What a year it has been! 2010 was a fantastic year, lots of travel and lots of food! Although ‘The Mother’ and I didn’t travel as much in 2011, it was indeed ONE HELL of a year and am certainly looking forward to 2012. Where did this year go huh?
Trying to pick my top 10 dishes for 2011 was hard! So much good food and where do I start? In no particular order:
1. Suckling pig and Chocolate ice cream at Cutler and Co
Melbourne trip with the family – each course was better than the next. The highlight would have to be roast suckling pig, boudin noir, plum and kohlrabi – it was so frigging awesome that I had a mini foodgarsm!
The Chocolate ice cream sandwich, vanilla parfait and salted caramel – EPIC!
2. My ultimate meal – WHOLE SUCKLING PIG at Four in hand
oh my – went with 18 pork lovers and it was undoubtedly the BEST suckling pig I have eaten! The crispy skin, the succulent pork meat! It was just divine! Not to mention Colin’s colcannon – the best in Sydney! The food in overall in Four in Hand is excellent!
3. Best tiramisu at Italians and Sons
When I worked in Canberra for a bit, I managed to try a couple of restaurants, one being Italians and Sons and the tiramisu here is to die for! Photos are a little horrid, it was dark but you have to trust me that it was incredible!
4. TOYS collective event
I have been to a few in 2011 and the best would have to be number 7: old dogs, new tricks. Pig’s trotter stuffed with veal sweetbreads, chicken mousse, shiitake and ginger, garlic chive, pickled onions, beer mustard was divine and Tastes like Chicken, New Zealand milk-fed lamb, smoked eggplant, flatbread cooked in its own ash was TO DIE FOR!
And chocolate, orange, and some form of German Cake. Three words – OH MY GOD! EPIC!
5. Suckling pig at Manor, Hong Kong
On my recent visit to Hong Kong I finally went to Manor and really enjoyed the suckling pig at Manor, amongst other things. Unfortunately I didn’t get to try a lot of other restaurants due to work commitments but there will always be a next time!
6. Crispy scaled snapper at Gastro Park
I have been fortunate enough to come here twice. I haven’t written about the second time yet, but during my first visit, I had the crispy scaled snapper, smoked potato puree, calamari crackling, ink sauce – OMG! The crispy snapper, and that calamari crackling! YUM!
The second visit, we ordered the liquid butternut gnocchi and oh my – the flavours that burst in my mouth was incredible! Wanted to eat the whole thing on my own.
7. Meal at Nosawa onzen
It was a simple meal but just the whole experience is unforgetable. Not to mention the horse sashimi – different but I really did enjoy it!
8. The legendary petite fours at Restaurant Arras
The whole meal was excellent but it was the legendary petite fours that took my breath away. Wanted one of each!
9. The spicy chicken at Ayam betutu khas gilimanuk
Very ghetto, very Balinese, the spicy chicken was just incredible. The whole trip was amazing, 7 days and I tried to eat everything in the whole week!
10. Pork jowl and the famous Snow Ball at Quay restaurant
The view from Quay is outstanding, it makes the whole dining experience wonderful. The pork jowl I had was just awesome, and the most talked about nectarine snow ball – even better!
There’s a lot of pork dishes that made the list! Apologies, you all know my love for pork, so it had to be in my list. There are also some old favourites, Porteno, Bodega, Ms G’s that we keep going back too. Not to mention Four in Hand Bar – the fish and chips – one of the best in Sydney I have to say!
It’s been a big year, and 2012 will be an even bigger year – there will be a new addition to the GA family, and not to mention travels and new adventures in the coming year! It will be a HUGE YEAR and am certainly looking forward to it.
Thank you all for your support, in the mean time, I do hope you all have a FANTASTIC NEW YEARS EVE and here is to 2012 – to family, good friends, health and more food! 🙂
It was a very last minute trip – ‘The Mother’ decided that he wanted to go to Melbourne to watch the cricket on Christmas day. It certainly didn’t give me any time at all to organise where I want to eat. Not only that, it was probably the worst time to go to Melbourne in terms of eating, as most restaurants were closed during the Christmas and New Years Season. Thankfully though, I did manage to eat at a couple of brunch places, and Movida Aqui (more on that later).
