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Tomislav, Darlinghurst

Tomislav is a small bistro located in Darlinghurst. Could be missed if you don’t know it exists. I love the balcony, where we managed to sit outside, it was perfect for a summer evening. I do like an open kitchen, where I can see the chefs in action. We had a view of the Harbour Bridge which was quite lovely too – would be perfect for NYE, and see the fireworks.

The waitress we had was absolutely lovely, she was so friendly, cheerful and helpful. She even managed to remember all our orders without taking any notes down! I would have forgotten that’s for sure. Apparently the menu is relatively new. Four courses for $90 and each course gives you a choice of five dishes, from light to heavy to dessert.

Started with complementary Sourdough bread with butter. I loved how the butter had a hint of espresso, very clever, as it gave the bread a nice sweet after taste which I really enjoyed.

We couldn’t resist but order a serve of the rice crackers with seal salt and vinegar ($10), thin sheets of fried rice cracker which was light and crunchy. Spray three pumps from the vinegar bottle before eating, I love the sourness, the strong vinegar smell, it was quite delicious!

The rice crackers with sour cream and chives ($11) were also a hit!

There were so many choices, I didn’t know where to start. It took us a while to decide. The 1st course had a lot of raw food, which was a little bit of a dilemma for me. I wanted the poached hen’s yolk, foie gras – pickled beetroots. Asked if they could cook the yolk longer, but the chef made this dish vegetarian, so instead of the hen’s yolk, I got some mushrooms. It was such a pretty dish – mushrooms, crumbed foie gras, radish and pickled beetroots. It was a light and refreshing dish.

Although, the hen’s yolk looked SO much better!

C1 had the cape hawke rock oysters with lemon ice and soy dressing, these babies looks fantastic!

C2 and J had the kangaroo tartare which was served with mint and hazelnut dressing and cute little toasted bread. Unfortunately I didn’t get to try this, but C2 loved the flavours and really enjoyed it.

T had the scampi carpaccio with sour cream and pumpkin juice. I loved how the pumpkin juice was served in a test tube and poured when the dish on the table. The colours are just too vibrant!

Amazing that everyone had a different dish, S had poached yellow fin tuna, sour potato and lime honey. This would have definitely been my first choice… if I could eat tuna!

Second course for me would have to be roast red gate farm quail with xo sauce and ice sour cherries sorbet. This was absolutely delish. Tender, succulent quail, the xo sauce was not distinctive, but I love the sour cherry sorbet that came with it.

C1 and R had the basmati rice risotto which was served with lemon and grilled yamba prawns. C1 really enjoyed this, I do love a good risotto and this was tasty.

C2 had the grilled blackmore’s tongue with toffee glaze and coconut ice cream. It sounded SO wrong but C2 thought this was excellent. Dish of the night he claims. The tongue was cut very thin, then grilled on both side before it was served on top of toffee glaze with coconut ice cream.

Last of the savoury dish, and C2 and I both couldn’t go past the ranger’s valley beef short rib served with shitake and grilled mango. Oh my – these were one of the nicest beef short ribs I have had. Braised for 24 hours then grilled and served with mango puree and shitake mushrooms. Fantastic dish to end on, probably the highlight of the evening for me, I really loved this dish!

Majority of the diners couldn’t go past the burrawong duck breast with wasabi and poached rhubarb. The wasabi was very subtle and light, and the rhubarb really gave it that extra nice sweet flavour. The duck was cooked to perfection. T didn’t enjoy the rhubarb so much, but thought the duck was nice.

S had the roast john dory fillet with warrigal greens and salt caramel. Unfortunately I didn’t take a photo of this but she really enjoyed it and said she hadn’t eaten anything quite like it. It was super yum!

We had a couple of sides, three servings of the triple cooked crinkle cut fries ($11) – like Heston’s and they were incredible! Crunchy, light, and no one could stop eating them!

The icebergs with macadamias and cranberries ($10) was also lovely.

Final course, dessert. Unfortunately this was a little bit of a letdown for me. Opt for the vanilla cheese cake with basil ice and rhubarb sorbet. We were told it is not your typical cheese cake – not a baked cheese cake but very much moose-like. The basil ice didn’t really do it for me, but I LOVED the rhubarb sorbet, sweet, and light and absolutely refreshing. The cheese cake itself was a little ordinary, I think this was one of their special desserts, but it was too mouse-like.

C2 and R had milk chocolate cream cake, hazelnuts and smoked banana ice cream. I don’t think C2 and R enjoyed this, they thought it was quite ordinary, they preferred the savoury dishes.

C1 on the other hand had tarago river blue, tamarillo pie and clotted cream. This looked good, the tarago river blue was softened, the combination of it all was great. Think C1 enjoyed this dish more than I did with the cheesecake.

I really enjoyed my savoury dishes, the beef especially was fantastic! The dessert was a real letdown unfortunately. Service fantastic and efficient, although it did drag a little towards the end.

Nevertheless, it was a wonderful meal with friends, I would happily come back and eat more of their savoury stuff and perhaps try something different on their dessert menu.

