwich was and she claimed that the nachos were just as good. S and I looked at each other and said ‘yes’? So behold, pulled pork nachos ($15) – corn chip topped with 12 hour smoked pork, pinto beans, tomato salsa, bbq sauce, lime cream and cheese.

I was in heaven! Pulled pork heaven! The crispy corn chips, the gooey cheese, the remarkably succulent pork, topped with salsa, bbq sauce and lime cream. I had to pause, it was SOOOO frigging good! I couldn’t help but scrape every single thing off the plate!

We sat there for a while before ordering dessert. Ice cold guac ($10) – sweet avocado ice cream, strawberry salsa and waffle chips. The avocado ice cream was deliciously sweet and creamy. It had a very subtle avocado flavour so don’t fret if you don’t like avocado. The strawberry salsa was a wonderful complement.

It was definitely the pulled pork sandwich and nacho that won my heart! It’s a shame that they are not open for lunch (although, in saying that, it is probably a good thing as I would be over every single day!). It’s definitely a fun place to eat, have a few drinks and catch up with friends. This won’t be my last visit, I am sure we will be back in the next week or so. Go straight for the pulled pork, it will not disappoint! Thought it was better than the hot dog, even Bianca agrees with me!

Love the ambiance, the friendly staff, the jugs of drinks and of course, the food!

And of course, it was so nice to catch you S!

Have been a couple of times back to the dip. They had a special that evening, ‘Mrs Officer’ named after their favourite song Lil’ Wayne Songs’ – pork steaks prepared three ways, cured, smoked and grilled served on a toasted brioche with tomato salsa, chipotle mayonnaise, and apple and cabbage slaw.

The Chef, Mr Levins, recognised me and look what he wrote on my plate – ENJOY 🙂 I certainly did enjoy it! It was frigging awesome, the pork delicious and toasted brioche – YUM!

The salsa fries ($6) – seriously crispy and the salsa – perfect accompaniment!

And of course, you can’t go to the good god without a drink – sangria.

Definitely worth going back even if its just for the Mrs Officer! I have heard wonderful things about their fried chicken wings – buffalo wings – seriously need to get myself some!

If you haven’t been, you really do need to get yourself there – and the special ‘Mrs Officer’!

GA’s ratings: 8.5 / 10

The Dip @ Goodgod Small Club

55 Liverpool St

Sydney 2000

Ph: +61 2 9267 3787

Dip @ Goodgod Small Club on Urbanspoon

Categories: American, Bar, Sydney Tags: , ,

Hurricane’s Bar and Grill, Top Ryde

This place requires no introduction at all. This is the third Hurricanes restaurant and it is probably the fanciest and biggest one thus far! It is located in the Top Ryde City Shopping Centre, outside in the new area call ‘La Strada’. I have dined at both the Bondi Beach and Darling Harbour restaurant, so when Hurricane’s opened at Top Ryde, we were all keen to try the new branch. The crowds clearly haven’t diminished; it is still as busy as ever. We had reservations at 6pm (it was the only time that they could fit us in!) and by about 7.30pm the place was packed and people queuing and waiting to get in.

The bar is bigger than that of Darling Harbour, the place looks a little fancier but the food is still as good as the other two branches.

We started with the complimentary bread, warm with crusty exterior and soft, fluffy on the inside.

Eaten with my new love of butter brand – luprak! It was delicious, I had to refrain from eating too much bread as I was looking forward to the ribs!

The moment of truth – THREE FULL RACKS of pork ribs ($36 each)!!!! There were 6 of us, so half a rack each.

It was humongous! The ribs were so juicy, and tender – they were finger licking good!

We also got a serving of Mediterranean Salad ($19.00) with kalamata olives, feta cheese, capsicum and our Mediterranean dressing. Chunks of feta cheese, the dressing was scrumptiously good!

I was stuffed, top button of jeans undone, and could not fit any desserts in! I still think it is one of the best pork ribs in Sydney! Although, Cafe Ish’s beef ribs are superbly tender, and succulent and will give Hurricane’s a run for its money. The sauce is just too addictive, I could definitely drink it by the bowl – or maybe not?

Thanks O for the lovely meal! Top Ryde is a whole lot closer for the family than either Bondi or Darlinghurst. Top Ryde Shopping Centre reopened in 2010, it’s not a place I go visit often, but with all the new eateries at ‘La Strada’, and the not-so-new opened cinemas, that’s a good enough reason for me to go back!

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

Hurricane’s Bar and Grill

Top Ryde Shopping Centre

Corner of Devlin Street and Blaxland Road

Ryde 2112

Ph: +61 2 9130 7101

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Gastro Park, Kings Cross

I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoyed my meal and experience at Gastro Park. The presentation of each meal were immaculate, the flavours even better and the service flawless!

