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Archive for June, 2011

Malaysian Food House, Sydney

Malaysian Food House has been around for as long as I remember. It is located in the Hunter Connection, just underneath the escalators near the Pitt Street entrance. It’s more of a food hall than anything else and service is minimal.

You order at the counter and wait until your number is called. Diners have a choice of laksa, ipoh ho fun, nasi lemak, gado gado, Hainanese chicken rice and various dishes on the bay marine which consists of rendang, fried chicken and other vegetables.

I have had mix reviews about their laksa, I remember getting laksa here but it’s been such a long time that I really can’t remember! I was having lunch with a work colleague, D, he was craving their Friday special – roti canai with curry ($8).

Two deliciously fluffy roti which are moist. It wasn’t as buttery and flaky as I had hoped.

The curry is very coconut-y, a little on the oily side but with a nice spicy kick. I do love how it comes with chicken and potatoes.

At Malaysian Food House, you have a choice of crispy or steamed Hainan Chicken. The crispy I’ve had before and not great. The chicken is burnt to a crisp and a little dry. The steamed, however, is good, despite the presentation, and was served with chicken rice and soup!

The soup is overpowering with MSG. The chicken rice is wonderfully fragrant and cooked in chicken stock. The chicken is tender, however, I have come to the realisation that not many places have crushed ginger oil, just chili. It does satisfy the Hainan chicken cravings but compared to Shiok!*? I would have to say that Shiok!* is infinitely better!

Ambiance pretty much doesn’t exist, service is minimal. I have friends recommending the nasi lemak – they say it’s as good as you get in Kuala Lumpur and a bargain for $8. Malaysian Food House is cheap, quick and quite reasonable and for those that doesn’t work near Chinatown, you can get your Hainan Chicken fix here.

The place does get busy so make sure you get there early to beat the lunch time rush. However, you can get takeaway, service and turnover relatively quick.

GA’s rating: 6 / 10

Malaysian Food House

Shop 10, 7-13 Hunter Street

Sydney NSW 2000

Ph: +61 2 9231 5909

Malaysian Food House on Urbanspoon

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Room 10, Potts Point

Voted as Sydney’s best new café by the SMH Good Café Guide in 2011. This little hole in the wall serves up one of the nicest (and potentially best) coffee in Potts Point and delicious breakfast consisting of open sandwiches, cakes and other brunch-type selections.

The café is tiny, seriously tiny! The kitchen is actually a dedicated area of bench space on the right, and no big tables in sight, stools double as tables. The coffee here is amazingly good, Room 10 uses Mecca coffee and the man behind the menu is Daniel Jackson who previously worked at Clover and Clipper café.

I came here with my lady of leisure friend B, we haven’t seen each other for such a long time that we had A LOT to catch up on! She started with skim flat white – loved it!

I wanted to try their chai latte, served in a tea-pot, it was absolutely delicious.

I couldn’t go past the burnt fig, cinnamon and almond granola served with stewed rhubarb, fresh banana, yogurt and honey ($9) with a bit of milk. It had me at fig and rhubarb that I didn’t even look at anything else on the menu! Served with milk, the granola was crunchy and wonderful. I have taken a liking to cinnamon, the smell especially and it was distinctively fragrant!

The stewed rhubarb and yogurt was a wonderful complement. One bowl was not enough, I wanted more!

B had the bircher, which was served with banana, stewed rhubarb, topped with pistachio and honey ($9). This was just as good! I loved the crunchiness of the pistachio, the moistness of the bircher, it’s no secret that we are both bircher fans!

We saw other diners have the sandwich and it looked wonderful – slow cooked salt beef sarnie with fresh cabbage slaw rocket and mustard ($10) and poached lemon chicken sarnie with toasted almonds, celery, dill, avocado and rocket ($11) – YUM! Will definitely be back for the sarnie and of course the coffee!

Simple name, simple signage – tiny ceramic number 10. I can imagine this place being super busy on the weekends, but you can always takeaway. Coffee is excellent – well worth the trek, even went back for a second cup of coffee! I can see why this was voted as the best new café and as they say – simple things are done exceptionally well!