I knew ‘The Mother’ was going to watch the cricket with his brother in law, so I made a couple of plans with friends. Melbourne really has wonderful places for breakfast / brunch and of course coffees. I was catching up with an old friend, and suggested St Ali – think it was one of her favourites as well! Located in the back alleys of South Melbourne in a refurbished warehouse, the place was PACKED when we rocked up at about 11.30am on public holiday. St Ali was established in South Melbourne in 1999.
They are very serious about their coffee – they have a page explaining the different types and blends. I didn’t feel like one at the time, but did take away, and it was one of the nicest coffee I have had in a while! Didn’t have anything fancy, just a normal flat white and if we were nearby I would have ordered another!
The menu vast – 18 different types, ranging from muesli, omelette, bagel, rolls, salads and many more. It took me a good 10 minutes to decide and we finally settled on My Mexican Cousin – secret recipe corn fritters, baby spinach, haloumi and kasundi with poached or fried eggs ($17.50).
OH MY – the fritter was so crunchy and burst into flavours. It was crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside with juicy corn kennels, not your typical corn fritters but one I enjoyed immensely! Kasundi, a spicy Indian tomato relish was not as spicy as I had thought, it could have definitely been spicier. The poached egg and haloumi really complemented the corn fritters well.
We saw other dishes that others were having and they looked amazing! No doubt we will be back when we are in Melbourne – I was tempted to order ‘bada bing bada boom’ – special house made roll with spicy sausage, avocado feta mash and chefs chili jam! Aren’t you proud i didn’t order ‘pork me’ – pork belly salad with pickled vegetables, asian herbs and peanuts! NEXT time!
Even though it was extremely busy, we were seated less than 10 mins and service was friendly! They have wonderful sweets, pastries, muffins near the counter – terrible, as I ended up buying a lamington and the muffins and they were fantastic! Definitely worth coming back!
12/18 Yarra Pl
South Melbourne, 3205, Vic
Ph: +61 3 9686 2990
Honeycomb is the new venture for Chef Andy Bunn, ex Café Sopra. It is where the old Koi used to be and prior to that Phamish. The space is simple, huge window that opens one side of the building. It can be cramp and incredibly noisy when its full house. However, the food, I have to say, is quite good and satisfying. His signature banoffee pie is on the menu, and so are some of his delicious pasta dishes.
Thought we would share a few of their pasta dishes. Oricchietti with mahi mahi, chili, garlic, and lemon ($24). ‘Shell’ type pasta, it was simple but a lovely dish. Love the chili and garlic sauce, it was flavoursome and perfect for spring-summer food.
The lamb ragu with chili, rosemary and chat potatoes ($26) were absolutely tasty. The lamb was succulent, no lamb after taste, and the chili really gave it a nice kick! I can’t decide which one I like more, the oricchietti or the lamb ragu – both were freaking awesome!
I was getting extremely full by this stage, but we opt for their special dessert, honeycomb semifreddo ($15). Smooth, creamy ice cream cake with large chunks of honeycomb and topped with flakes of chocolate – OH MY! Scrumptious! It was hard not to eat the whole thing on my own!
Service was friendly, and welcoming. It did get extremely noisy when the restaurant was full but thankfully we were almost done and ready to leave. Food TASTY! Compared to Cafe Sopra – well – that’s a hard call. Both were very good and I would happily return to Honeycomb and try their dinner menu.
GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10
354 Liverpool Street
Ph: +61 2 9331 3387
I have heard wonderful things about this place, the pastries, the pies and many more. For fans of Nadine Ingram’s cookie Couture gingerbread, the not so new news is that she has opened flour and stone in the old Sweet Inifinty space (which has now moved to the Strand) which is in Woolloomooloo.
