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Rustic Pearl, Surry Hills

November 25, 2013 1 comment

There’s really not a shortage of cafes in Surry Hills and I am always amazed that there are new ones opening every couple of months! I have missed my old hood and the cafes. Rustic Pearl can be found on the busy street of Crown Street, right next to Ampersand cafe and opposite the clock hotel.

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The cafe is quite small, the menu has an interesting mediterranean twist and everything on the menu sounded lovely. I couldn’t go past the avocado smoothie – fresh avocado, yogurt, milk, honey and pistachio AUD6.50. I had it sans pistachio, the smoothie was delicious, not too sweet and it went down perfectly.

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F had the  mocha and he really enjoyed it.

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I couldn’t go past the pan fried chicken breast salad with crispy bacon, chickpeas, char grilled zucchini with balsamic dressing AUD18. The original comes with pine nuts, agresto and spiced apricot dressing but you all know about my nut allergy. The salad was indeed healthy and exactly what I needed – how I miss a good simple salad!

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O had the chicken, mushroom and cheese gozleme and I have to say, this was superb!

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F couldn’t go past the sucuk bruschetta – char grilled sucuk, melted buffalo mozzarella, fresh tomato, basil, rocket, pomegranate molasses and soft boiled eggs AUD17 – I had serious food envy! F demolished this, and I can see why.

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The char grilled Mediterranean lam burger with red onion jam, smoky eggplant puree, fresh tomato, cos lettuce and yoghurt dressing AUD18 was pretty decent, but I am not a big fan of burgers on focaccia bread. The filing was quite tasty though.

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Service was polite and friendly. The cafe was busy at lunch time. I love the rustic feel to the place, and the mural on the wall. They have some decent sandwiches also – petunia trout sandwich with avocado, rocket, artichoke, capers and tarator sauce sounds pretty good! Next time!

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GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

Rustic Pearl

415 Crown Street

Surry Hills 2010

Ph: +61 406 930 083

Rustic Pearl on Urbanspoon

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Harajuku Gyoza, Kings cross, Sydney

So I am in Sydney for a quick visit. It was a surprise visit and indeed both set of parents were surprised! No one knew I was coming except for a few friends and my brother who had to keep the secret for about 2 weeks! I think he was dying to tell someone but the reaction and facial expression on our parents were just too priceless!

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I was hoping to hit up some cafes but was everyone wanted different things but we finally agreed of Japanese. I have heard about this place from a couple of friends, Harajuku Gyoza, speciality is obviously gyoza but they also had different types of dishes. The menu was quite simple, 5 different types of dumplings – pork, chicken, duck, vegetarian, prawn and other substantial dishes like chicken karate, pork belly, pork katsu don and many more.

We started with edamame – can’t resist ordering them!

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We ordered 4 out of the 5 dumplings – pork, chicken, duck and vegetarian. I really enjoyed the pork and vegetarian. The gyoza was pan fried and it wasn’t too oily or fatty.

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The chicken karaage was a favourite – chicken were tender and you can never go wrong with fried chicken! My only gripe was there weren’t enough fried chicken!

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Agedashi tofu wasn’t too bad either.

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Pork katsu don was a favourite amongst the diners. Tender pork cutlet which was lightly battered and deep fried, on a bed of rice topped with egg. Probably one of my favourite dishes.

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The pork belly kakuni was good but some parts were a really dry which was a shame.

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Lastly, we couldn’t help but try the apple gyoza with ice cream. Reminded me a little of apple pie, warm apple gyoza and vanilla bean ice cream.

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Service was polite and friendly and definitely a fun place to go with friends or colleagues!

*GA received some vouchers which paid for 50% of the bill*

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

Harajuku Gyoza

9-15 Bayswater Rd

Potts Point, 2011

Ph: +61 2 9356 3834

Harajuku Gyoza on Urbanspoon

Shiro, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

I have probably eaten at two restaurants at Hysan Place, one being the Japanese curry – Izumi Curry and the other Shiro. There are quite a number of restaurants there, not sure why we don’t eat there very often.

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‘The Mother’ suggested this restaurant and I have to admit, it was a very good suggestion. The menu vast, it took me a while to figure out what to eat as Dragon had to be able to eat it also. ‘The Mother’ couldn’t go past the sashimi plate and my goodness, it looks fantastic! Different types of sashimi, he demolished this within seconds.

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The gyoza was actually quite delicious.

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Dragon thoroughly enjoyed the cucumber roll. It was actually the first time that she didn’t just pick out the cucumber and ate it!

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I couldn’t go past the yakitori set – pork belly, beef, chicken wings and pork balls. I loved the pork belly and chicken wings yakitori, the pork balls were a little bit of a disappointment.

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I wasn’t sure how big the set was so ordered another chicken wings just for Dragon and she definitely enjoyed it.

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With both set came with rice, miso soup, some appetizers and green salad. Service was polite and friendly and food was delicious. Definitely will be back to try their other dishes.