Thanks again B, and I look forward to our brunch catchup again!

GA’s ratings: 8 / 10

Room 10

10 Llankelly Place

Potts Point 2011

Room 10 on Urbanspoon

Shortgrain, Surry Hills

My last visit to Longrain was quite a memorable one. Company and food were both excellent. So when I heard that Shortgrain was opening, I was quite keen to try. Shortgrain is the sister restaurant of Longrain Thai Restaurant started by chef Martin Boetz. It is a more casual dining place, it only has up to 18 seats and has a ‘street style vibe’. Menu changes daily, it’s a lot shorter, slightly cheaper and consists of curries and salads.

I came here with a dear friend of mine S. Lunch is open from 11 to 3pm and for a Friday lunch it was relatively busy. I rocked up just before 1pm and was lucky enough to get seats. The only table available is the communal table (consistent with the Longrain communal theme). There are no menus, all the dishes are written on the blackboard, so you order at the counter and food will be served to your table.

The prices are a lot cheaper, majority of the dishes are less than $20. I really wanted the chicken wings ($2.50 each) – a tad pricey but the group of guys next to us had at least a dozen and they look absolutely superb! Damn it – must go earlier next time to get those chicken wings!

On the table already, condiments of chili, lemon and spices.

I couldn’t go past the crispy pork and smoked mussel salad ($16) – WOW! There is a reason why I love pork! The crispy pork was deliciously tender and I love the slither of crispy skin. The smoked mussel was also tender all served with fresh vegetables and topped with mint. I love the sweet chili sauce that accompanied it, it was light and excellent.

We thought we would get a serving of fish dumping with sweet chili sauce ($12). Four perfectly round fried fish dumplings. A little pricey for what is it $3 each!

However, I love the crumbs, it was thin and crispy with a tad of salt and the fish was moreish and tasty and dipped in sweet chili sauce and drizzled with lemon was oh so wonderful.

S couldn’t go past the Massaman curry of beef ($15). The beef was incredibly tender that it just melted in my mouth. The curry had light coconut-y taste and was served with peanuts on a mountain of rice.

I really do like Shortgrain. Definitely looking forward to trying their other dishes. Takeaway is available if you don’t have time to dine or if the place is busy.

About two – three weeks ago, I met a friend DC for lunch at Longrain. We both couldn’t go past the caramelised pork hock with five spice and chili vinegar ($33.50) – wow! The pork hock was tender, gooey, and oh so very sweet with a hint of spice. Considering how DC and I both love pork, we fought for every single piece!

DC couldn’t go past with ocean trout, green papaya and chili salad with lemongrass and chili jam ($38). A bit price-y but it was one of the nicest ocean trout ever! We noticed other diners around us having the exact dish. The ocean trout was delicate and wonderful and I love the green papaya and chili salad. Everything was so fresh and light. We both demolished the dish. Unfortunately, for the life of me, I have lost the photo! grrrrr so you will just have to trust DC and I that it was an awesome dish!

Part of the cocktail bar has moved downstairs adjacent to Shortgrain. It’s been a while since I had a cocktail at Longrain, thankfully it’s just around the corner, no doubt I will visit soon!

A couple of addition to Shortgrain – I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have been here since my last post. Even if it’s just for take away, however, have not yet had the fried chicken wings!!!! The larp of pork and prawn with Vietnamese mint and roasted rice ($15). Larp is made with minced meat (in this case pork) then cooked in dressing, which includes coriander, mint, and dish comes from the northeast of Thailand. Eaten together with a few raw vegetables like cucumber, long beans or iceberg lettuce or witlof (as served). The combination of pork and prawn was perfect, and eaten with witlof was wonderful. I love the freshness of the dish, the coriander, mint, onions and fresh chili, and the combination of delicious sweet, sour and salty elements.

The green curry with fish dumplings ($15) looked too good to past. There was a strong coconut milk flavour, it was thick, creamy with a hint of chili. The fish dumplings I loved, very similar to the fish dumplings with sweet chili sauce I had previously. They were deliciously plump and moreish and a wonderful complement to the green curry. I could have easily eaten half a dozen!

