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!
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!
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.
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!
Agedashi tofu wasn’t too bad either.
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.
The pork belly kakuni was good but some parts were a really dry which was a shame.
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.
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
9-15 Bayswater Rd
Ph: +61 2 9356 3834
Concrete blonde is the new hip restaurant in Kings Cross, right next door to Hugo’s. Apparently, it used to be an old gym before a $2 million-plus makeover by Michael McCann, who transformed the old gym to a slick, rustic dining venue. I love the open kitchen, the long open bar, the decor and even the terrace area.
The wine and cocktail list is impressive. The menu is divided into ‘the cool stuff’ (cold entrees), ‘hot compositions’ (hot entrees), ‘h20’ (seafood), ‘from the ranch’ (meat and game) and ‘over the wood’ (grills and rotisseries). There is also an izakaya menu which is designed to accompany drinks on the terrace.
I couldn’t go past the KFQ – Kentucky Fried Quail ($14) – fried quail Kentucky style with watermelon relish, ancho chili, cilantro and ranchero dressing. Tender, succulent quail which has been coated in a spiced ancho chili batter. Served with cubes of watermelon relish and I love the crispy and delicate flavour of the quail. It was a definite winner for the diners!
The lolli ‘pork’ – bite size cube of confit pork coated in black vinegar toffee was sweet, sticky and absolutely frigging delicious! Only four though, I could have easily eaten half a dozen on my own!
It was the first time in a long time that we all ordered something different for our main! Everything sounded wonderful but it was the wild mulloway ($39) – pan roasted, cauliflower, currant, capers, iranian saffron, almond that had my name on it. Also known as jewfish, the fish was cooked to perfection – crispy skin and firm white flesh. I love the sweetness of the currant, the iranian saffron brought out a lot of flavours and the fresh vegetables a wonderful complement.
C1 opted for the holstein veal cheek ($35) slow cooked, it was so melt in your mouth tender. Topped with king brown mushroom which was cooked in celeriac and sage. C couldn’t get enough of the sauce, it was sweet and delicious.
C2 couldn’t go past the clarence river jumbo prawns ($42). It had her at ‘jumbo’ prawns and they were indeed ‘jumbo’. De-shelled, the prawns were barbecued with lemon grass, and served with cucumber and pomelo salad and ‘nam prik’ dipping sauce. I didn’t have any of this but C2 seemed to have enjoyed it.
J had the ranger valley 7+ wage beef ($40) hanger steak cooked medium rare which was rubbed with Aztec spices which sat on a bed of corn posole. You can’t see it from the picture below, but there was an ox tail tamale which he demolished quite quickly.
T on the other hand ordered the grain fed dry aged angus rib-eye (on the bone) ($68) – 450g. It was a very generous serving, cooked exactly the way he wanted it – medium rare and topped with hotel de paris butter and served with spinach. Unfortunately, my photo was uber blurry so you will have to just trust me that I had food envy and if it was slightly smaller, I would have been tempted to order it! Serious FOOD ENVY!!!!
For Dessert, C1 had the seared pineapple – I had originally going to order this but I am not a huge fan of white chocolate so thought I would give it a miss. A block of moist pineapple cake, with white chocolate ice cream which sat on a pool of clear buttermilk consomme. I can safely say that C1 enjoyed this, he ate silently, not offering any of it to anyone – yes I noticed!
C2 had the semi-circular Guanaja chocolate – valrhona 70% chocolate, pistachio, navel orange segments and dollops of olive oil jam. The chocolate is rich but not overpowering, and the pistachio a wonderful complement.
T and I couldn’t go past the poached pear tarte-tartin served with brown sugar ice-cream which sat on a trail of salted caramel – oh how I ‘heart’ salted caramel. The pastry was a little soggier than expected but the pears was beautifully cooked and the salted caramel and brown sugar ice cream a wonderful complement.
The chef behind this new establishment is Patrick Dang, born in Hong Kong and grew up in Australia. He’s worked in the 2 Michelin-starred Amber restaurant in Hong Kong (which I really enjoyed last time i was there), Singapore’s T8, and the Viceroy Hotel Group. The cuisine he has created is described as contemporary and it reflects on Patrick Dang’s international experience and cultures. Food definitely wonderful, and everything was so fresh and tasty!
Service excellent, and welcoming. I love the casual ambiance, the funky decor, and the open kitchen. It was definitely a wonderful evening with friends.
GA’s rating: 7.5 / 10
33 Bayswater Road
Kings Cross 2010
Ph: +61 2 9380 8307
I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoyed my meal and experience at Gastro Park. The presentation of each meal were immaculate, the flavours even better and the service flawless!
