Posts Tagged ‘mediterranean’

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.


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.


F had the  mocha and he really enjoyed it.


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!


O had the chicken, mushroom and cheese gozleme and I have to say, this was superb!


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.

EM_menu1 2

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.


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


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


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


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!


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


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.


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!


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.


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


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!


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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


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

Bambini Trust Cafe and a quick visit to Cafe Cre Asion, Sydney

I have seen this cafe many times now, my bus would drive past this place and I have always wondered what it was like. No matter what time of day, I see many diners eating and drinking outside. So when I caught up with a fellow food lover, F, I couldn’t help but suggest this place and thankfully, she too has been wondering what this place was like!

Located on Elizabeth Street, opposite Hyde Park, this cafe is very slick, interior quite dark, antique mirrors, dark-wood bar, it was a lot larger than I thought but still quite cozy. Bambini Trust serves Italian and Mediterranean food. The food is generous, hearty and absolutely delicious.

We started with bread rolls, crunchy exterior and deliciously fluffy and soft on the inside.

F couldn’t go past the cape grim sirloin ($38) – chargrilled, porcini rubbed bistecca al fungi – saute of fresh mushrooms (36 month grass fed, free range Angus Sirloin from Cape Grim, NW Tasmania).

It was cooked just the way F wanted – medium rare, and it was tender and I love the sauteed mushrooms – full of flavours and wonderful.

I couldn’t go past the special, beef cheeks with dutch carrots and gnocchi ($38).

Melt-in-your-mouth succulent beef cheeks with cooked to perfection carrots. The gnocchi excellent, crunchy on the outside and pillow-y soft on the inside. It was such a hearty dish and perfect for the cold wintry day in Sydney.

We also ordered a side of ‘Darling mills Farm’ Salad leaves ($9.50) – pricey for what it is, but it was light and refreshing.

Reservation is definitely highly recommended. We didn’t make a reservation for lunch but thankfully someone cancelled and we got the last table available! Lots of suits, great for business lunch – can be a little noisy though.

Wine list extensive, as it should be as it is a wine room also. Definitely keen to check out the wine room once dry July is over and try their dinner menu. Service efficient, wait staff super friendly and professional. Meals were brought promptly and most importantly, food – superb! We both enjoyed our meal.

We didn’t have dessert but on the way home, I couldn’t help and get a coffee at Cre Asion. Located next to Berta on Alberta Street, this little cafe is owned by Yu Sasaki, ex Universal. The restauranteur, L, took me here a while back but have not had the chance to return until that day.

Macarons made daily and throughout the day, the cafe is tiny but there are a couple of tables inside and out for those who want to dine in.

Coffee bit of a hit and miss, first time was a little too watery, second time a lot better.

I couldn’t help but buy a couple of macarons – yes a couple for ‘The Mother’ as I am not usually a huge fan. However, these little babies were delicious. Not as sweet as I had anticipated and went down extremely nicely with my coffee.

Coffee and Green Tea – awesome! Whoops – sorry ‘The Mother’ – they were supposed to be for you! All flavours made from scratch using real ingredients. Prices of each macarons are $2.70 each, or $19 for 8 or $30 for a box of 14.

Too close to home, and definitely worth coming back for!

GA’s ratings Bambini Trust: 7.5 / 10

Bambini Trust

185 Elizabeth Street

Sydney 2000

Ph: +61 2 9283 7098

Bambini Trust Cafe on Urbanspoon

GA’s ratings: Cre Asion: 7.5 / 10

Cafe Cre Asion

21 Alberta Street

Sydney 2000

Cafe Cre Asion on Urbanspoon