The cucumber relish ($3). Incredibly fresh, incredibly sour, and incredibly tasty! No doubt I will give this cucumber relish ago at home. YUM!

The Barossa chicken, Chinese broccoli and ginger ($18) was not what we expected. It is actually a soup and the broth is full of flavour with coriander and thin shreds of ginger. The chicken was large and tender and a little messy to eat but it was well worth it.

The pumpkin Thai salad with dried shrimps, onions and coriander and ginger was ($12) was excellent. It was served at room temperature, the pumpkin was tender and full of flavour. Definitely one of my favourite pumpkin salads!

I am determined to go and try that fried chicken wings, hopefully will visit again soon. Please note that Shortgrain is only open on weekdays for lunch.

GA’s ratings: Shortgrain: 7.5 / 10

GA’s ratings: Longrain: 7.5 / 10

Shortgrain

10 Hunt St

Surry Hills 2010

Ph: +61 2 9280 2888

Shortgrain Canteen & Shop on Urbanspoon

Longrain

85 Commonwealth Street

Surry Hills, 2010

Ph: +61 2 9280 2888

Longrain Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

Lotus Asian Restaurant, Marrickville

I don’t venture to Marrickille for dinner very often yet alone tell you what restaurants are there until now. Lotus Asian Restaurant can be found on Illawarra Road, near the train station. It is not on the main drag but this little gem offers diners South East Asian cuisines – Thai, Vietnamese, Malaysian, Indonesian and Singaporean.

It has very simple décor, deep orange painted walls with several wooden tables and chairs and a large communal table in the middle. Owned by Kim Ngyugen, who is front house and her husband Danh Cao, in the kitchen.

Everything on the menu sounded wonderful. We started with the Chicken wontons with plum sauce (8 servings for $8). I don’t think I have ever had chicken wontons, always with pork (of course!). The wontons were deliciously crispy, the chicken succulent and juicy and the plum sauce delicious sweet and a wonderful complement. It was certainly hard to stop at just one.

The grilled Thai beef salad ($12) I really loved! Thinly sliced rare beef which sat on fresh herbs, chili, spanish onions and mint. It was really fresh and deliciously light. I really do love the sauce and the flavours, it was outstanding and one of the nicest Thai beef salad I have had in a while.

The crispy braised duck with chili tamarind sauce and steamed wombok ($16.50) was another wonderful dish. It is one of their most popular dish and I can see why. Generous serving of boneless chunks of duck which were super succulent and tender with crispy skin. The sauce was sweet, sour and spicy all in one.

Lastly, braised prawns with red curry paste, pumpkin and kaffir lime leaves ($18.50). Half a dozen of plump and moreish prawns in red curry paste, it had a nice spicy kick to it, I could definitely would have liked it to be spicier.

Unfortunately, we were both full and could not eat any dessert. Although the banana fritter with palm sugar syrup and coconut ice cream sounds divine! So does the black sticky rice pudding with coconut sauce.

Danh is the wonderful chef behind this. He has previously worked at Balmain’s Blue Ginger and other restaurants in Chinatown. Unfortunately he is the only chef in the kitchen, which means service can be a little slow at times, but unless you are in a rush, it is always nice to sit, chat, and relax with friends and family over a bottle of wine!

It’s a shame that it is not on the main drag, but I can see that this as a local for those living (or not living) in Marrickville. Takeaway is also available if you do not wish to dine in.

Thanks for the invite Charlotte (from Charlotte Foot PR)! Had an awesome time and really did enjoy the food. Will definitely take the family here for dinner one day.

GA dined as a guest.