I was meeting a friend, S, for lunch and suggested this place. He and I both have similar taste when it comes to food, so I knew he would enjoy this restaurant. Gastro Park is the new restaurant by Grant King, ex Pier for seven years. ‘The Mother’ took me to Pier a while back now for my birthday and absolutely enjoyed it. On the floor, also former Pier waiter, Martijn de Boer and sommelier Timothee Servajean who are extremely friendly, warm and charming!
I love the panoramic view of the restaurant; I know it’s no view of the Opera house or the Harbour Bridge, it’s actually facing Roslyn Street but I do love the tall glass window overlooking the street. The decor inside is simple but yet elegant, I adore anything with wooden floor, and I love the natural light streaming in.
The menu is quite extensive, although there seemed to be lots of seafood on the menu. Diners have the option of ordering appetizers, entree, main, desserts and cheese. S and I were ravenous, we thought we would share a couple of appetizers, entree and have a main and dessert each – yes we were hungry!
The wine list is also extensive, however, I think we were both still a little hung over and wanted our liver to have a rest.
We started with complimentary bread, which was warm, delicately fluffy and moist and the creamy butter delightful.
Started with the onion and macchiato caramelised veal sweetbread ($9). The onion and macchiato consommé was warm and full of flavour. The veal sweetbread was deep fried and a little doughy I thought. I couldn’t really taste any veal but I thought the consommé was creamy and wonderful. I thought it was weird at first, but the flavours grew on me and the more I drank it, the more I enjoyed it. Not sure if S enjoyed it as much as I did though.
I couldn’t go past the soy and mustard glazed swordfish belly, pickled cucumber ($12) – OH MY GOODNESS! This was incredible, S said ‘it was better than sex’! The tenderness and texture of the swordfish, it melted in my mouth and was beyond magical. It was… orgasmic! The pickled cucumber was sour and tangy and a wonderful complement.
Next the seared scallops, carrot tofu, Serrano ham, endive reduction, hazelnut ($26). Three beautifully cooked scallops which were cooked to perfection, they were plump and moorish. The Serrano ham was too salty for the both of us, the hazelnut was subtle but you could definitely taste it. It was light and flavoursome, though at $26 for 3 scallops I thought it was a little steep.
For mains, S opted for the saddle of lamb, textures of cauliflower and mushrooms ($38). I love the bright colours on the plate; it was so colourful and painting like. The saddle of lamb was cooked medium rare, and extremely tender. It did have that lamb-y taste which I didn’t enjoy. However, the combination of the cauliflower and wild mushrooms were magnificent. He was impressed with the different types of leaves, greens and mushrooms on the plate, he loved the tenderness, the flavours of the lamb, I can safely say that S enjoyed it.
I couldn’t go past the crispy scaled snapper, smoked potato puree, calamari crackling, ink sauce ($38). The perfectly cooked fish which sat on a generous serving of smoked potato puree. I love the dollops of black ink squid sauce, and the black calamari crackling that’s like a prawn cracker was sweet and crunchy. All the flavours worked together, it was elegant and a ‘fun’ dish to eat.
I knew exactly what I wanted for dessert; it really had me at fig tart – broken fig tart, vanilla violet, raspberry persimmon ($18). It wasn’t what I expected, I was expecting a round tart but it was a lot simpler but the flavours were far from simple! The sweet, thin, creamy and crisp tart, which was almost wafer like, sat on large chunks of fresh figs and topped with tapioca and thin rhubarb long straws. It was beyond excellent, it was magical – each mouthful was better than the next and underneath it, a surprise, raspberry permission. It was just EPIC! I really enjoyed this dessert.
S couldn’t decide between the pavlova and chocolate honeycomb. However, the Nitro Pavlova, guava, pineapple, coconut ($18) sounded more ‘interesting’ than the chocolate honeycomb. I was secretly hoping he would order the chocolate honeycomb as I wanted some! However, the pavlova was wonderful, dig right in with your spoon – the fluffy and light pavlova shell which then burst with guava sorbet. I love the ribbons of pineapple, the tapioca, and the coconut bubbles.
Unfortunately, S saw the chocolate honeycomb, vanilla sphere, cookies and cream ($20) – it looked fantastic! I think he had dessert envy and wished he had ordered the chocolate honeycomb; I didn’t want to say ‘I told you so’. I think we both will definitely have to come back to try this and of course the other dishes.
I read that the menu will change regularly; it will depend on availability and seasonality. I love the execution of each dish, the colourfulness, the playfulness and the creativity of each dish. It was an adventure. It was a wonderful experience, and to top it off, the service, knowledgeable, warm and efficient. Of course, the company was what made the whole experience excellent!
GA’s rating: 8.5 / 10
S’s rating: 8 / 10
5 – 9 Roslyn Street
Kings Cross 2010
Ph: +61 2 8068 1017