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Archive for the ‘Mediterranean’ Category

Nomad, Surry Hills

I have wanted to try this restaurant for a while and I have to say, I was totally and utterly impressed! Nomad opened its doors sometimes in 2013, and it is a wonderful addition to the Sydney food scene. It has fantastic food and co-owned and operated by Rebecca Littlemore and Al Yazbek and the head chef is Nathan Sasi (previously ex Rockpool, Husk (in South Carolina) and Heston Blumenthal) who is very passionate about local produce.

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I love the open space, natural wood, exposed ceiling and the open kitchen. The menu is split into snacks, small plates, from the grill and wood fire, from the garden and dessert. We pretty much skipped the small plates, ordered the fried chickpeas with falafel spice which was Dragon’s favourite. She had it with rice (yes, I bring rice for her as she is truly an Asian baby and eats rice with EVERYTHING!) and absolutely loved it. It was crunchy and addictive!

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We dug straight into the food girl and wood fire, starting with the wood roasted bone marrow with parsley and horseradish salad, grilled toast (AUD30). This was to0 die for! But then again, I am such a sucker for bone marrow (!) and 3 bone marrow was not enough for 5 hungry adults, especially when we ALL LOVE bone marrow! It was delicious and the horseradish salad was a wonderful complement.

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Next the wood roasted pork with mustard fruit, roasted fruits, roasted pair (AUD38) – the pork was excellent, and the crackle was like music to my ears – crispy and oh so sinfully good! I could probably have eaten the whole thing myself!

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The BBQ lamb rump with moroccan eggplant salad and sheep yogurt (AUD38) was a hit amongst the diners! The lamb was cooked beautifully, slightly pink and it was incredibly tender. For someone who doesn’t really like lamb this was surprisingly good!

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Dragon enjoyed the BBQ half chicken with cauliflower with goats (AUD38) – it had a lovely seasoning and the chicken meat was tender. Yes, she ate a quarter of this by herself!

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Last but not least, the wagyu skirt steak with butter poached radishes and gentleman’s relish (AUD39) was another favourite amongst the diners. Like the lamb, the steak was slightly pink inside was incredibly succulent and tender that one small piece was just not enough!

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For dessert, we thought we would share the bunuelos – roase water and cardamon custard (4 for AUD14) and although i was slightly disappointed, as I was expecting some sort of jam lava coming out, it was still very good! and the rose water and cardamon custard was a wonderful complement.

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We also ordered the dulce de leche magnum with white chocolate and almonds (AUD7). It was the tiniest magnum I have ever seen, I didn’t have any of this, but was told that it was also excellent.

Service was excellent, and the food amazingly good! I am definitely keen to go back and try other dishes on the menu and potentially order the bone marrow again! If we still lived in Surry Hills, I can envisage coming to this restaurant very often!

GA’s ratings: 8.5 / 10

Nomad Restaurant

16 Foster Street

 Surry Hills, Sydney, 2010

Ph: +61 2 9280 3395

Nomad on Urbanspoon

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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

Enomod, Soho, Hong Kong

Enomod stands for Enoteca Moderna is a newish restaurant on Elgin Street which promotes the social dining concept. The idea behind social dining is inspired by a cultural movement that emerged in 1930s America which is reflected in the decor in the restaurant. I quite like the vibe and the open space, and the lounge area which is good for drinks with friends or colleagues.

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We were here for lunch and opt for the lunch set menu. The menu I liked, brass copper and it was quite sexy I thought. We thought we would share and ordered one of each salad, pasta and main.

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Started with some tapas – choice of 3, there were 4 of us so we pretty much ate everything on the menu. We had the buffalo mozzarella, black forest ham, smoked turkey breast, spanish paprika sardines, salmon gravadlax with crackers and capers relish, octopus and olives Moroccan salad, homemade sundered tomatoes in olive oil, capsicum mint and lemon, zucchini ‘escabeche’, eggplant spicy marinate, hummus and crackers, marinated roasted pumpkin. I have to say, my favourites were the hummus and crackers, salmon gravadlax, and sundered tomatoes.

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The riccia, frisse, cheery, brown anchovies salad was ok, nothing too fancy I thought. It was light and refreshing

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The penne genovese meat and marsala parmesan sauce was rather ordinary. Lacked umph and flavour.