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

Lotus Asian Restaurant

393 Illawarra Road

Marrickville 2204

Ph: +61 2 9559 8895

Lotus Asian Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Ms G’s, Potts Point

AGAIN you say? Yes…. again! Do you have a favourite restaurant that you tend to go back over and over? A favourite Thai restaurant? or Japanese restaurant? Last year Café Ish, Bodega, Lotus (heard they have a new menu so stay tuned!), Porteno were my favourites (and still is of course!). I couldn’t help but go back and try everything on the menu! This year, I believe it is Ms G’s. There was a time when we (you know who you are!) went every single Sunday for lunch or every second Friday for dinner. It has been a good four months since my last confession, I mean visit and in the past six weeks has gone back three times! yikes! Obsessed much? I wasn’t going to blog about it but there are a couple of new items on the menu since my last visit and items that I haven’t tried that I thought is worth mentioning. Of course, there are also items that’s a must order, like the pork belly banh mi, fried chicken and the steamed fish with white soy. The dish below has just been added to that ‘must order’ list!

Ms G’s requires no introduction, and I am sure after seeing Dan Hong on Masterchef a couple of weeks ago, fellow Masterchef supporters is dying to try his coconut pandan chiffon cake. Sadly though, it has taken me a good six months to try this magnificient dessert. Better late than never right?

I love fresh oysters! The Sydney rock oysters with lemongrass vinaigrette ($4 each) was excellent. The oysters were creamy, plump and the lemongrass vinaigrette a wonderful complement.

The Banh Mi is a must order! Everytime I come here, I always get the pork belly as it is banh mi at its best. Crispy pork belly on a soft bun, one is never enough! Have yet to try the chicken – but how can I say no to pork belly?

The Vietnamese salad of SA octopus, cassava crackers ($16) was lovely. Grilled octopus which was tender and I loved the Vietnamese salad and dressing that came with it.

Sea scallop, jicama, guacamole, finger lime ($16). Such a wonderful dish – fresh scallops, which was deliciously plump and moreish topped with fresh vegetables, tapioca and roe.

Jicama is a crispy and sweet edible root similar to turnip, it has a unique flavour on its own but works well with salads and salsas. It has a sweet flavour and this dish was slightly sweet with a nice limey flavour through it.

Ocean trout ceviche ‘fiji style’ ($16) – double-y WOW! This would be my favourite dish thus far at Ms G’s! Fresh ocean trout pieces, with tomatoes, cucumber and seaweed topped with tapioca and the broth, I can’t begin to explain how wonderful the broth is. It’s slightly sweet, slightly spicy, slighty crunchy from the ‘rice bubbles’ and oh my lord – mouth watering!

Whilst we were waiting for our meal to arrive, the waitress brought another serving of this. Stupid me said ‘we’ve had this’ – WHAT WAS I THINKING? We should have probably said ‘thank you’ and had another serving. It was good and one of Dan’s best I would say.

Jow’s sweet and sour lamb ribs ($23). I love anything sweet and sour, especially sweet and sour pork. The ribs were a little on the thin side I thought, I had the smallest rib possible – the lamb was incredibly tender that it easily ripped off the bone, and the sauce – divine. I didn’t bother using my knife and fork – hands – carnivore style – it was sticky and finger licking good!

Egg noodles with XO sauce, braised duck, soft poached egg ($18) – you can’t really see the poached egg from this angle but it oozed with yolk. I love the tenderness of the braised duck, the egg noodles cooked to perfection and the xo sauce – well I love xo sauce! Compared to the other dishes, I thought this was a little ‘plain’ but still wonderful.

Fried baby chicken, kimchi mayonnaise is another must! (half $15 and whole $25). Who doesn’t like fried chicken? They have one of the crunchiest batter, and the chicken is magnificently tender and cooked to PERFECTION every single time. It definitely beats the chicken wings at Mc Donalds – no comparison really! What was I thinking? I LOVE the kimchi mayonnaise – many of my friends don’t like kimchi – so more for me I guess!

Another favourite of mine is cobia fillet steamed with white soy and ginger salad of fennel, radish and herbs ($29). Originally it was cooked with Mulloway fillet, however the cobia fillet is just as good. It is a firmer fish than then mulloway but it is the broth that takes my breath away. I came here with the teacher, W, and we were seriously unimpressed when the waitress took the plate away. We both wanted to pick up the plate and ‘drink’ the soup! classy i know.

