Archive for September, 2011

Chat Thai, Sydney

September 30, 2011 2 comments

The newest addition to the Cha Thai chain, the biggest and the most fanciest which is located on level 6 of Westfield CBD.

I have not been a fan of Chat Thai, my previous experience has not been great. I was catching up with M, we were seeing a comedy at the State Theatre and thought we would have an early dinner. Everything on level 5 was pretty much closed except for Charlie and Co and the pasta place so I suggested Chat Thai. We rocked up at about 6pm and the place was already busy with only two or three tables to spare and within 30 mins, there was a queue already.

We opt for the kana mhu grob ($15) – stir fried chinese kale and crisp pork belly. The pork belly was indeed crispy, too crispy making it way too crunchy. The dish was seriously spicy, not what we both expected. It was good but nothing special I thought.

The gaeng daeng bed ($16) – red curry roasted duck with pineapple, lychee and holy basil was nice but also nothing special I thought. The duck was tender, and the pineapple and lychee a wonderful complement.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have any time for dessert and their dessert is probably the highlight! Next time.

I am still not a huge fan of Chat Thai, their dessert would probably be the only reason I come back for – especially their sticky rice with durian! YUM! Even their banana fritters is pretty good, their food, it’s nice but definitely not for me. I still do prefer Longrain and Shortgrain!

GA’s rating: 6 / 10

Chat Thai

Level 6, Westfield Sydney

Ph: +61 2 9221 0600

Chat Thai Westfield Sydney on Urbanspoon

Categories: Sydney, Thai Tags: ,


September 29, 2011 11 comments

After a rocky start to Bali, as jetstar cancelled our flight, I was finally off to Bali the next evening. It was a fantastic holiday, I didn’t do a lot of sightseeing this time round, ate well and attended one of the best wedding this year!

The wedding was excellent – venue was AMAZING – St Regis did not disappoint! You see those ‘picture perfect’ wedding in magazines and pamphlets and it was just that. It was picturesque, the food was one of the best I have had and very intimate! Congrats again dear cousin!

Now, the food – where should I start? I will do a separate post for each. I ate my way around Bali in search of the perfect babi guling (suckling pig)! It is their specialty, succulent meat and crispy crackle. Each ‘warung’ (very low-key food stall) serves babi guling differently. I ate babi guling FIVE straight days (and I was in Bali for seven!) completely OD’ed and could not eat babi guling anymore. The best I thought was at Ibu Oka which is in Ubud – it totally hit the spot! Warung Pak Ketut Dobiel in Nusa Dua wasn’t too bad either.

To say I ate well is an understatement!

I am already missing my private pool, the breakfast buffet, and the family!

More posts on Bali eateries coming up!

Bali here I come…

September 20, 2011 9 comments

It’s been almost 3 years since my last visit to Bali and I can’t remember the number of times ‘The Mother’ and I have been. I first took ‘The Mother’ to Bali when we first started dating and has fallen in love ever since! He even wanted Bali to be our last honeymoon destination and what a brilliant idea that was after a whirl-wind trip! Swimming in our own private pool, sipping cocktails and eating wonderful food!

The first time I took ‘The Mother’ to Indonesia, I think it was a shock to his system! Bad traffic, bad pollution and a horrendous amount of people – ‘The Mother’ just doesn’t like crowds! Also, it is not the cleanness place, so he had the Indonesian belly! I think the highlight though would be the road trip from Malang to Bali, and stopping mid-way at Gunung Bromo, an active volcano and part of the Tengger massif in East Java Indonesia. My wonderful Aunt and Uncle, took their kids (my cousins) and us and have to say, we had an AWESOME time! The view was just spectacular and we got up at a ridiculous time to watch the sunrise – well worth it!

For those who knows me well, will know that I have created a list of food that I would like to eat. Since I am going to just Bali and not all the food and snacks are the same in Indonesia, I have given that list to my parents and cousins who has outsourced to my aunts and uncle all over Indonesia to buy! God Bless them!

My passticerie cousin is getting married in Bali and I have been looking forward to it since the day she told me! She made my gorgeous wedding cake below – and the figurine too! No dear cousin, I will not be returning the favour and making your wedding cake! BUT I will see you soon.

So… Bali here I come! I am so looking forward to the food, no doubt there will be a lots of food consumed, especially the suckling pig at Ibu Oka. Looking forward to a bit of sun (ok a lot of sun and warm weather!), reading, R&R and catching up with the family.

See you all when I get back! May do a quick post whilst in Bali… we’ll see!

Alio Restaurant, Surry Hills

September 19, 2011 7 comments

I haven’t purchased many deals online – I have read from fellow food bloggers and friends that it can be a bit of a hit and miss. However, when a dear friend, S, forwarded me a scoopon deal – $69 for a 3 hour cooking class and fine dining experience with Ashley Hughes, Head Chef of Alio Restaurant in Surry hills, we both couldn’t resist. We learnt how to make Pasta, Bread, Seasonal Sides and then sit down for a 3 course meal. I have wanted to try Alio so thought this would be a  ‘good’ insight on what the restaurant would be like.