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

Shiro

Shop 1301, 13/F, Hysan Place,

500 Hennessy Road

Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2155 8066

Mayta Peruvian Cuisine, Lan Kwai Fong, Central

Mayta is the latest edition to the Dining Concept Chain, which has taken over the space formerly occupied by Blue Smoke BBQ. Mayta is located in the heart of Lan Kwai Fong, the restaurant is quite spacious, the vibe is very laid back and when we were there for lunch they had pretty cool music in the background.

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We went for lunch, the set menu is quite a good deal to be honest. Chef’s buffet section for HKD118 which consists of soup of the day, ceviche station, salads and desserts. For an extra HKD50 you can order some mains. We however, wanted a la carte.

The boys started with the ceviche – classic – sea bass, red onion, choclo, cancha, glazed sweet potato with classic leche de tigre (HKD158). The boys absolutely loved it, it was light, refreshing and they absolutely adored the sauce!

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I couldn’t go past the pan con chicharron – steamed buns, crispy pork, rococo chill aioli, fried sweet potato and pickles (HKD138) – OH MY! These babies were incredibly, soft steamed buns, the crispy pork was to die for – it was just heavenly! Pretty sure I could have eaten all of them at once!

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We really enjoyed the Aji De Gallina (HKD198) – crispy pan chicken breast, yellow chili sauce, baby potatoes, sautéed spinach, quail egg and black olives. The chicken was incredibly tender, the hello chili sauce was delicious. One of my favourite mains I have to say.

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The cazuela criolla (HKD178) – veal cheek stew, red wine, yellow chili beans, baby carrots, piquillo peppers, crispy potato and pickles were also good but bit on the heavy side. It’s definitely a winters dish. The veal cheeks were tender that it melted in your mouth.

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Being the greedy diners that we are, we thought we would order one more thing. In hindsight we should have probably ordered another serving of the pork buns, however, A could not stop suggesting the Arroz Con Pato (HKD188) – beer cilantro rice, duck leg confit, choclo, piquillo peppers and baby carrots. The confit duck was not as tender as we had hoped. It was a little dry unfortunately. However, the duck breast was tender and delicious. The cilantro rice was nice but not for me. It was a very colourful dish though!

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Service was polite and friendly and our waitress knew all the dishes on the menu which was good! ‘The Mother’ came back with his colleagues a week later to have the buffet and he said that it was definitely good value.

GA’s ratings: 8 / 10

Mayta Peruvian Cuisine

3/F Grand Progress Building

15 – 16 Lan Kwai Fong,

Central, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2790 0928

Sushi Ketsu, Tin Hau, Hong Kong

November 13, 2013 1 comment

There’s never a shortage of Japanese restaurant in Tin Hau. I thought I have tried all of them but obviously not. We originally wanted to have yakitori but with no reservations on a Saturday night, chances are very slim. So we went to Sushi Ketsu which is located on Tsing Fung Street in Tin Hau

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The place was relatively busy for a Saturday night, all the restaurants that evening was full to be honest so we were grateful to have gotten a table without a reservation. I love Japanese food but am still very limited to what I can eat. ‘The Mother’ started with some king fish – unfortunately they weren’t as fresh as he had hoped. It was still icy cold he thought.

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I ordered the beef with mushrooms for Dragon, unfortunately she didn’t really like this. I thought it was quite good and relatively healthy! I did ask for no sauce as I was afraid it would be some sort of seafood sauce.

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‘The Mother’ ordered the sashimi bowl – different types of sashimi on top of a bed of rice. It looked pretty decent, but again ‘The Mother’ didn’t enjoy it. He thought the sashimi was not as fresh as it could be.

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My cousin IR had the tempura which he enjoyed. I stole a couple of the vegetable tempura and batter was light and it wasn’t overly oily.

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Poor Dragon refused to eat anything, and when I noticed another table ordering the chicken wings yakitori, I couldn’t help but order. 3 chicken wings, it was crispy, tender and oh so yummy. Unfortunately I only had a tiny piece, as Dragon ate all 3 of them.

Service was polite and the staff really knew the menu. It was a shame that ‘The Mother’ didn’t enjoy his food, however, IR and I thought the food wasn’t too bad. Definitely have had better, but it wasn’t too bad.

GA’s ratings: 6 / 10

Sushi Ketsu

G/F Tsing Fung Building

12 Tsin Fung Street

Tin Hau, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2887 2983

Catalunya, Central, Hong Kong

There’s been a lot of hype about this place, and has been on my list of places to try since it opened. Reservations has been a complete night mare, especially for dinner on either Friday and Saturday night. We managed to get a booking one Saturday night but had to cancel. I was so gutted, but thankfully, a couple of my dear friends also wanted to try this and we opt for lunch which was SO much easier to get reservations!