I came back a couple of weeks later with an ex colleague and his brother. We had everything mentioned above, plus more! One being Braised Wagyu beef shin “Hue Style”, konnyaku noodles, lemongrass, chilli broth $25. The braised wagyu was incredibly tender that it just melted in our mouths! The lemongrass and chili broth outstanding. The konnyaku noodles was nice but probably could do without. More Wagyu would have been lovely. I think previously it was served with pork belly, the braised wagyu is infintely better! (and that’s saying something as I love pork belly!)

The QLD spanner crab, broccolini, silken tofu, shellfish dashi ($24) reminded me of the crab dish at lotus. The crab were delicate and moreish, the silken tofu light and excellent. The broth fantastic, but the crab dish at lotus is definitely the best out of the two.

Dessert – the stoner delight I have had many times now. They have changed the flavours of the ice cream slightly – it was banana when it first opened, I can’t remember what the flavour was last time, think it might have been passionfruit. A friend said that the mandarin granite, lime mousse, Calpis yoghurt sorbet was excellent – W and I were originally going to order the lime mousse, however, the ‘ice cream sandwich’ vanilla ice cream and chocolate brownie with blueberry ($12) that won our hearts.

OMG – just three words – OH MY GOD! It was a huge serving – we wondered whether or not this was for one or two – for one apparently! Generous servings of vanilla ice cream and thick chocolate mousse – it was rich – sickly rich but beautiful! Drizzled with blueberry compote and ‘sandwiched’ between two thin layers of chocolate brownie which were soft but yet firm. UTTERLY AMAZEBALLZ!

So finally, I had the Pandan chiffon cake, strawberries, coconut sorbet $12. WOW! Served with tapioca balls, sago and coconut sorbet – my goodness! Totally and utterly amazing. Can’t believe that I have not ordered this until now.

The cake is deliciously airy and light with pandan flavour. The tapioca warm and diced strawberries were a wonderful complement. The coconut sorbet flavour was subtle and eaten all together, the flavours burst in your mouth and were magnifique and even D who didn’t want dessert that evening wanted to lick the plate clean! EPIC!

I do have a confession, I am obsessed, I really do like this place and will be returnning again next week with the uni bunch! I am looking forward to it already! Promise I won’t post anymore until they have a new menu but you can check out the photos here.

Unfortunately they don’t take reservations, and all parties have to be present before you are seated! However, you can wait at the bar upstairs, listen to the uber cool music and have a drink whilst you wait.

GA’s ratings: 8.5 / 10

Ms G’s

155 Victoria Street

Potts Point, 2011

Ph: +61 2 9240 3000

Ms G's on Urbanspoon

Singapore Shiok, Haymarket

I have eaten at Eating World food court in Chinatown many times now and have walked straight past Shiok to go to either Gumshara, or Kimama Kitchen. Usually, ‘The Mother’s’ theory is to find the busiest place and go there. Everytime we have walked past Shiok, it has been relatively quiet, hence the walkby.

Shiok offers diners an ‘authentic’ taste of Singaporean / Malaysian style hawker food and the most talked about dish is their Hainan Chicken!

I have heard wonderful things about the Hainese chicken rice. It is available as a single meal ($8.80), as half chicken ($16.80) or whole chicken ($28.80).

The poached chicken is incredibly tender and delicate. The chicken is de-boned so it is easier to eat. The chicken is served with chilli and sweet soy sauce, not how I like to eat my hainan chicken, I do prefer it with crushed ginger and chili.

The rice, cooked in chicken stock is extremely fragrant and full of flavour. It was hard not to demolish the whole thing on a cold night. The soup, however, was too peppery and had too much MSG for my liking.

‘The Mother’ opted for the kwetiau siram. Kwetiau meaning rice noodles and siram pour because the sauce is poured on top of the fried noodles just before serving.

‘The Mother’ opted for the seafood kwetiau and I love the wok aroma. The seafood was fresh and the kwetiau cooked just the way we like it. The sauce I loved!

The Hainan chicken is probably one of the nicest I have tried in Sydney, however, I still do prefer Mum’s. It’s been a while since I went to Temasek so to make a comparison would not be fair.

