ESP by Scott Pickett Review

On a roll with the exclusive “degustation only” restaurants. We visited Lume in December then six penny in Sydney and now ESP by Scott Pickett. We’ve been to their sister restaurant Estelle next door ages ago but we were definitely looking forward to this pre “Valentines” dinner. Situated in the busy hippy part of Northcote; it boasts other nice eateries like Merricote, Barry etc. I like the layout of this restaurant, theres tables and then there’s a bar area where you can see how the kitchen runs. It’s nicely done as the kitchen as a good view of what’s going on.

IK booked this place for me. Originally we wanted to invite friends for my big * 0 but they were fully booked. We had to finish by 8 pm tonight.

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ESP Menu

I also looked at the wine list and thought I’d go for a wine pairing instead. (sort of regretted after actually). So here we go.

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Sitting at the bar looking over at the kitchen

Scott was barking orders at times and I like it as it really shows how dedicated you are as a chef and managing the restaurant.

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Bacon and Onion Bread

Does this remind you of Baker’s Delight? Brings back the school days when you bring one of these for lunch. Those days are no more fortunately.

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Homemade butter

Don’t think that needed butter, but here we are anyway. Presented on a “log” so to speak.

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Snacks – Smoked Wallaby & Black Rice

There were a few snacks to start with. All were meticulously presented. First up some smoked wallaby & black rice. Nice and crunchy. Presented on some “aussie bark”.

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Cod Roe, Ink, Boatttarga & Spiced Avocado, Salt & Vinegar Potato

Loved these puffs with avocado inside. Definitely skill making these puffs. The cod roe was also delicious. Perfect starter to the night.

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ESP kitchen

Roaming around you see Josh Pelham (Head Chef) and all the other chefs doing certain dishes. There is definitely order in the kitchen.

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Gosser Champagne

Had a Gosser Champagne to start off my day.

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Lychee & Mint

Lychee and Mint for IK.

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Maidera

A maidera for our next course.

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Kangaroo, Egg Yolk, Saltbush.

I love the use of interesting ingredients like saltbush. Not too salty, very nice dish/soup.

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ESP Cutlery

Apparently the knife was made especially for ESP.
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Started losing track of what wines I had. But i think this was a pino gris

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Kingfish, Cucumber, Radish

Kingfish is almost a must in most restaurants nowadays. Very refreshing.
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The Sommelier said this wine has much more depth of flavour and quite young.

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Moreton Bay Bug, Iberico Jamon & Melon

Served by Josh the head chef; i had my eye on the bug when the chef was pan searing it with butter. Lovely foam and some chickpeas to go with it. tasty.

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Definitely needed a red for the next course.

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Great Ocean Road Duck, Beetroot, Cherries

Probably my favourite dish tonight. Simple ingredients that goes so well together but well executed. There’s some crisps, duck and the sauce was just heaven.

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The boys at work.

Scott to the left and Josh to the right. A nice ambience to the restaurant.

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Beefsteak Tomatoes & Woodside Goats Curt & a Tomato soup

A palate cleanser tomato soup (cold) and 2 tomatoes. Nice indeed.

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Black Fig, Olive Oil & Basil

3 desserts to finish. Firstly we had Olive oil crunch was in nitrogen and sprinkled on top. I loved this dessert.

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Stout

Had a Stout with my dessert. At this point I didn’t think the wine pairing was that great as it seemed little compared to other degustation restaurants i’ve been to.

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coconut, Strawberry, Chocolate

Also had another stout for this dish. Wasn’t as good as the other 2 dishes. Again maybe another type of dessert wine would have been better.

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Passionfruit, Lemon Verbana Sherbert

Sherbert Bombs. Reminds me when I used those spoons that came with the packet, and you put it in your mouth, the burst and sourness and sweetness that goes with it. IK loved this one.

Bottom line

I thought the food was well executed. I don’t mind a quick meal at times, and they timed it to perfection. I thought the wine pairing was not as worth as the cost of it ($130 additional). Should have given a few more esp during the dessert dishes. I loved our Scott interacts with his customers and asks which dish they like the most. Definitely good technique with the dishes and not overly complicated like Lume where I think they still have some fine tuning to do. Definitely need to come back again some time and maybe have more time to enjoy the food.