Both S and I arrived at about 6 pm – I was starving already! We were greeted by Tracy, owner of the restaurant and taken to a room downstairs, where we met Chef Ashley Hughes. It’s a demonstration cooking class – learnt how to make focaccia, pasta dough and fresh stock!

Now I didn’t take a photo of the step by step process, but did get the secret recipe and ‘hoping’ to make it one day! Whilst Chef Ashley was cooking, we were presented with some mixed marinated organic olives, I love olives and these were just superb.

The soup – stracciatella – roman chicken broth with cheese ravioli. The soup was just delicate and simple but incredibly tasty and the perfectly cooked ravioli was a wonderful complement.

After about 1.5 hours of demonstration, we were all eagerly waiting to eat our meal. We started with the focaccia bread and I have to say, it is the BEST focaccia bread I have had in a long time – cooked with garlic and rosemary it was fluffy, tasty, and just simply irresistible! I think we were all fighting for every single last piece – yes, it was that good!

I love mushroom risotto, so was uber excited to try when I found Chef Ashley was making it. Porcini and field mushrooms – it was deliciously creamy and mushrooms – LOVE! It was hard not to have another serving or two.

The next pasta dish was supposed to be fettucini with mussels, but I am not a massive fan of mussels, and neither is my friend S, so asked if it can be omitted and Chef Ashley was more than happy to make us a separate one. Chef Ashley made the pasta, you can really tell the difference between fresh pasta and pre-packaged one and I have to admit, I am a HUGE fan of fresh pasta! Not sure if I can be bothered making it though – so much effort! (and I don’t have a pasta maker!)

The pasta was cooked to perfection, the tomato sauce excellent, I do prefer my pasta with a hint of chili to give it that extra kick, but this was just as good!

A simple salad – rocket, pear and feta – one of my favourites and so easy to make!

To end, tiramisu – served in chinese tea cups. I love tiramisu so this was a win-win for me. It was the perfect way to end a wonderful meal.

I have to say, I am definitely keen to try their other dishes – the braised coorong beef ribs with wet polenta or twice cooked pork belly with beetroot puree and mustard dressing has my name on it! It was an awesome experience, and a great insight to Alio Restaurant. No doubt both S and I will be back for dinner with our respective partners! I have to say, it was a pretty good deal from Scoopon!

GA’s rating: 7.5 / 10

Alio Restaurant

5 Baptist Street

Surry Hills 2010

Ph: +61 2 8394 9368

Alio on Urbanspoon

Menya Oiden, Sydney

September 18, 2011 9 comments

First it was Menya Mappen – Noodles (ramen or udon) and self serve tempura. Now the new Menya Oiden, similar concept to Mappen but instead of noodles, it is actually rice – rice bowl bar with any toppings you want.

If you have been to Mappen, then you will be quite familiar with the ordering system. You queue at the counter, choose a drink from the fridge if you want, order a rice bowl from the menu (beef bowl, yakitori bowl or curry), add as many toppings as you like, in this case deep fried kushiyaki, pay at the cashier (cash only), eat and return tray after eating.

Different types of donburi – rice dishes, ranging from the simplest beef bowl, to yakitori (chicken), to tuna tataki, ebi-fry and curry and many more.

Oiden is right next door to Mappen, and it is a larger restaurant with ‘outdoor’ seating. It was quite busy by the time we arrived at 12.30pm. Once you order what type of rice bowl you want, you choose your selection of kushiyaki – delicious fried goodness!

After much perusing, I opt for the simplest beef bowl, medium ($4.90). Sukiyaki beef on rice. The beef was tender, and succulent but I think it needed some sort of sauce – it was a little dry.

For the deep fried goodness – deep fried eggplant ($1.50) which I loved and cooked to perfection and pork tonkatsu ($2.50) – which had a crunchy exterior and tender meat. Loved the deep fried goodness but I have always been a sucker for deep fried food!

C opt for the medium ontama tuna tataki bowl ($6.50) – minced tuna belly on rice with wobbly onsen egg! The tuna belly did not look like the one in the picture, however, it was incredibly tasty!

C opt for the ebi-fry ($2.80) and sausage – think he preferred the ebi compared to the sausage.

T on the other hand, couldn’t decide what he wanted but finally settled for the medium ontama yaiktori bowl ($6.90) – grilled chicken and ontama on rice. The chicken was tender but he thought it was quite ordinary and nothing special.

T also opt for the ebi-fry ($2.80) and asparagus – he thought he would be healthy!

