I haven’t been to Claude’s for a while now and have wanted to go ever since the refurbishment. They have shifted the fine dining area upstairs and opened a casual, affordable eatery / wine bar downstairs. Downstairs was still tiny, it was cosy and not as loud as I had anticipated. I was having a girl’s night with one of my dear friend, M. She has been here a couple of times and knew exactly what to order!
We started with the Pig’s face roll (2 for $12) – delicious slow braised pork cheek and black fungus relish on a toasted buttery milk bun! Oh my, the pork was extremely tender and the black fungus was a wonderful complement. Could definitely have eaten two on my own!
The double-baked gruyere cheese soufflé ($22) was to die for! OH MY!!!! It smelt absolutely amazing and was incredibly delicious. The outer layer was a little crispy and the inside is full of cheesy goodness! It was absolutely tasty.
Fried chicken, cashew and curry leaf ($18) is a must order – without the cashew of course. The chicken was tender and I loved the crunchiness of the skin.
Last but not least, pork belly, parsnip puree and onion ($33). Melt in your mouth pork belly with the amount of fat to meat ratio, and creamy parsnip puree. I would have preferred the skin to be a little crispier though.
Dessert was brown sugar soufflé – soft, fluffy and not ultra-sweet which was nice.
It was a lovely dinner with friends, we probably over ordered but it was good to try the simpler dishes of Claude’s. Service was lovely and tentative and would definitely love to come back to try their other dishes. I really like what they have done to Claude’s, especially the bar area downstairs. Its very relaxing and you can even have dinner at the bar which is nice.
As always, it was lovely catching up with M! I certainly have missed our dinners together.
GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10
10 Oxford Street
Ph: +61 2 9331 2325
Chiswick the latest addition to the Matt Moran’s empire! Located on Ocean Street in Woollahra, the place was spacious, lots of front of house and kitchen staff. There is a150 square metres of garden linked to the kitchen. Unfortunately it was dark when we rocked up for dinner, it’s quite a shame as I think it would be quite lovely during the day and lunch time.
The place was busy and buzzing when we rocked up. It took a while to get a reservation, the earliest time we could get was at 6pm but we had to give up the table by 8pm. The menu at Chiswick is divided into into sections, nibbles, small plates, mains, to share and sides. I was dining with two other girls, and thought we would get something from each section.
The presentation of the sliced kingfish, breakfast radish, lemon aioli, parsley ($19) was beautiful, albeit small serving. The kingfish was fresh and the radish and parsley a wonderful complement. The lemon aioli was a little bitter but in small doses was actually quite nice.
We all couldn’t go past the crisp butter milk chicken, cabbage, harissa, mayonnaise ($20). The skin was very crispy and it is a healthier version of the KFC. Although I have to admit though, I do prefer the fried chicken at Ms G’s.
The famous wood roasted Moran family lam, chick peas, mint ($59), I am not usually a fan of lamb but have heard wonderful things about it and we HAD to order it! It was HUGE serving, enough to feed a 3 hungry men, instead of 3 hungry women! The lamb was incredibly tender that it just fell apart. It didn’t have that lamb-y taste which both M and I dislike. Surprisingly, we both enjoyed it and had more than a couple of mouthfuls!
S couldn’t resist the hand cut chips, thyme, black garlic aioli ($9) – the chips were good but I think it could be a lot more crunchier. I wasn’t a huge fan of black garlic aioli, it had this earthy flavour which I can’t really explain. S enjoyed it though.
Unfortunately we didn’t get to have dessert, we finished our mains by 7.50pm and was told by the waiter that he couldn’t serve us dessert as they needed the table back by 8pm. He suggested that we ‘could’ sit at the bar ‘if there were room for us’. It was just too difficult so we thought we would skip it – save calories as M said!