Rating : 15.5/20

ESP - Estelle by Scott Pickett Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Click here to their contact page to make a reservation.

Six Penny review

We’re always looking new places to eat and we’ve almost been everywhere in Sydney so it was time to google and see which restaurants were rated highly. Stumbled across six penny voted one of the best restaurants in 2015 in Sydney. We didn’t drive so we took public transport which is just a short walk from stanmore station. There were no trains when we were there, so they had some replacement buses.

Six Penny is located in the suburbs and it seemed like an old house renovated into a restaurant on a corner. As you enter, there is a homely feel about this place. Degustation restaurants seems to be the go nowadays. We went to Lume in South Melbourne recently and this was another one.

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My favourite drink to start – Gin & Tonic

First course was some snacks.

Cucumbers with raspberry, Cheese and Tomato Gourgeres and pumpkin scallops.

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Cucumber Raspberries
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Cheese and Tomato Gourgeres, pumpkin scallops

Our final starter was parsnips with carmalised cream. Looks like a baby carrot!

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Parsnips with Caramalised cream

Now I opted for the wine pairing as well as I didn’t have to drive for once! Our first course was – Kingfish with Zucchini & Black Garlic. A nice seafood dish to start with. This was paired with a glass of 2013 Jo Landron Muscadet Sèvre et Maine ‘Le Fief du Breil’, Loire Valley – France. The Sommelier explained each wine with knowledge. I was just nodding away and waiting for the next one each time.

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Kingfish with Zucchini & Black Garlic

Also had some bread which was sour dough with butter.

 

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Bread

Paired with one of many wines tonight.

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The second course was Steamed Potato with Oyster & Mushroom. Now, talking about potato, it really has some sort of reminence of Attica’s humble potato dish. This was tasty nevertheless.

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Steamed Potato with Oyster & Mushroom

Next up was Flathead with Nettles & Toasted Cream. Again another familiar dish similar to Attica’s fish dish wrapped in bark

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Flathead with Nettles & Toasted Cream

Next up was the Kangaroo Consommé with Mussels & Nasturtium. Found it hard to focus and take photos as it was getting pretty dark. Finally fired away after many attempts.

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Kangaroo Consommé with Mussels & Nasturtium

There were many wines from different regions and areas.

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Next up for something more traditional. Lamb Rack with Peas & Capers. Wasn’t anything to say wow but well cooked. Paired with 2014 CRFT ‘Chapel Valley Vineyard’ Pinot Noir, Adelaide Hills – S.A

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Lamb Rack with Peas & Capers

Now time for dessert. Milk Curd & Honey to cleanse the palate. Just what we needed.

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Milk Curd & Honey

Next dessert was the Mascarpone Ice Cream with Rice Custard & Lime Jelly. Paired with 2011 Alois Kracher ‘Beerenauslese Cuvée’, Burgenland – Austria. Again decent dessert.

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Mascarpone Ice Cream with Rice Custard & Lime Jelly

Last up was Mille-Feuille with Lemon Myrtle & Apple. We always love mille-feuille as it will show whether the chef’s pastry skills are good or not. Wasn’t the crunchiest and tastiest we’ve had for sure but ok. Paired with 2011 Domaine Rotier Gaillac Doux ‘Renaissance’, South West – France. 
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Overall, I like Six-Penny as it showcased alot of australian local produce. It was very similar to Attica’s flavours and concepts and it shows in their food. A nice little suburban fine dining restaurant which is worth a second visit some day.

Rating : 15/20

Dish of the day : Think the Kangaroo Consomme by a tad.

Tips : Have the wine pairing. Didn’t even have time to take pictures of them too!

Sixpenny Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Billy Kwong Sydney Review

We are in Sydney to chill out this weekend. Made a few restaurant reservations and wanted to try out a few new places as well. We have been to Billy Kwong’s restaurant a few times but never in their new location in darlinghurst. We had to weave through the strip clubs and bars to get to this place and you’d think what a strange location to have one of the most famous chef’s in Australia.