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

Tomislav

2/13 Kirketon Road

Darlinghurst 2010

Ph: +61 2 9356 4535

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A Tavola, Darlinghurst

A Tavola is Italian for ‘to the table’, it was established in 2007 by chef owner Eugenio Maiale. It certainly has been a while since my last visit to A Tavola. I was trying to figure out where to have my birthday dinner with ‘The Mother’ and suggested this place. I know ‘The Mother’ has never been and I had a feeling that he would like this place.

Upon entering the restaurant, there is a 10 metre long communal table stretched the length of the room. Two large blackboards are hung on the wall with daily specials scrawled in Italian. Thankfully we were given menus, as it would take me forever to figure out what was what, and our friendly waiter explained each dish to us.

We started with the complimentary bread, home-made focaccia with fennel and rosemary. It was accompanied by small dish of chili infused olive oil which was absolutely divine!

I remember the serving being quite large, so thought we would skip entrée. I couldn’t go past the GNOCCHI con PISELLI e FUNGHI ($33) – house made potato gnocchi, pea puree, king brown and oyster mushroom. It was indeed a GENEROUS serving.

The gnocchi was incredibly soft and pillow-y. Don’t be put off by the green colour, the pea puree was absolutely wonderful, it wasn’t strong and the mushroom a wonderful complement. It was sprinkled with bread crumbs, which gave it that extra crunch. It was definitely one of the nicest gnocchi I have had.

‘The Mother’ opted for PESCE con BROCCOLINI e CAPERI ($37), pan fried ocean trout, it was slightly pink in the middle, served with broccolini, tomato, caperberry and kipfler potato. ‘The Mother’ doesn’t usually order fish when dining out, he usually finds that they are over cooked, but he said this was excellent. The ocean trout was cooked perfectly.

We ordered a side of Baby cos, tomato, basil, cucumber, olives ($15) – which complemented our dish well.

For dessert, we thought we would share the CREMINO al CIOCCOLATO ($14) – served in a coffee mug, chocolate, hazelnut, Italian meringue with salted caramel ice cream. It had me at salted caramel ice cream. It was deliciously rich, deliciously creamy and deliciously excellent! It was the perfect way to end the meal.

Service was impeccable, but it did get a little noisy towards the end of the evening, with large group of people sitting in the middle.

The food is as good as I remembered it to be, simple Italian at its best. I don’t know why it has taken me this long to return, definitely keen to come back and have the half-moon shaped ravioli, perch, capers, mascarpone, lemon and heirloom tomatoes – yum! But the gnocchi was incredibly tasty! Wouldn’t hesitate to have it again.

It was a pretty low key but lovely birthday celebration with ‘The Mother’. Next year will be a different kind of birthday, it won’t just be the two of us anymore, but I am sure looking forward to this year! Lots of changes coming!

GA’s ratings: 8 / 10

A Tavola

348 Victoria St

Darlinghurst 2010

Ph: +61 2 9331 7871

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Honeycomb, Darlinghurst

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.


I came here with my Uncle and E. I know how much they both really enjoyed Café Sopra and suggested this place. Started with complimentary bread, sourdough from Sonoma.


We all couldn’t go past the deep fried zucchini flowers stuffed with five italian cheeses ($5.50 each).


OH my, thin batter, the zucchini flowers were delightful. It had a strong cheese flavour, it was gooey and frigging delicious! One was definitely enough as it was quite rich.

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!


Three large meatballs with rich tomato sauce and spaghettini ($26) was probably my least favourite out of the tree, but it was still good.


We also got a side of chips ($8) – talk about carb overload but these chips were crunchy on the outside and soft pillowy on the inside. NO meal is complete without chips according to uncle.


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

Honeycomb

354 Liverpool Street

Darlinghurst 2010

Ph: +61 2 9331 3387

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Dondon, Darlinghurst

Located on the busy road of Oxford Street, Dondon can be missed if you don’t know the existence of the restaurant. It’s not very fancy, looks like a rundown hole in wall with plain tables and interior but don’t let that put you off, as it is actually quite good.

I have been told Dondon makes brilliant noodles, the sushi and sashimi are good quality. I took ‘The Mother’ here one Saturday evening, thankfully we came relatively early, by 7.30pm the place was packed.

We started with the fried goyza, slightly crunchy on the outside, this was good but have definitely had better.

I couldn’t go past the pork katsu don ($9.50) – one of my favourite Japanese meals – a bowl of rice topped with deep fried pork cutlet, egg and shallots. The pork was incredibly tender, and I love the egg which was scrambled and drizzled on top of the pork. It was definitely a generous serving, didn’t even manage to eat half the rice!

With it, came miso soup, which had some udon in it.

‘The Mother’ opt for the prawn tempura with udon ($9.50) – he loves tempura, the batter was light and the prawns and vegetables fresh. I couldn’t help but steal the eggplant and sweet potato – yum!

The udon was good, but I definitely preferred my katsudon!

I have had a couple of takeaway also, the unagi don was incredibly rich but delicious. Their handrolls are fresh and reasonably priced. Did also enjoy the teriyaki beef temaki (handrolls). Definitely cheap and deliciously Japanese food. Good value, generous serving and service friendly.