Service was friendly but a little bit of a hit and miss – they did forget our bread at the beginning as we had to ask for it. Food was nice, it has been a while since my last visit to ARIA so I can’t really compare. It is definitely more casual and more relaxed than ARIA. Can’t believe how busy the place was, even for a Wednesday night!
GA’s ratings: 7 / 10
65 Ocean Street
Ph: +61 2 8388 8688
I have always wondered about the Wine Library. It is the sister restaurant of Buzo Italian Restaurant, however, food at the Wine Library is tapas like and has a Mediterranean and Spanish influence as well as Italian.
I was meeting a dear friend, M, for lunch and suggested this place. Situated on the busy street of Oxford Street in Woollahra, the Wine Library is tiny but quite long. Bar at the front with a couple of stools and tall tables and at the back, a few tables where diners can sit, eat and there is a small courtyard at the back which would be perfect for summer.
I was utterly impressed with the wine list – 15 pages of extensive wine list ranges from affordable to ridiculously expensive.
The menu is also quite extensive – so many choices – and everything sounds wonderful. I know M’s love for chicken liver so suggested the chicken liver and vin santo parfait, toasted sourdough ($14).
Warm toasted sourdough, with a generous spread of chicken liver – it was smooth, deliciously creamy and had the right amount of saltines to it. I couldn’t taste any of the vin santo but generously spread on the warm sourdough it was definitely tasty.
Two plump large and bouncy pork and veal meatballs in a pool of tomato sauce topped with cheese was just delightful. It was so tender and tomato sauce rich and thick. Definitely could have eaten two meatballs on my own.
Pasticciata (baked polenta, fontina, and duck ragu) $16 is such a cold wintry dish. I couldn’t really taste the duck, but it was cheesy, creamy and oh so sinful! Perfect for a cold day. Don’t think M really enjoyed this dish.
It’s very relaxed and laid back, great service, and food hearty and wonderful. Would definitely love to come back at night and try some of their wine selection.
GA’s ratings: 7 / 10
The Wine Library
18 Oxford St
Ph: +61 2 9328 1600
I can’t remember the last time I went to Buzo, I do remember coming here with a group of friends and really enjoyed it. So this visit was long overdue! I was catching up with my foodie friend C, and suggested this place. Located on Jersey Street in Woollahra, Buzo focuses on Italian cuisine and focuses on produce and simplicity. The menu changes according to season. The wine list is extensive, and they have over 150 wines to choose from.
Started with complimentary bread and olive oil.
Whilst perusing the menu, we were served with complimentary warm olives which was served in a terracotta dish, sprinkled with fennel seeds and drizzled with lemon. C doesn’t like olives at all, so more for me! I loved the sourness and the fennel seeds were a wonderful complement.
Amuse bouche, goats cheese pastry with prosciutto.
The pastry was deliciously flaky and I love the warm goats cheese inside.
For entree, I couldn’t go past the deep fried chicken wings, chilli, garlic, parsley, fennel pollen and aged balsamico ($20). The chicken wings were incredibly tender and succulent. They were ‘finger licking good’ and I loved the chilli, garlic and parsley that came with it. The aged balsamic was the perfect accompaniment. It was excellent.
C on the other hand had the spiced duck neck terrine, kohl rabi, cress and barberries ($20). He thought the dish sounded ‘exotic’ but was slightly disappointed. It was a nice terrine but nothing special, a bit ‘ordinary’ he claimed. I gave him some of my chicken wings and I think he had food envy! My deep fried chicken wings were infinitely better than the duck terrine.
For mains, I couldn’t decide between the maiale con melanzana (slow cooked pork shoulder, eggplant, tomato, parmigiano) and rosticciana (sticky beef ribs, vin cotto, agro dolce and lemon). The rosticciana ($33) won.
The beef was so tender that it fell off the bone and melted in my mouth. The flavours were rich and bold and the perfect comfort food for winter. It was excellent and exactly what I wanted.