I have to say, I do prefer mappen – the bukake udon is just incredibly tasty and delicious! The sukiyaki beef just does not compare – it lacked something, I can’t put my finger on it. Could be because I am not a huge fan of rice and Oiden has that home cooked feel to it. It was just very unsatisfying, I was tempted to go next door for my bukake fix, but that could be a little bit of an over kill! C who is a regular diner at mappen, agrees with me and T was just utterly unimpressed.

If you are a rice person then this is the place for you – it is quite reasonable priced and I do love the selection of kushiyaki. However, I am definitely a noodles girl and love mappen! Now I need my fix!

GA’s rating: 6.5 / 10

Menya Oiden

537 – 551 George St (next to Menya Mappen)

Sydney NSW 2000

Menya Oiden on Urbanspoon

Categories: Japanese, Sydney Tags: , ,

Farmer Jo, Surry Hills

September 16, 2011 10 comments

Farmer Jo – ‘want me, eat me, love me’ – breakfast indulgence! I love muesli for breakfast, and when I heard about the new hole-in-the-wall cafe serving muesli, coffee and toast, I had to visit!

Sally Tulloch and family is behind ‘Farmer Jo’. Her husband is a coffee distributor for Molinari and the brother, whom B and I had a lovely chat with grinds the beans and made the lovely bircher I had that day.

It’s a small cafe, not many seats, just a couple of bench (which is apparently from Remy and Lee’s) and a couple of milk crates outside. Menu is also quite limited, different types of muesli and sourdough with a selection of marmalade and banana bread.

Farmer Jo roasts all the nuts, dry the coconut and fruit themselves. They roast the muesli on the premises as well and as we walked past, we could smell the wonderful aroma. The muesli are sold in five different containers, using all natural ingredients. There are little cups with muesli in them that you can sample before buying.

I opt for the bircher muesli with green apple and muscatel ($6) – have to say – LOVED! They ran out, and the brother kindly made me one on the spot and it was absolutely fantastic and delicious.

B opt for the apple topped with yogurt – it was good but my bircher was infinitely better!

We couldn’t help but share a gluten-free chocolate brownie ($3) with our coffee and it was deliciously tasty.

Cute little spot, no doubt we will be back for some muesli / bircher fix!

Farmer Jo

45 Hutchinson Street

Surry Hills 2010

Ph: +61 2 8997 9880

Farmer Jo on Urbanspoon

La Brasserie, Darlinghurst

September 14, 2011 4 comments

I was catching up with a couple of my favourite peeps, Uncle and his lovely wife E and one of Uncle’s high school friends, H for lunch. I have wanted to go to La Brasserie for a while now so suggested this place. Situated on Crown Street in Darlinghurst, La Brasserie offers diners traditional French cuisine and a vast range of fine French and Australian wines.

We came for lunch, the place was quite empty, only two other people were dining there. Started with complimentary warm bread – fresh from the oven, warm, and absolutely delicious!

Unfortunately, I wasn’t super duper hungry, so didn’t order entree. However, E couldn’t go past the souffle au fromage, twice baked comte cheese and caramelised onion souffle ($18).

Oh my, the souffle was creamy, cheese-y, and melt-in-your mouth divine! The caramelised onion at the bottom was a perfect and wonderful complement. Not sure if I could finish the whole thing on my own though – it was quite rich.

The three girls, E, H and I ordered the special of the day, poached garfish with corn and eggplant  ($35). The poached garfish was incredibly delicate and tender. The juicy corn and braised eggplant were a wonderful complement and brought out a lot of flavours. It was a nice dish but nothing special I thought.

From memory Uncle had the char grilled scotch fillet with french fries 250g grain fed ‘diamantina platinum’ marble score 2 ($35). Medium rare and it was just that. I didn’t have any but he seemed to have enjoyed it.

The pomme fries – French fries ($7) were absolutely fantastic, thin, crispy and dipped in tomato sauce – yum!

For dessert, E couldn’t go past the souffle aux chataignes – chestnut and vanilla souffle with burnt honey creme Anglaise ($15). The souffle was incredibly rich but I loved the chestnut flavour. The burnt honey creme Anglaise really gave it a nice touch.

I wanted something light so opt for the sorbets – selection of three seasonal sorbet ($12) – green apple, tangerine and I can’t for the life of me remember the bottom one! The green apple was a little too grainy, the tangerine was deliciously tasty and the one I can’t remember the name off I loved! It was light and refreshing and good way to end the meal.

Service was friendly and welcoming. The food was good but unfortunately no wow factor for me. The twice baked souffle was probably my favourite, in small dozes. Not sure if we ordered wrong, probably should have gone for the crisp snail mousse filled pigs trotter with sauce tartare and watercress.

Regardless, it was the company that made it extra enjoyable!

GA’s rating: 6.5 / 10

La Brasserie

118 Crown Street

Darlinghurst 2010

Ph: +61 2 9358 1222

La Brasserie on Urbanspoon