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22 Ships, Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Like the name of the restaurant, 22 Ships is actually situated on 22 Ship Street in Wan Chai. The restaurant is quite small, with a capacity of about 35 people. There are absolutely no reservations policy and all members of your party must be present before being seated. This restaurant is led by Michelin-starred British celebrity chef Jason Atherton. It has a very casual atmosphere and very friendly.

22S_menu

I was here with one of my dear friends, M (yes this post is extremely late!). I have wanted to come here for dinner but because of the no reservations policy it was a bit hard, especially with Dragon, so we decided to go for lunch and that was definitely much better.

We started with the jamon iberico croquette, deliciously crispy, the croquette was soft and pillowy. I couldn’t really taste the jamon iberico which was a shame.

22S_croquette

The heirloom tomatoes and sherry vinegar was tasty. I love heirloom tomatoes, so does Dragon so this was a win win for all of us.

22s_Tomato1

I can never go past bone marrow and the baked bone marrow, onion jam, sourdough and gentlemen’s relish butter was beautiful. Aromatic bone marrow, scraped out and breadcrumbed before being nestled back in the bone.

22S_marrow1

It was incredibly soft that it just melted in your mouth. The relish was rich, and the sweet caramelised onion a wonderful complement. I could have definitely eaten this dish on my own or even had seconds.

22S_marrow2

We both couldn’t go past the suckling pig and this was probably the highlight for me. Crispy skin with the right amount of sinful fatty goodness. The meat was tender and loved the baked apple that went with it.

22S_pork

We were getting full by this stage but couldn’t resist in getting the frozen black sesame, pineapple and carrot sorbet with coconut tapioca – OH EMMM GEEE! The pineapple and carrot sorbet was phenomenal, not to mention the frozen black sesame, and the coconut tapioca was just a wonderful complement. A perfect way to end the meal.

22s_dessert1

I have to say, I really enjoyed the last couple of dishes – especially the bone marrow, suckling pig and dessert. The heirloom tomatoes were nice but nothing special I thought.

Service was polite and food came relatively quickly. My only gripe is that the restaurant is SMALL! It was hard to eat with Dragon as there weren’t a lot of room, if she was older I think it would have been even more difficult. Would definitely like to come back (for lunch again perhaps) and try their other dishes.

GA’s ratings: 8 / 10

22 Ships

G/F, 22 Ship Street,

Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2555 0722

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Movida Sydney, Surry Hills

An impromptu work trip led me back to Sydney, I wasn’t really excited as first as I had only left 3 – 4 months ago but then I thought about catching up with friends and eating at some great restaurants including Movida and suddenly became excited! I admit, I love being in Hong Kong but I have missed my friends (you know who you are!) and I have missed the café scene as it is pretty much non-existent in Hong Kong! As always, I had a list of places to go, and although I have been to Movida and Movida Aqui in Melbourne, I was keen to try the Movida in Sydney! Menu was the pretty much the same, ‘The Mother’ and I tried not to order anything that we had before and I don’t think we did!

Movida Sydney is located on Holt Street, where Cotton Duck used to be – I dined there once, it was good but nothing special I thought and even though I was sad to see it close, I am glad that Movida has taken the place over! Thankfully they take bookings, so we made reservations for lunch, but it wasn’t too busy which was good.

We started with some sour dough bread – fresh and delicious – god how I have missed GOOD fresh bread!

We started with Sardinilla – house cured WA baby sardines, set in a Gazpacho jelly and served with a heirloom tomato salad ($16.50) which was on the daily menu special. ‘The Mother’ LOVES sardines so this was a must get. The sardines were fresh and not slimy and the heirloom tomatoes I LOVED! It was refreshing light and deliciously tasty!

‘The Mother’ wanted the grilled chorizo and pardon sandwich ($7 each) – he didn’t offer any to me but said it was ‘excellent’.

I couldn’t go past the quail terrine ($7 each) which was served with mash potatoes.

We both couldn’t go past Pancetta ($25) – oven roasted pork belly with quince ali oli and spiced carrot salad. OMG was my first reaction; it was definitely a generous serving. The pork meat was so tender that I didn’t even need a knife to cut through it (I was feeding Dragon and only had one hand!) The pork crackle – OMG! Crispy, thin and absolutely awesome – I would have loved more crackle!

The zucchini flowers with calamari were not what I expected. I guess in my mind, I had thought it was zucchini flowers STUFFED with calamari! Nevertheless, it was still good, and the calamari was incredibly tender.

Last but not least – I was getting full by this stage – patatas bravas con mojo ($16) – smoked potato bravas with faux bacon dust, served with Mojo pico. The potatoes were soft with a crispy layer and I loved the mojo pico.