C on the other hand opted for vincigrassi (porcini, mushroom, prosciutto, truffle and parmigiano lasagne) ($27). I am quite certain it had him at ‘truffle’. The luxurious lasagne was very rich and filling. You could definitely taste the truffle and was delicious! C thought the sauce was a touch too rich, made him feel extra full but there was still room for dessert, as it is a different part of the stomach!
I was getting full by this stage, but as per usual, dining with C, he managed to convince me with dessert! Rhubarb and Hazelnut tart, vanilla cream ($16) – I don’t think I read past that. I was expecting a round tart, instead we were presented with a cake which was dense and hazelnut-y. It was delicious, however, I would have liked more stewed rhubarb. The vanilla cream wonderful and complemented the tart.
C opted for budino di mela cotogna (steamed quince pudding and vanilla custard) ($16.50). The steamed quince pudding was deliciously light and fluffy and sat on a pool of vanilla custard. We were both hoping something would ooze out but alas no. I thought this was a little too rich for my liking, vanilla custard is not my favourite but C seemed to have enjoyed it. C loved the custard, thought it was a little too sweet but was ‘still within his acceptable sweetness range’.
The restaurant is dark both upstairs and downstairs, creating an intimate dining area. The dishes are hearty and absolutely delicious. I love the warm and friendly service and I don’t know why it has taken me this long to come back! I am definitely keen to try their new venture, the Wine Library which is on top of Oxford Street in Woollahra.
It was so lovely to catch up with C and I look forward to our next dining experience!
GA’s rating: 7.5 / 10
C’s rating: 7 / 10
3 Jersey Road
Ph: +61 (02) 9328 1600
I was catching up with a dear friend, M, for breakfast, one of the few people I would get up for these days at ‘that’ time and recommended this cute little place, Flat White, in Woollahra. I used to work in Woollahra but never knew that this place existed and I don’t know why it has taken me this long to visit! It is truly a great find!
I have heard raving reviews of this place, from friends and ex colleagues and I can see why. Flat White is a relatively small cafe, but yet cozy. There are three seating area options: the counter along the open windows with bar stools, the stainless-steel-topped tables inside or outside on the path under the sun. M and I opted to sit inside, and I had the perfect view of the kitchen, whilst M had the view of the popular Lord Dudley Hotel.
Started with my large skim flat white – there’s really no point in starting a conversation without my shot of caffeine!
It was a full day of eating out for me – breakfast, lunch AND dinner! I thought I would start the day with something healthy. Bircher muesli with rhubarb compote, apple and buttermilk – it really had me at ‘rhubarb compote’. The bircher was excellent! Moist and juicy, topped with thinly sliced strawberries, apple and rhubarb compote. It was deliciously filling, and possibly one of my favourite bircher thus far! (B – you have to try their bircher!)
M opted for something naughtier (if I wasn’t going out for lunch that day, I would have probably picked the same thing!) – croque madame with tomato relish and OMG! It was the biggest croque madame I have ever seen. TWO THICK slices of brioche toasted with ham and cheese, topped with a perfectly cooked fried egg. It was definitely too early to eat something that heavy but it was definitely EPIC! I love the sweetness of the brioche and the oozy cheese – it was SOOOO good!
I certainly do love my catch ups with M – I don’t know what I would have done without her!
I noticed someone ordering the ricotta hotcakes and WOW – I thought ‘I have to get me one of those’ … next time! The food here is definitely generous, and the coffee is excellent. Their lunch menu looks fantastic also – pork sandwich with crunchy crackling – will DEFINITELY have to come back!
The food and service is excellent. I have to admit, it wasn’t cheap, $20 per person, but hey it is Woollahra! I can imagine this place being extremely busy on the weekend! I’m keen to try their lunch menu, or at least their heavier breakfast dish! I think this could be a new love? Yes I am fickle!
GA’s ratings: 8 / 10
98 Holdsworth Street
Ph: +61 2 9328 9922