After walking for about 10 mins from Kingscross station, you get to Billy Kwong’s restaurant. The one in Surry Hills was small, which only fitted a handful of tables. You always wonder if they expand of have a second restaurant whether it will kick off or not. Kylie obviously had contingency plans and this was no exception. It was busy but the staff seemed extremely experienced and dealt with everything very well.

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Outside Billy Kwong

Kylie was in the kitchen with her hands free set on to bark orders if need be. She seemed commanding and calm throughout.

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inside billy kwong

The menu is the same old, the cursive handwriting where you have to look twice to make out some of the specials. s usual the deep fried duck and orange and Davidsons plum is on the menu.

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Specials menu

There is a long bar table which probably sits 30 odd people. If you’re lucky enough you get to see Kylie at work. They all have these headphones on, staff gliding through the restaurant keeping an eye on you. They seem extremely experienced and service was impeccable.

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Patrons at the bar

Needed a beer badly and the waiter recommended the in house beer only available at Billy Kwong. I asked is it a lager and he said it’s “in its league of its own”. It was a bit sour, but refreshing & a bit creamy.

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Billy Kwong’s in house beer

We usually order this when we come the Billy Kwong’s restaurant. The tofu is soft and just the simplicity of flavours. I do think there was a bit too much sauce.

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Steamed Silken Tofu – with Kombu, chilli and Shiro Shoyu

Probably our favourite go to dish each time we come. I think the portions were a bit bigger last time but we love the flavours. I stole the duck leg and IK wasn’t happy! Goes well with jasmine rice.

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Deep Fried Caramelised duck with orange and Davidsons Plums

Chinese love to eat their fish whole. I loved these flavours. You could potentially eat the whole fish if you wanted. This time the portion of sauce was just right. Very addictive and perfect with rice.

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Deep fried sand whiting with Chilli, coriander , soy

We also had a dessert ; a pannacotta with ginger sauce. I thought it was average as you get the “skin” of the pannacotta. It needed to be wobblier, softer and smoother. I missed out taking the photo as we were pretty tired.

Overall, it was great to come back to Kylie’s restaurant. It was an essential move to grow and move into a larger premise. The quality was still there but maybe not as good as when we went to her previous restaurant.

Rating : 15/20

Dish of the day : Duck no doubt.

Service : experienced & smooth

Billy Kwong Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Hawker Hall Review

I always tend to go try out these new places and despite average reports so far, I wanted to give it a shot. Location wise, I thought Chris Lucas and his team found a gold mine in the new hippy part of Chapel St. This strip has the names like Tokyo Tina, Saigon Sally, Fonda, Messina and other restaurants as well.

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Hawker Hall Interior

We managed to grab a seat outside for 5. It was 6pm and it was packed already. Typical Lucas Group restaurants.

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Hawker Hall

Plates were printed with Hawker Hall. I like how each of Lucas Group’s restaurant have a different theme and cuisine. Rather than having like Chin Chin in different suburbs.

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Hawker Hall Plate

There were alot of beers and a decent sized menu with so called “hawker malaysian food”. They have the feed me menu but we opted for just ordering a la carte.

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Menu

I had the Mildura Honey which was sweet and easy to drink. So good.

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Drinks Menu

IK ordered the coconut watermelon drink.

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Drinks

I don’t know what this guy was doing but he was scribbling on each line for each table. Talk about being frugal. I hope he can read his own writing.

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Waiter scribbling on his notepad.

First up was Nyonya Popcorn chicken with a sauce. I thought maybe some more meat in some of them would have been nice.

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Popcorn Chicken

Food was quick, everything came almost at once which was good. As mentioned we sat outside which was probably good as there was plenty of lighting for my camera.

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Our meal

Gado Gado Salad. CABBAGE‭, ‬SPROUTS‭, ‬SWEET POTATO‭, ‬TOFU‭, ‬EGG‭ & ‬PEANUTS. Vegetarian dish. Perhaps a bit more saucey would have been nice.

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Gado Gado Salad

Here were some satays. Mamak definitely do better satays unfortunately.

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Chicken Pork Satay

Had some Morning Glory with sambal. Again I would have preferred Malaymas for its morning glory. Bit more sambal and wok taste.