I have also heard that the hor fun, char kway teow and har mee are worth trying. No doubt I will be back to try their other dishes. Get there early, the food court does get extremely busy during lunch and dinner peak hours.

After dinner, we braved the cold (thankfully, it didn’t rain!) and walked to circular quay to check out Vivid Sydney 2011. Here are a couple of photos….

Vivid Sydney started on 27th May and ended on 13th June 2011. The Sydney Opera House sails and the custom house were lit with bright colours, and there were performances from local and international musicians and free outdoor exhibition of interactive light sculptures. Looking forward to Vivid Sydney next year!

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

Singapore Shiok

Shop 213, 25-29 Dixon St

Haymarket 2000

Singapore Shiok!* on Urbanspoon

Fat Noodle, Sydney

I have heard wonderful things about Fat Noodle which is located in the gaming floor of Sydney casino, Star City. It features large communal tables, an open kitchen and because it is on the gaming floor, kids are not allowed in the restaurant.

Luke Nguyen is the consulting chef to Fat Noodle. The menu is in fact very Chinese with influences from South-East Asia and not very Vietnamese as I had predicted. The menu ‘offers a fresh twist on traditional recipes and ingredients’.

I came here with the family and thought we would all pick a dish each.

I couldn’t go past the Salt n Pepper silken tofu – fried fresh Chilli, Garlic ($9).

The tofu was lightly battered and fried, the tofu was deliciously soft and tender. I loved the hint of chilli and garlic, it was too hard not to eat the whole thing on my own! Definitely one of my favourites of the evening!

The spring rolls with pork, glass noodles, wood ear mushrooms and fish sauce ($8) was my brother, F’s, favourite! Crunchy and crispy but quite pricey for what it is – $2 each!

Next, slow braised caramelised pork belly with jasmine rice ($16). Large chunks of tender, succulent pork belly which was wonderfully sweet and gooey. Dad thought the pork meat wasn’t tender enough, but he claims that he’s old and his teeth aren’t as strong!

The angus beef: wok tossed with lemongrass vermicelli noodles with fresh Vietnamese herbs ($18) was a favourite amongst the diners. I love the sauce, it was a little tangy and very lemongrass-y. I personally don’t like vermicelli noodles as there’s not enough ‘bite’ but the family certainly enjoyed it, especially Mum.

The abalone and chicken congee ($17) was a little pricey I thought but it was definitely a generous serving. It was served with shallots, nuts (?!), pickles and bamboo shoots. The congee was thick and a little bland without any sauce or salt. The chicken was tender, unfortunately, there wasn’t a lot of abalone in the congee and was a little tough. My parents enjoyed it which says a lot because they make a killer congee and thought this was superb.

The prawn and pork noodle (tom yum style) $18 was a little ordinary I thought. The prawn and pork were nice, the soup was tangy with a hint of chili, reminded me a bit like tom yum soup. It was nice but nothing special I thought.

They had a special that evening – crab in sauce ($18). I do like crab but there is something about crab outside the comfort of your own home. It’s incredibly messy and sometimes I feel eating crab a little unsatisfying! Too much effort and not enough meat! However, the crab that evening was tasty and meaty and for $18 extremely good value! I did manage to cut my thumb whilst eating it, blood pouring and the waiter was kind enough to get me a bandaid and once that was taped, I returned to the food.

Unfortunately Fat Noodles does not take reservations, so get there early before the rush. If you don’t mind sitting on the high communal table, you are most likely to be seated a lot quicker than individual tables. Turnover is relatively quick, so don’t fret, we waited for less than 20 minutes for a table of five on a Saturday night at 7pm.

It’s loud and if you are sitting on the communal table then chances are you will hear other people’s conversation and they will hear yours! I wouldn’t say it is a ‘romantic’ place for dinner but it is quick, and reasonably priced. Food is delicious and quite ‘authentic’ and I do certainly love those bite size tofu!

I have heard that their brisket is to die for, I guess another visit is in order.

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

Fat Noodle

2 Levey St Star City Casino

Sydney,2008

Ph: +61 2 1800 700 700

Fat Noodle on Urbanspoon