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The pan fried chicken breast with fresh tomato basil sauce was surprisingly tender and full of flavours

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However, our favourite would have to be the homemade Mediterranean beef burger on foccacia. It doesn’t look much in the photo below, but the beef pattie was tender and the foccacia a nice touch. It was a rather small serving though, that we had to order TWO!

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The place was relatively empty for lunch. I thought the food was OK, the burger was probably the best thing but I have definitely had better burgers. Shame though, as I was expecting more and my fellow diners were also disappointed. Service was friendly and pleasant.

GA’s ratings: 6 / 10

Enomod

1/F, 1-5 Elgin Street

Central, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2555 6065

Ester, Chippendale, Sydney

A visit to Sydney is not a visit if I don’t catch up with one of my bridesmaid M! I have known this girl for a very long time and is one of my dearest friends! M suggested we go to Ester, which is a new-ish restaurant in Chippendale, backed by the guys behind Vini, Berta and 121BC. It’s run by Mat Lindsay and the sous chef is Nick Wong who is ex-Bodega.

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The restaurant is a lot smaller than I thought, however, I thought it looked very similar to its sisters restaurant. I quite like the relax atmosphere and the vibe. The menu is quite vast, diners can choose from the snacks, small plates and woodfire section and everything sounded delicious. We weren’t sure what we wanted so opt for the set menus which are available for $62 or $89 per person. The $62 has about 7 courses – my goodness. M and I don’t usually go for set menus but we were determined that evening. The courses are chosen by the chef, however, we could choose it ourselves. Considering I had a nut allergy and couldn’t eat any seafood, we picked our own.

Whilst perusing the menu, we were served with some tasty crispy chickpeas which were lightly garnished with salt and rosemary – oh my… tasty! M started with some oysters ($3.5each) and she said they were good!

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The la tur cheese was delicious, it’s a dense, creamy blend of pasteurized cow, goat and sheep milk. It was soft and goey and runny, and the mandarin and fennel really gave it a nice touch.

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We both couldn’t resist the blood sausage ($6) and it was delish! The sauce was just incredible.

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Now onto the small plates. Started with the polenta, corn and sage ($18) were deliciously creamy and sweet. It was hard not to lick the plate!

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The pig tail, oyster and daikon ($20) – all sorts of wonderfulness on a plate!

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We really enjoyed the tender duck which was served with pear and enoki ($19) – very light, very nice! The pear really complemented the duck well.

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The woodfired section of the menu is the larger dishes on the menu. We started with the chicken, lemon, garlic ($26). The chicken was so tender that it just fell apart and melted in your mouth.

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The lamb, yoghurt and coriander ($32) was surprisingly tasty and tender but it was a little too lamb-y for my liking. M really liked it though.

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For dessert, we had the ice cream – salted caramel, fennel and chocolate. I have to say that my least favourite was fennel – it was just too weird for me. However, the salted caramel and chocolate were both really lovely. The chocolate was probably the winner for me, the salted caramel was a little too sweet.

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We were both stuffed to the brim! Everything was delicious, my favourites would have to be the pork sausage, the polenta and the duck – seriously incredible! Would definitely be back to try their other dishes – especially the seafood ones.

Service was polite and friend, will definitely be back!

GA’s ratings: 8 / 10

Ester Restaurant

52 Meagher Street

Chippendale, 2008

Ph: +61 2 8068 8279

Ester Restaurant and Bar on Urbanspoon

Laris, Central

Laris is the new-ish addition to the Dining Concept Group. David Laris is the Australian chef behind this new establishment and menu has both Australian and Mediterranean influence. Laris can be found on Wyndham Street, which overlook the old Central Hong Kong police headquarters. The venue is quite relax with stylish interiors. I was here for lunch and diners at the option of either a 2 course for HKD138 or 3 courses for HKD178.

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We started with a crispy baguette with garlic butter – love a good baguette. I couldn’t go past the leek tart with brie cheese served with rocket salad and aged balsamic toffee. I am also a sucker for leek tart and this was absolutely fantastic. The tart was smooth and creamy and the aged balsamic toffee gave it a nice touch.

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My friend, L couldn’t go past the hand cut New Zealand beef tartar with crostini, apple mustard and slow cooked egg. It was well presented. I didn’t have any of this, but L really enjoyed it, the flavours were outstanding she said and she loved the apple mustard.

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I was craving a burger and opt for the New Zealand Grass fed burger, fontina cheese and truffle aioli served with potato croquettes. The beef patty was thick and juicy. I loved the gooey fontina cheese and the truffle aioli was a wonderful addition.