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Morning Glory

Very mild tasted curry with vegetables and chickpeas.

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FRAGRANT CURRY OF CHICKPEA & VEGETABLES W. CUMIN YOGHURT

As per the good food website, this was probably one of the better dishes – Economy Noodles. They just used different noodles to cook this and some sambal on the site.

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Economy Noodles

I thought there was way too much sauce for this duck and too little rice. Definitely a bit pricey for this dish. Sauce was also too salty.

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BBQ pepper duck

The roti wasn’t bad, but I feel Mamak is the gold standard in Melbourne.

Overall, it was quite pricey for such “hawker dishes”. However, theres alot of hype and people will still rock up for Lucas’s group. they have created a formula which works. There is a bit of tinkering with the dishes but there are other places where you can get a Malaysian fix.

Rating : 12.5/20

Dish of the day : Economy Noodles and Mildura Honey Beer

Tip : Go early like with all Lucas Group’s venues and wish you luck with finding parking. Also dishes are a bit small. You need to order quite a few dishes.

Hawker Hall Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Chat Thai – Sydney

No I’m not in Sydney! I have been rummaging my photos and I have been super busy for the first 6 months of the year which didn’t give me any time to blog very much. This was when I went up to Sydney earlier in the year and when we also reviewed Gowings. Chat Thai is our favourite Thai place in Sydney and we frequent it every time. There are quite a few around now but the one we always go to is the one in Haymarket.

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Front of Chat Thai

The queues are crazy and you gotta put your name down to wait for a table. There are always people working through the open kitchen in the front where they make desserts, fry things and bloody make you salivate until you pass out.
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I have to say it’s fairly authentic. You get the saa waa dee kaa when you get a table and all the staff are from Thai. The interior is lovely, very colourful, feels like you’ve entered Bangkok.

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Decor

There’s 3 floors I think so the restaurant doesn’t have a huge frontage so it’s the only way to fit more people in. There are some communal tables and lots of other smaller tables.
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Singa is a must in this place.

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Singha Beer

When I mean authentic it is definitely authentic. this dish stir fried crisp pork belly and wild ginger in red curry paste was very hot but absolutely delicious.

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mhu grob padt prik khing

I love Thai starters. The dollops of fried fish cakes with pickled cucumber relish was a winner.

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todt mun bpla

I think the next dish was a special –  a crab curry. This was super hot. Even with rice this is not for the faint hearted.

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crab curry

Finally IK’s favourite – Sticky rice and mango. The combination of sweet and salty. Love it.

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Sticky Rice and Mango

I also ordered a kiwi fruit drink as well as the food was so hot. Refreshing.
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Bottom Line

Best Thai food you can get in Australia IMO. Love the authentic flavours and vibe. Reasonably priced and delicious

Rating : 15/20

Tip : Go there early to avoid the queues

Dish of the Day : sticky rice and mango

What I would like to see : expand to melbourne please.

Chat Thai Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Entrecote CBD Review

Craving for French and you tend to miss it when you’ve just come back from a massive Europe trip. We are pretty fortunate Melbourne has almost every cuisine you can think of. Was catching with with a friend so decided to try entrecote. There are two entrecotes; one in the city and one in South Yarra. The one here has a no booking policy so you just rock up. Situated between collins and little collins, used to be where Prix Fixe was. All the restaurants who have taken on this premises hadn’t really taken off. I guess the location and is quieter than other streets in the CBD.

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Entrecote

Outside Entrecote.

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Outside Entrecote

We came early thinking we’d need to wait for a while. But nope it was empty as.

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Inside Entrecote

Pretty basic menu. Their speciality is the steak frites, but they do have some traditional French dishes and seafood as well.

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Entrecote Menu

Brings back memories when I had this at the Eiffel Tower.

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1664 Kronenborg

IK was craving for her usual Aperol Spritz.

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Aperol Spritz

Some bread to start.

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Bread

IK wanted French onion Soup and here it is. Nothing fancy like what Vue De Monde serves, but just traditional French onion soup. Nothing memorable but it was nice.

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French onion soup

I shared some escargots with my friend and it was nice as well. Again nothing memorable.