Upon entering Flour and Stone, you are instantly greeted by smiling faces and the smell of delicious baked goods. I was tormented by the various cakes and cookies, I really wanted one of each.
We were hungry, so started with the slow braised lamb, potato and rosemary pie. Now as most of you know, I am not a huge fan of lamb, but this lamb pie was incredible. Tender, succulent lamb with no smell or after taste. It was seriously good,
Uncle ordered the leek and gruyere tart and OH MY GOODNESS! The pastry was incredible, the soft creamy filling of leek and gruyere melted in your mouth. It was seriously tasty and I couldn’t help but buy one for the next day and seriously, I can definitely eat one right now. The tart was just A M A Z I NG!
We were full. But I did manage to buy a couple of things. One being the large ‘fine apple tart’ – thin crispy crust topped with finely sliced apples which is caramelised. It does tastes even better than it looks. Unfortunately, I had to share this with ‘The Mother’ and it did not satisfy my apple tart cravings!
The famous cookie couture – hand iced gingerbread, monkey shaped and it was good! I forgot how good they were.
Flour and stone serves many delicious goodies – cakes, scones, gluten free cookies, cookies, slabs of nougat, cheesecake and many savoury tarts including caramelised onion and goats cheese tarts and sandwiches.
They serve coffee alchemy coffee and pots of rabbit hole tea brewed in brown betty tea pots.
Came back a week later, E was craving for their old fashioned vanilla cake – how good can it be I thought? OMG! It could definitely be my favourite – soft, fluffy, melted in my mouth. Wanted to buy the whole cake but I knew that would be dangerous!
I love the croissant here too, soft, buttery, flakey – oh my. Absolutely scrumptious!
This could be my new favourite bakery. You can check out their full list of products here.
*note, they are not open during the Christmas break, re open on the 9th January 2012 from memory.
GA’s ratings: 8.5 / 10
Flour and Stone
53 Riley Street
Ph: +61 2 8068 8818
HOT POT – I love! I don’t have it often enough here in Sydney, as I don’t find a lot of places do good hot pot – it shouldn’t be hard right? Boil some broth, get some good meat, vegetables and voila. I remember going to one a few years ago now, it wasn’t great but it did cost me an arm and a leg!
We ordered two different types of broth, their signature broth (clear broth with various vegetables and tofu) and a Sichuan broth (very spice-y and very tasty). Love the Sichuan broth, very spice-y indeed.
Left the ordering to M again, all I wanted was beef and LOTS OF IT! So we got three different types of beef, first, fresh local premium sliced beef…
Angus premium beef… I thought the local sliced beef was much more tender and tasty.
Beef shanks which was a little crunchy and tender.
You can never go wrong with beef balls.
Some pork, which was a little on the fatty side but yum.
Fried bean curd skin, it was crunchy a little bland, don’t dip it too long in the broth or it will be ultra-soggy.
Winter melon which took a while to cook but I’m a sucker for winter melon.
We had another serving of beef which I didn’t take a photo off but thought we did well – considering there were only three girls! Yes – we can eat!
Thanks again M, thoroughly enjoyed the food, service was friendly and warm and who doesn’t like hot pot, especially in winter. I am looking forward to having more hot pot sessions next time I visit!
GA’s ratings: 7 / 10
G-1/F, Greatmany Centre,
109-111 Queen’s Road East
Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Ph: +852 2529 8383
Paddington Arms which is located on the busy street of Oxford Street in Paddington is the new venture for the two-hatted Four in Hand restaurant, Colin Fassnidge. Together with one of his old sous chefs, Neil Thompson , they have created a menu that is quite similar to Four in Hand, promoting nose to tail eating with a more relaxed feel.
I quite like what they have done to the place, the spacious area and the booths, it’s indeed very casual and a great place to hang out with friends over a nice meal. Now the food is no ordinary pub grub – it has an English / Irish twist to it, I really enjoy the food at Four in Hand, so had high expectations and it did not disappoint.