Unfortunately we didn’t get any dessert, I was craving the lamington panna cotta from Flour and Stone and no doubt we went and I bought the last four lamingtons! Cravings satisfied and I still believe that it is the BEST lamington in Sydney!

Back to Movida – service was fantastic and food was as good as Melbourne.

GA’s ratings: 8 / 10

Movida Sydney

50 Holt Street

Surry Hills 2010

Ph: +61 2 8964 7642

MoVida Sydney on Urbanspoon

Bodega – the boys are back with a new menu!

Still one of my favourite tapas place in Sydney. I have lost count how many times I have visit this place, however, when I heard that both Nic Wong and Joel Humpreys has left and that both Elvis Abrahnowicz and Ben Milgate are back I had to return. I loved the menu when they first opened and what they have done with Porteno, so I knew I was in for a real treat. Bodega has been opened since 2006, and recently undergone a new face lift and a new menu! Even the bar area in the other room has gone, and there are now more tables, hopefully the queues won’t be as long!

I came here for lunch with a dear friend, S. Everything on the menu sounded good, I really wanted to eat everything  but my eyes were definitely bigger than my stomach! It’s also hard to try everything with two people, no doubt I will return.

We started with lamb empanada, mint yogurt ($6.50), the empanada was fantastic, the lamb flavour was subtle and I adored the mint yogurt.

Next the grilled calamari, pickled tomato, ink, water cress ($18). The grilled calamari was cooked to perfection, soft and tender and the pickled tomato was incredibly sour that it sent shivers down my spine but in a good way. It really complemented the calamari well.

We received complimentary pork sausage, chili sofrito, pickles, butter lettuce as our next order took a while which I thought was very generous of them! We didn’t even notice but it’s nice that they did.  We were told to wrap the sausage, and pickles with lettuce and eat it like sang choy bau – oh my. The pork sausage was incredibly tender, the chili sofrito really gave it a nice touch.

The dish we were waiting for, wagyu skirt steak, roast pepper and chipotle béarnaise ($28) – OH MY FRIGGING GOD! Elvis and Ben really do know how to cook steak! The steak was cooked to perfection and the chipotle béarnaise was to die for – creamy, delicious and wonderful. I could have eaten the béarnaise on my own and licked the plate! It was heavenly.

For dessert we thought we would share ‘banana split’ cream flan, banana marshmallow, dulce de leche ice cream ($16) – again – OH MY FRIGGING GOD! The cream flan oh so creamy, the banana marshmallow wonderful and the highlight, dulce de leche ice cream with mashed bananas – not only are they good with their steak but desserts also!

I have always enjoyed my meal at Bodega, and having both Ben and Elvis back, they have seriously taken this place to another level! I can’t wait to try their other dishes – the buttermilk pancake, salt cod, egg, smoked maple butter looked divine! Seriously, if you have been you are definitely due for another visit, and if you haven’t – I would suggest getting your arse there! You are in for a real treat!

This was my local when we lived in Surry Hills, if we weren’t moving, I could definitely see myself coming here every day and trying something new every time! Returning this Friday for lunch so stay tune for more delicious goodness!

GA’s ratings: 9 / 10

Bodega

216 Commonwealth Street

Surry Hills 2010

Ph: +61 2 9212 7766

Bodega on Urbanspoon

Encasa Deli, Sydney

Encasa Deli is opened by the owners of Encasa Restaurant on Pitt Street. It can can be found on Bathurst Street, selling Spanish groceries, freshly made sandwiches to eat in or for those workers on the run.

Upon entering, you can see a cabinet displaying all sorts of deli goodness such as salami, prosciutto, wheels of cheese and large terracotta dishes full of plump olives. A list of different types of bocadillos, long portion of baguette sliced in half and filled with Spanish chorizo sausage, cold cuts, tuna or Serrano ham, is written on the blackboard which is hung on the wall.

I was catching up with M and she suggested this place. We couldn’t decide what we wanted as everything sounded wonderful, however, the lady told us that the chorizo was one of their best sellers.

I took her advice and opt for the chorizo ($10.50), grilled Spanish sausage, roast capsicum, Spanish onion and aioli. Made to order on fresh bread which are all supplied by Brasserie Bread. They were crusty on the outside and deliciously soft on the inside.

The grilled Spanish sausage was excellent; the roast capsicum a wonderful complement and I loved loved the aioli!

M had the Argentino ($10), South American sausage and chimichurri. I didn’t have any of this, but she did enjoy it.