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It was seriously a scrumptious burger. The potato croquettes were sinful but incredible – crunchy exterior but soft and fluffy on the inside.

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L ordered the house made green pea and ricotta ravioli with sage and brown butter sauce. This was also wonderful – you can never go wrong with fresh pasta and who doesn’t like brown butter sauce? I was pleasantly surprised by the green pea puree, it was delicious.

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Unfortunately I didn’t have time for dessert as I had to go back to work but what we had were wonderful. Service was polite and food was delightful. Definitely keen to try the dessert nd the dinner menu next time.

GA’s ratings: 8 / 10

Laris

2/F, Carfield Commercial Building,

77 Wyndham Street,

Central, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2530 1600

Kepos Street Kitchen, Waterloo, Sydney

Oh my how I have missed the café scene in Sydney. Rocking up to a café, having breakfast with your friends, and having a very good meal and coffee! You don’t get that at all in Hong Kong – unless I have been going to the wrong places then please let me know!

I was catching up with one of my dearest friends, and we both have read about Kepos Street Kitchen, which is located on Kepos Street (doh!) where Strangers by Candy used to be. The chef behind Kepos Street Kitchen is Michael Rantisi ex Bathers’ Pavilion. Kepos Street Kitchen is opened for breakfast and lunch and the menu has a Middle Eastern twist to it. I had perused the menu quite extensively before going, and knew exactly what I wanted.

It was a bright and gorgeous day, I love the brightness of the café inside, it was tiny though, and I think you would struggle to get a table for more than 4. Thankfully I didn’t have to wait too long and got a table in less than 10 mins!

I couldn’t resist the mocktail – pomegranate mojito, I love the redness of the drink, it was refreshing and perfect for the gorgeous day.

M had the soy latte which she enjoyed.

I couldn’t go past the zucchini fritters with dill, smoked salmon and poached egg ($18). The fritters were a little salty for my liking but it was still quite delicious – moist and soft, and the poached egg oozed with yolk – how I missed a simple poached egg!

M couldn’t go past the ajeah – open herb omelette, kipfler potatoes, chorizo, sourdough ($16). This was simple but yet delicious.

Service was good considering how busy it was that day and food delicious. I saw someone order the dad’s favourite breaky – falafel, hummus, balneh, dukkah, hardboiled egg, tomato salad and schiacciata bread – it looked FANTASTIC! Will have to order that next time I am back!

Great café, I sure have missed the café scene!

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

Kepos Street Kitchen

96 Kepos Street

Waterloo 2017

Ph: +61 2 9319 3919

Kepos Street Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Fix St James, Sydney

Fix St James has been opened since January 2007. The man behind this wonderful restaurant is Stuart Knox (head sommelier and owner) and Sam Bennett as Chef and serves diners a combination of Italian, Mediterranean and Modern Australian food. Fix St James is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner (Open from Monday to Saturday now), and this was another place that my bus would drive past and I would say to myself ‘I want to try that restaurant!’


I was catching up with an old colleague, S, for lunch, and suggested this place. It’s quite a slick venue, very business-y and very suit-y. Menu vast and wine list even more. If you can’t decide what to have you can always have ‘Feed me Fix’ – where they will pick out the menu for you.


It is always hard to have a five course menu for lunch, especially if you have to go back to work, so we opted for just main. Started with the complimentary focaccia, a little cheesy and topped with herbs.


I couldn’t go past the esk valley suckling pig with lentils ($34).


Tender, slightly pink and melt in your mouth pork with a slither of crackle, oh how I have missed crackle! Perfect, crunchy crackle (a little on the thin side, but still wonderful!) served with lentils was exactly what I needed. Perfect, winter comfort food.

S on the other hand opted for whole flounder with mussels served in a tomato broth ($34). I didn’t have any of this, but it certainly look fabulous and S no doubt demolished this.


Unfortunately neither of us had dessert – we were both full but I wouldn’t hesitate to come back and they their ‘Feed Me Fix!’ menu – 5 dishes to share for $49 per person or 6 dishes to share $59 per person. Service wonderful and warm and I look forward to coming to dinner again soon.

GA’s rating: 7 / 10

Fix St James

111 Elizabeth Street

Sydney 2000

Ph: +61 2 9232 2767

Fix St. James on Urbanspoon