I was rather impressed with the large space, and the team of culinary experts – headed by Executive Chef, Alain Devahive Tolosa, who haas worked alongside Ferran Adria of el Bulli, and a team of 20 chefs who come from many of Spain’s top Michelin three-starred restaurants. The menu vast, it took a while for us to go through…

We started with the suckling pig tapa (HKD170) – two cube pieces, the skin was incredibly crispy and the meat, tender, so tender that Dragon ate both pieces! We had to order another two servings!

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I really enjoyed the steamed green asparagus with soft boil egg and black truffle (HKD160), it was scrumptiously good!

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The jamon iberico croquettes (HKD100) was a favourite amongst the diners – extremely smooth potatoes and indulgent.

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The black rice with red prawns (HKD160) – squid ink black rice with red prawns and garlic escense was a bit of a hit and miss with my fellow diners. Some loved the strong prawn flavours whilst others thought it was too fishy. I didn’t have any of this but ‘The Mother’ seemed to have enjoyed it.

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I didn’t have any of the cod fritters (HKD90) a tribute to one of the most popular Catalan bites was another hit. ‘The Mother’s’ words – crispy and very creamy inside! ha!

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Unfortunately the calamares with lemon mayonnaise (HKD110) was a little ‘meh’ – too oily and too much batter. ‘The Mother’ believes he has had better, so did my dining companions.

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The ham, cheese and truffle ‘bikini’ (HKD 120) was ok – it tasted like a normal ham and cheese sandwich and a pretty expensive one at that!

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I really enjoyed the scrambled egg on a potato bed with chorizo (HKD85) – eggs, potatoes, chorizo? Perfect breakfast!

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Bombas from barceloneta (HKD95) – meat and potato concoction with Brava spicy sauce – not very spicy but definitely delicious.

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The prime natural beef rib eye (HKD445) – 18 months, 400 days grass fed was incredibly delicious. Tender and succulent that it just melted in your mouth – could definitely have eaten this on my own!

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The seafood paella – scampi, prawns, muscles and clams (HKD850) was infinitely better than the one at Quemmo (post to come) but still lacked a little umph. R thought the prawns weren’t cooked enough, ‘The Mother’ thought it was just ‘ok’.

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We were getting full by one but thought we would share some desserts. The Cheese Flan (HKD70) was surprisingly better than I had anticipated. The cheese was subtle, it was fluffy and light.

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We all wanted to try the Torrija (HKD70) soft and sweet warm bread with smoked milk ice cream. Not sure what we were expecting in terms of smoked milk ice cream, but the bread reminded me too much of a bread and butter pudding. Not that I am complaining as I LOVE bread and butter pudding.

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The chocolate (HKD95) – a promise to end an indulgent meal on a delectably sweet note was the perfect end to the meal.

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In hindsight I am glad it wasn’t just ‘The Mother’ and I dining here, as we wouldn’t have tried that many dishes. It was so lovely to catch up with Jason Bonvivant and Mochachocolata Rita – let’s do it again!

Service was polite and food was pretty good overall. There were some that was meh but definitely keen to try their other dishes on the menu!

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

Catalunya

G/F, Guardian House,

32 Oi Kwan Road

Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2866 7900

Numero 15, Central, Hong Kong

I have walked past this place many times – it is on the way to and fro gym. Apparently, Mesa 15 used to be here, which has now moved to Grand Progress Building on Lan Kwai Fong. Numero 15 is the younger sibling and offers diners tapas and wine.

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Came here for lunch with a friend, you can never go wrong with Tapas right? I notice that there are a lot of them around Hong Kong – not all are great unfortunately! The set lunch – tapas and rice lunch for HKD138 is not a bad value. Diners get to choose two tapas, then rice / pasta as well as dessert! Not bad for a 3 course meal.

I started with the slow-cooked egg, smoked potato foam, chorizo and chorizo croquettes. Loved the chorizo croquettes, the croquettes were soft and pillowy.

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The smoked potato foam weren’t very smoky, it was good but a little too creamy for my liking.

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V had the deep fried calamari with aioli, and sautéed mixed mushrooms with baby asparagus. Loved the sautéed mixed mushrooms but then again, i am a huge fan of mushrooms. The calamari was pretty decent too I thought – light batter, and who can say no to aioli?

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For mains, the clams and Iberico pork belly rice had my name on it. Asked for no clams and they were very accommodating. The rice was risotto like, the pork belly was succulent albeit not enough!

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V opt for spicy mussels and prawns rice with chorizo which she enjoyed.

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The banana-toffee, baileys, frappe and greek yogurt foam was again very creamy for my liking – probably should have picked the chocolate mousse. I may have read it wrong as I was expecting banana banoffee – obviously two very different things!

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The 70% cocao chocolate mousse was decent, great with coffee or tea.

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It wasn’t very busy at lunch when we went. Would be interesting to see what dinner is like. ‘The Mother’ is on the hunt for tapas places, might suggest this place next time he wants tapas.

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

Numero 15

G/F, 15 Hollywood Road,

Central, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2362 0881