I was meeting with the lovely suzchef. We have heard wonderful things about this place and we are both HUGE fans of Four in Hand. We thought we would share a couple of dishes and we are SO glad that we did – not sure how anyone could have finished it on its own!
We both couldn’t go past the roast pork belly with potato, apple and sage salad ($23) – oh my goodness. Come to my belly pork belly!
The crispy skin, it was perfect. The pork succulent and seriously fatty, too fatty for S but I certainly enjoyed it. The crisp apple, potato and sage salad were a wonderful compliment.
We also ordered the braised beef ribs with pickled cabbage ($25), WOW – it was a HUGE serving!
The beef was so tender that it just fell off the bone and melted in your mouth. It was relatively rich, heavy and winter comfort food!
The pickled cabbage with corn really complimented the beef well. I loved the wedges, crunchy on the outside and soft pillowy inside. I don’t know how anyone can finish this dish on their own, I struggled to finish my own piece.
Uncle and E went a week earlier, E had the ribs, but uncle ordered the house made beef burger with grated horseradish and onion relish and chips ($20). We were tempted to order this, but the beef ribs and pork belly won. It does look superb though – will definitely order that next time.
They also ordered seared bonito with pickled cucumbers, seaweed and radishes ($16) – uncle’s photos are always soo good!
I really like the food here, the atmosphere, it can get rather rowdy at night though. We were both TOO full for dessert, but it’s a good excuse to come back, try different dishes and have dessert. I think Colin and Neil have done an exceptional job! Seriously fantastic food, and looking forward to coming back soon.
*Photos with no GA watermark are taken by my Uncle.
GA’s ratings: 8 / 10
384 Oxford Street
Ph: +61 2 9360 9668
A guest post by my favourite uncle – it’s definitely been a while! Three Blue Ducks sounds seriously awesome! It’s been on my list of places to go but have not had the chance yet, but here is what uncle has to say about Three Blue Ducks.
The weather in Sydney has been pretty ordinary lately. I can remember more days of rain since summer kicked in on 1 December than days of sunshine! Fortunately for us, the weather was great and we had the chance to check out Three Blue Ducks which has been on my mind for a long time! It is headed up by Sam and Chris – Bronte locals and Chris’ mate, Mark who is ex Tetsuya’s and also someone who established Cafe Morso at Jones Bay Wharf (another favourite). So, on this shoot-free weekend, we loaded up the car with Lala and Boo in tow and headed to Bronte. It’s really only a suburb or 2 down the road, but by the time we got there, we had just missed the breakfast menu and had to pick from the lunch one.
Originally we found some seats right on the shop front, then Lala wandered around the side and came back smiling, “let’s sit in there. you’d love the light!” – and LOVE the light, I did indeed! We found ourselves sitting in a narrow alley between Three Blue Ducks and an adjacent shop that also had an extension of their kitchen and what appears to be more seating space.
Lala usually orders better than I do. No wait, she ALWAYS orders the better dish. This time round, I think we both did well. Lala had the barramundi and I ordered the steak sandwich. The fish was by far, the best made ever! Skin was crisp and the fish was nice and moist!
My steak sandwich was also not the run of the mill bread and steak that tends to be too big for a mouthful. The one I had I could hold nicely in my hands and the toasted bread yielded to a nice crunch. Uncomplicated, simple and the way I like it.
Another highlight was having a flat white (they use Single Origin coffee) with my favourite soy milk – Bonsoy.
But also their micro herbs grown on the window ledge! I love all things miniature! The guys also have a very impressive urban garden in the backyard of their premises. Inspired, I went home and watered my chilli plants! I will have chillis.
For all you urbanites: if you feel inspired to grow something in your backyard, roof top or balcony, check out Steve’s site: lots of tips on how you too, can have your own vegetable patch patch
Written and pics taken by Uncle
Three Blue Ducks
143 MACPHERSON ST
Dinner (Thurs, Fri, Sat) 6pm-11pm