I know how much ‘The Mother’ loves delis so told him about it and he has gone twice in a week! First time, he had the mortadella sandwich and really enjoyed it, and he had the Boquerones, white anchovies, comfit piquillo peppers, roast garlic aioli and loved it! No photos unfortunately, he just told me it was ‘really good’.

There’s never a shortage of food in the CBD but this is definitely a great addition! Unfortunately we didn’t try and olives, but I did manage to buy salami for home which ‘The Mother’ loved. No doubt we will be back to try their other bocadillos, I am definitely keen to try Canario – roast pork leg, queso fresco, roast capsicum mojo and tomato.

Had a quick look at the grocery section, tins of sardines, marinated octopus are available, as well as kitchen supplies like terracotta dishes and tins of tomatoes and pickled jalapenos. Definitely worth coming back for!

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

Encasa Deli

135 Bathurst Street

Sydney 2000

Ph: +61 2 9283 4277

Encasa Deli on Urbanspoon

Categories: Deli, Spanish, Sydney Tags: , , ,

Encasa, Haymarket

I can’t remember the last time I was here at Encasa, two or three years perhaps, but I do remember the seafood paella and really enjoyed it. As you know ‘The Mother’ loves tapas, it is a fun way of eating, especially if there are four or five of us.

Encasa is located on the busy street of Pitt Street, where most of the Thai restaurant can be found. The place was extremely busy for a Thursday evening, and if you didn’t have a reservation expect to wait for at least an hour! Lots of different types of tapas dishes on the menu, as well as pasta, pizza and many more.

‘The Mother’ wanted to order one of everything on the tapas menu! Thankfully, we all said no as that is insane and we were right, of course. We struggled to finish what we ordered yet alone one of each!

Started with the sangria – love the chopped fruits, it makes it so much healthier!

We started with the Alcachofas ($8.50), artichoke hearts in olive oli, fresh herbs, lemon and chili. If you don’t like artichoke then this is not the dish for you, I love the tang from the lemon which gave it a nice kick.

The Mejillones a la Marinera ($13), black mussels in fresh tomato sauce with basil and chili was a hit amongst the diners.

Champiñones al Ajillo ($8), sizzling garlic mushrooms were excellent, it was so garlicky that I smelt like garlic the next morning!

We couldn’t help but get two serves of patatas Bravas ($9.50), fried potato with garlic mayonnaise, and spicy tomato salsa. Golden chunks of potatoes, crispy on the outside and generously drizzled in garlic mayonnaise and spice tomato salsa – YUM!

I’ve never had the Tortilla Española ($8.50), omelette with potato and onion and I have to say, they were delish! Cooked to perfection, this could be a new favourite tapas dish!

Unfortunately the Pinchos de Pollo con Mojo ($12), chicken skewers with red capsicum, olive oil, cumin and vinegar were a bit ordinary. Thought the chicken were too dry and tasteless.

The Albondigas ($12), three large tender beef meatballs in almond sauce were seriously delicious. Served in a terra cotta dish, these meatballs were HUGE! Half was more than enough for enough as I was getting quite full by this stage!

Loved the grilled asparagus with crispy jamon and melted Manchego cheese ($13).

We also ordered a plate of the cured chorizo which was served with toasted bread ($10.50).

We did order Chorizo a la sidra – Spanish sausage poached in cider but thankfully they forgot and we managed to cancel it. We were SERIOUSLY stuffed, thank goodness none of us listened to ‘the Mother’ and order one of everything from the menu!

Unfortunately they ran out of churros, but that was probably a blessing in disguise. I don’t think I could have fit anything else – I was so full that I was ready to roll home.

Tapas is definitely a fun way of eating, you get to try a bit of everything. Service was friendly, even though they did forget one of our orders, we didn’t mind. It’s a shame we didn’t get the paella or the pizza, they looked good!

Would definitely come back for the pizza and the paella.

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

Encasa

423 Pitt Street

Sydney 2000

Ph: +61 9211 4257

Encasa on Urbanspoon

Movida Aqui, Melbourne

I have wanted to go to Movida for a while now. Last time we went to Melbourne we couldn’t get a reservation as they were fully booked. This time round, we were hoping to try our luck and luck was on our side! I didn’t expect to get a table easily – rocked up, asked for a table for four and got a table outside – perfect!

Movida Aqui is the sister restaurant of Movida, which was open in 2003. They now have four different restaurants, Movida, Movida Next Door, Movida Aqui and Movida Terraza.

The menu is broken up into small plates, grilled, cold meats, rich dishes and many more. Thought we would share a couple of things, as tapas should be!