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Escargot

Their signature dish – Steak Frites. So steaks and fries. It was “free flowing fries” so if you have finished the fries, you can ask for more. The steak was nice, but again not the best steak I had.

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Steak Frites

Came with a salad as well which was refreshing.

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Salad

French food always seem to be filling and we were pretty full. However, we had to order a dessert. IK was craving for a Mille-feuille. It was alright, lots of creme fraiche. Luxemborg does a better one though – its crunchier.

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Mille-feuille

Had a little seafood bar in the kitchen.

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Seafood Bar

Some roses as well. You know the French are romantic afterall.

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Red Roses

Overall, it’s nice to have traditional French cuisine every now and again. Maybe we were spoilt with the various French eateries in Paris and you really can’t compare. It is a bit disappointing how this premises hasn’t taken off yet. It has a nice vibe in there but the tables and the space between each table were quite small. You really need to be thin as to get through.

Rating : 12.5/20. Sorry we were too spoilt in France.

Dish of the day : Steak frites. Yup free flowing fries. It is a bit pricey imo $39 bucks for it.

Entrecôte Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sheraton on the Park Review – Sydney

Quick review of this trip when I went up to rainy Sydney during easter. I had to spend a night at a SPG property to enable me to attain GOLD membership which is unbelievable. This was from the world mastercard credit card deal from Westpac Altitude which I have – you stay one night and you get gold. You would otherwise need to stay 10 times at a SPG property or after 25 friggin nights!

Gold SPG benefits

  • 3 starpoints per US dollar
  • 4pm late check out
  • An upgrade to an enhanced room at check in
  • welcome gift – starpoints, free internet or a beverage
  • Read more here about other benefits

During easter the prices of the hotels were expensive on the saturday night as usual, so we stayed at various locations during our 3 night stay. First night we stayed here at the Sheraton but just on a normal room. The second night we stayed at the rydges world square and 3rd night we came back.

I didn’t think my gold status would be approved and changed over that quickly and was very surprised when i checked in on the 3rd night and the receptionist was checking us in, asking us when we stayed here last etc. I told him, it was for business and I stayed here just 2 days ago. He finished up with me and said, BTW i’ve upgraded you to our executive suite. I didn’t think much of it thinking its just a better view of the room we stayed the other night.

On checkout, we had this rich couple, the lady wearing pink mink and just had plastic all over her complained about getting an upgrade to a suite. long story short – they ended up paying heaps to stay in the same suite as mine. If you’re that rich, just stop complaining already!

Room 924 it was. Looking at the map, rooms were definitely bigger than our previous one!

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Map

Opened it up and OMG, got upgraded to a suite! Thanks SPG gold! SPG has become my favourite hotel loyalty group. Along with other perks like transferring points to airline miles (asian miles etc), it is an amazing membership to hold. Not only that, you get 15% off meals when dining at any SPG property.

The suite was amazing. Looking over the park and the size was just out of this world. Huge L shape couch, study desk, on suite, bed and massive bathroom. It was raining quite heavily in Sydney and it was just perfect to do absolutely nothing but lounge around in a suite. I quickly looked up the rack rate for this room for that night and wow over $600 on their website. What a deal we scored!

I read the website about what differences there were, and it said it included access to the lounge! I quickly rang concierge but was unfortunately told that since it was an upgrade, you weren’t eligible for the lounge but eligible for buffet breakfast instead. No complaints there! Other upgrades includes better tea/coffee etc.

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Executive suite lounge area

Had 2 TVs in this room as well! JAYSUS.

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Executive Suite lounge area

View was amazing.

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View from the suite

Bedroom was huge and had another TV as well.

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Bedroom

Had a docking station for the iphone/ipad lightning connector

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Bedside table

Had Doors which opened out to make the room larger.

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Bedroom

Walk in wardrobe with mirrors. Nice for the ladies.

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Walk in wardrobe

Bathroom was spacious with a bathtub. Executive suite also provides toothbrush and toothpaste, whilst the normal rooms don’t.