I was meeting a friend, S, for lunch and suggested this place. He and I both have similar taste when it comes to food, so I knew he would enjoy this restaurant. Gastro Park is the new restaurant by Grant King, ex Pier for seven years. ‘The Mother’ took me to Pier a while back now for my birthday and absolutely enjoyed it. On the floor, also former Pier waiter, Martijn de Boer and sommelier Timothee Servajean who are extremely friendly, warm and charming!

I love the panoramic view of the restaurant; I know it’s no view of the Opera house or the Harbour Bridge, it’s actually facing Roslyn Street but I do love the tall glass window overlooking the street. The decor inside is simple but yet elegant, I adore anything with wooden floor, and I love the natural light streaming in.

The menu is quite extensive, although there seemed to be lots of seafood on the menu. Diners have the option of ordering appetizers, entree, main, desserts and cheese. S and I were ravenous, we thought we would share a couple of appetizers, entree and have a main and dessert each – yes we were hungry!

The wine list is also extensive, however, I think we were both still a little hung over and wanted our liver to have a rest.

We started with complimentary bread, which was warm, delicately fluffy and moist and the creamy butter delightful.

Started with the onion and macchiato caramelised veal sweetbread ($9). The onion and macchiato consommé was warm and full of flavour. The veal sweetbread was deep fried and a little doughy I thought. I couldn’t really taste any veal but I thought the consommé was creamy and wonderful. I thought it was weird at first, but the flavours grew on me and the more I drank it, the more I enjoyed it. Not sure if S enjoyed it as much as I did though.

I couldn’t go past the soy and mustard glazed swordfish belly, pickled cucumber ($12) – OH MY GOODNESS! This was incredible, S said ‘it was better than sex’! The tenderness and texture of the swordfish, it melted in my mouth and was beyond magical. It was… orgasmic! The pickled cucumber was sour and tangy and a wonderful complement.

Next the seared scallops, carrot tofu, Serrano ham, endive reduction, hazelnut ($26). Three beautifully cooked scallops which were cooked to perfection, they were plump and moorish. The Serrano ham was too salty for the both of us, the hazelnut was subtle but you could definitely taste it. It was light and flavoursome, though at $26 for 3 scallops I thought it was a little steep.

For mains, S opted for the saddle of lamb, textures of cauliflower and mushrooms ($38). I love the bright colours on the plate; it was so colourful and painting like. The saddle of lamb was cooked medium rare, and extremely tender. It did have that lamb-y taste which I didn’t enjoy. However, the combination of the cauliflower and wild mushrooms were magnificent. He was impressed with the different types of leaves, greens and mushrooms on the plate, he loved the tenderness, the flavours of the lamb, I can safely say that S enjoyed it.

I couldn’t go past the crispy scaled snapper, smoked potato puree, calamari crackling, ink sauce ($38). The perfectly cooked fish which sat on a generous serving of smoked potato puree. I love the dollops of black ink squid sauce, and the black calamari crackling that’s like a prawn cracker was sweet and crunchy. All the flavours worked together, it was elegant and a ‘fun’ dish to eat.

I knew exactly what I wanted for dessert; it really had me at fig tart – broken fig tart, vanilla violet, raspberry persimmon ($18).  It wasn’t what I expected, I was expecting a round tart but it was a lot simpler but the flavours were far from simple! The sweet, thin, creamy and crisp tart, which was almost wafer like, sat on large chunks of fresh figs and topped with tapioca and thin rhubarb long straws. It was beyond excellent, it was magical – each mouthful was better than the next and underneath it, a surprise, raspberry permission. It was just EPIC! I really enjoyed this dessert.

S couldn’t decide between the pavlova and chocolate honeycomb. However, the Nitro Pavlova, guava, pineapple, coconut ($18) sounded more ‘interesting’ than the chocolate honeycomb. I was secretly hoping he would order the chocolate honeycomb as I wanted some! However, the pavlova was wonderful, dig right in with your spoon – the fluffy and light pavlova shell which then burst with guava sorbet. I love the ribbons of pineapple, the tapioca, and the coconut bubbles.

Unfortunately, S saw the chocolate honeycomb, vanilla sphere, cookies and cream ($20) – it looked fantastic! I think he had dessert envy and wished he had ordered the chocolate honeycomb; I didn’t want to say ‘I told you so’. I think we both will definitely have to come back to try this and of course the other dishes.

I read that the menu will change regularly; it will depend on availability and seasonality. I love the execution of each dish, the colourfulness, the playfulness and the creativity of each dish. It was an adventure. It was a wonderful experience, and to top it off, the service, knowledgeable, warm and efficient. Of course, the company was what made the whole experience excellent!

GA’s rating: 8.5 / 10

S’s rating: 8 / 10

Gastro Park

5 – 9 Roslyn Street

Kings Cross 2010

Ph: +61 2 8068 1017

Gastro Park on Urbanspoon