We started with complimentary bread and olive oil.

The anchoa ($4.50 each) – hand filleted Cantabrian Artisan anchovy on crouton with smoked tomato sorbet. It was a little salty for me, but I know ‘The Mother’ really enjoyed it. He said ‘the sorbet took away the saltiness of the anchovy’.

Sardines in olive oil with toast ($9.50) was absolutely lovely. The sardines weren’t fishy or oily, and the thin crunchy toast really gave it a nice crunch.

One of my favourites – bomba ($4.50 each) – Catalan potato bomb filled with chorizo were amazing. Perfectly round potatoes with spicy chunks of chorizo with crispy exterior. We loved it so much, we ordered another serving, this time though ONE each, none of this HALF or sharing thing!

Pulpo ($23.50) – chargrilled octopus with avocado and spanner crab salad was excellent. The octopus was tender and succulent and the avocado puree was a wonderful complement.

We wanted to order the pork belly but unfortunately they ran out! *sigh*, so we ordered the next pork dish, Butifarra ($19.50) – house made Catalan pork and pepper sausage with chickpeas and house made morcilla. The sausages I thought were a little salty, it was tender and the right amount of fattiness. The chickpeas were a wonderful compliment.

Carillera de Buey ($22.50) – slowly braised beef cheek in Pedro Ximenez on cauliflower puree was to die for! Melt-in-your mouth tender, the beef cheeks were rich in flavour but it was nicely complemented by the smooth cauliflower puree. A winner dish!

We were quite full but there’s always room for dessert right? So we shared two desserts between the four of us. The flan ($14.50) – crème caramel served with pestinos. The crème caramel was super wobbly and the texture incredibly soft. Served with pestinos which are biscuits that contains fennel seeds and coated with sugar crystals were delightful!

Churros con chocolate ($12.50) – Spanish doughnuts with rich drinking chocolate was excellent. Probably the best churros I have had ever! The texture of the churros were light, fluffy and incredible, the chocolate was bittersweet and complemented the sweet sugary churros. One churros each was definitely not enough!

It was definitely a wonderful meal and exceeded expectation! We really wanted the pork belly, there will definitely be a next time! The winner for me would have to be the bomba, the octopus and the churros! Yum! I’m also keen to try Movida – next time!

It was an extremely busy evening, and service was still very friendly and warm. Our waitress was great and recommended a couple of our dishes which we all loved!

Will definitely be back!

GA’s ratings: 8 / 10

Movida Aqui

500 Bourke St Level 1

Melbourne, VIC 3000

Ph: +61 3 9663 3038

MoVida Aqui and Terraza on Urbanspoon

Bodega revisit, Surry Hills

It’s been a year since my last visit, and it is still my favourite tapas place in Sydney! I was catching up with M1 and M2, they both have yet to come here, so thought I would suggest it. Both Elvis Abrahanowicz and Ben Milgate are permanently at Porteno, so Nic Wong and Joel Humpreys have taken over the reigns as head chefs of Bodega and I was keen to see what they had to offer. The menu is still quite similar to last year.

We started with the chipotle pulled pork steamed buns with pickled carrots ($6 each) – these little babies were absolutely delightful! Tender, succulent pulled pork with soft steamed buns, it was so easy to eat half a dozen of these. Definitely my favourites!

The poached ocean trout dolmades with green chilli yogurt ($6 each) were a hit amongst the diners.  The green chilli yogurt was a wonderful complement.

Couldn’t go past the fried spiced calamari with aioli ($18) – luscious calamari with spices and the aioli was just like icing on the cake.

M1 couldn’t resist but order the steamed pork belly with warm salad of onion and shiitake mushroom ($24) – he is another pork lover! Thinly sliced pork belly which just melted in your mouth – it was as good as I remembered it to be!

‘The Mother’ wanted mussels which came with a side of fried bread (which is usually eaten with congee).

The mushroom and garlic ($12) was lovely, strong garlicky flavour.

Corn tamale with black beans and avocado ($12) was a hit. Loved the combination of black beans, and avocado and eaten with corn chips was scrumptiously good!

We were all stuffed, and could not fit any dessert, although the banana split was very tempting! Think both Nic and Joel has done quite well, my favourite is definitely the chipotle pulled pork steamed buns, followed by the steamed pork belly and fried spiced calamari. No doubt we will be returning soon!

Please note they don’t take reservations, so be there early if you want to avoid the queues!

GA’s ratings: 8.5 / 10

Bodega Tapas Bar

216 Commonwealth St

Surry Hills, 2010

Ph: +61 2 9212 7766

Bodega on Urbanspoon