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

Dondon

80 Oxford St

Darlinghurst, 2010

Ph: +61 2 9331 3544

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Food Society, Darlinghurst

It’s always interesting to hear how couples meet. I met ‘The Mother’ about 7.5 years ago now, we met whilst playing indoor soccer. While I admit, it wasn’t love at first sight (as I don’t really believe in that!) it was his kindness, his ability to make me laugh and his ability to listen to me crap on that attracted me to him. To this date, 7.5 years later, we still can’t agree on where we had our first date. I believe it was at the Opera bar, and he seems to think it was at the Cohi Bar.

It has been a wonderful 7 years – dated for three, married for four! We have many interests but the most important I would have to say would have to be our love for travelling! In the first three years, we went to London, Morocco, Wales, Indonesia, Hong Kong, China and my favourite would be our around the world wind trip – New York, Caribbean, Barcelona, Rome, Hong Kong. It was ONE HELL of a trip! The next four years was even better! More traveling – five weeks in the US, our one year stint in Hong Kong, where I traveled more than I have ever had in a year – 10 times in one year (and not all with my lovely husband!) including Paris, China, Taiwan, India, Sri Lanka and many more! I am sure there will be many more travels ahead, and I look forward to it! I am excited about next year and our future!

So on this ‘special’ day, I thought we would go and celebrate our four year anniversary at Food Society. I had originally wanted to go to Restaurant Arras, but ‘The Mother’ is not big on degustation, and he likes tapas-style food!


Food Society is located on Riley Street in Darlinghurst. From memory, this used to be a run down cooking school, which is now a funky, lavish restaurant and bar. The dishes are tapas-style, designed to share with a modern Eastern European flavour. I love the decor, the red carpet, the Grandma’s comfy lounge where we sat for dinner, and the friendly service.

We started with the complimentary house-cured pickles and bread sticks.


‘The Mother’ ordered the signature cocktail – spiced apple pie, zubrowka bison grass vodka, 4 hour infused apple juice, cinnamon, star anise and lemon zest shaken over ice ($14) and it indeed tasted like an apple pie!


‘The Mother’ absolutely loved the pacific oysters with lemon ice and trout roe ($3.50 each). Fresh, plump and delicious.


‘The Pierogi with organic pork, roasted shallots’ ($2.80 each) was very similar to that of Polish dumpling. The thin pastry, filled with organic pork and topped with bacon pieces. YUM!


The mixed vegetarian board of zucchini stuffed with ricotta, olive and lemon, fried cauliflower and pickles ($20) was a hit. I LOVED the fried cauliflower, kind of wished I ordered it for entree on its own. The zucchini stuffed with ricotta was also delightful.


For more of the substantial dishes, we ordered the chicken breast with potato dumplings, mushrooms and paprika ($25). The chicken breast was tender and succulent and I love the potato dumplings. The sauce I thought was a little rich for my liking and in small doses was ok.


The fillet of beef with lardons, kohlrabi puree and roasted carrots ($27). I had hoped the beef was more pink but chargrilled, this was wonderful. The kohlrabi puree a wonderful complement and there were MORE bacon bits! YUM!


I was getting full by this stage, but still had a little bit of room for dessert. I was intrigued by society signature pashka with strawberry compote ($10) – a Russian baked ricotta cheesecake topped with crumble and strawberry compote. I wasn’t sure what to expect, my first bite of just the pashka on its own was a little weird. It was a little bland but eat all the components together, it was deliciously tasty! I have to admit though, I think ‘The Mother’ enjoyed the dessert more than I did.


I have heard wonderful things about this restaurant from a couple of friends, and I have to say, it lived up to its expectation. The service excellent and friendly.


Thank you to ‘The Mother’ for putting up with me the last 7 years and a wonderful FOUR YEARS! Here’s to many more years to come *raises glass*.

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

‘The Mother’s’ ratings: 8.5 / 10

Food Society

91 Riley St

Darlinghurst, 2010

Ph: +61 2 8090 3462

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3Group, Darlinghurst

Popular to gym goers in Kings Cross and those who live in the area, this cute hole in a wall coffee shop serves simple but yet delicious breakfast and lunch. I was catching up with B for brunch, and she suggested this place.


The coffee here is quite good, i’ve had a couple now, and for those who like bonsoy, they do use it here too! If you are a regular, the owners and staff will know what you want and make your coffee before you even open your mouth!


The gourmet bacon and egg wrap – green tahini, fresh tomato, cucumber and oak lettuce ($7.50) had my name on it. For $7.50 it was quite a decent size and good value. The bacon was a little over cooked but totally hit the spot. It was a nice change to your standard bacon and egg roll!


B had the muesli with yogurt ($5.50 – I think!), didn’t have any of this but she seemed to have enjoyed it.


Service friendly, it seemed like they knew all the names of the customers, which I thought was nice. Second time there, and they knew exactly what i wanted in terms of coffee which really gave it that nice friendly touch!


Coffee definitely worth coming back for. The food, albeit limited, is good value for Darlinghurst.

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

3Group

199 Darlinghurst Road

Darlinghurst 2010

Ph: +61 2 9357 7797

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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

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