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Bathroom
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Bathroom 2

Overall, we had an amazing stay at Sydney. I really can’t complain when we paid about $220 AUD and got upgraded to a suite. It really is amazing value. I would recommend it to anyone if they go to Sydney. Other facilities include a spa/pool/well equipped gym with amazing views.

Hotel does look a bit “old” but once you enter the rooms, it feels kinda “modern” as well.

BTW peckish thinks the brekkie was awesome. More on that next time.

Deal of the century – upgrade to executive suite

Rating – 16/20 – haha maybe i shouldn’t rate hotels.

QT Gowings Bar & Grill Review

Our friends have been here once and recommended this place whilst we’re up in Sydney. Part of the QT Hotel groups which seem to be focused more on their arts and design. This place is located in the heart of town and is one funky, retro and creepy restaurant. We came as our friend had a Black Priority Rewards Card (part of the rydges group) where you can get 50% off your bill which seems to be an amazing deal. There was a big exclusion which I’ll explain later.

Entrance to QT is like going into a theatre or some show.

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QT Sydney

The ground floor has all these mannequins dressed in 60s costumes. Even the door bitches were dressed like this.

60s Mannequins
60s Mannequins
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Funky Mannequins

It’s even a grand entrance to get in. You have to go up the lift and then go up the stairs to the restaurant. The restaurant itself is large, and also has a bar lounge area which was closed on this Saturday.

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Entrance

Just a few more mannequins for you.

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Another Mannequin.

There is a large bar when you first enter and a few bar stools.

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And a wine cellar on display. I really like the layout, everything is open which makes it looks spacious and big. The kitchen is open and practically you can see the whole restaurant from your table.

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Menus were laid out on the seats as they were that big. Menu has quite a few seafood dishes and steaks to choose from, sides, desserts. Modern / some American influence into their dishes.

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Pretty packed on a Saturday. Decor was pretty cool

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Drinks menu was a bit smaller.

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This place was probably ideal for groups. Waiters and waitresses wore slim cut dresses and were funkily dressed.

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Elvis on the roof? hmmmm.

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Alright we had a group of 6. So we could almost order most of the menu which is great. Bread to start. Food Blogging 101. Camera eats first. Hands off my bread you guys.

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Gowrings Bread

First dish – Seared yellow fin tuna “Nicoise Salad”. It has Marinated Ortiz & White anchioves, Duck Egg, Liguarian Olives, Green Beans, Kipfler potatoes, tomato and seeded mustard dressing. It was quite nice.

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DSC_9666 Seared Yellow Fin Tuna belly “Nicoise Salad”

So we ordered a few starters and a main each and a couple of desserts to share. The next dish was the kingfish carpaccio. Who doesn’t like buffalo mozzarella? It was fresh and a nice dish.

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Kingfish Carpaccio with buffalo mozzarella

Next up, Tartare spoons of “Petuna Ocean Trout” comes in a spoon for each person, includes soft cooked quail eggs, creme fraiche, avocado mousse, blood orange & chilli dressing. The starters were good, totally no complaints about them.

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Tartare spoons of “Petuna Ocean Trout”
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Tartare spoons of “Petuna Ocean Trout”

Onto the mains, IK had the Seafood Pie. She said it was divine. I believed her… Sometimes simple dishes are not easy to make, and she said it was really good – so it must be good! Inside had snapper, trout, scallops with a nice puff pastry over the top.

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Seafood Pie

Quite alot of seafood tonight. My mate had the line caught SA snapper. Pan fried, classic lemon butter sauce, frisee, mint shallot salad. I had a bit and never knew how good grilled snapper can be!

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Line caught Griled SA Snapper

I ordered the beef rib and when this came i thought hmmm…. bit odd. It was for out other friend fortunately this didn’t look as appealing as the other dishes. “Old School Chicago Veal” which was topped with mozzarella, mild red chilli, baked in tomato passata, marjoram, black olive capers, splash of brandy.

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Old School Chicago Veal

10 Hour Cooked Moorish Beef Ribs. This was my dish. What I liked about it? Well it was extremely tender, fell off the bone sorta stuff. I did like the sultanas which gave it the sweetness but the rib itself was lacking taste. This came with a side of macaroni as well. Massive dish.

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10 Hour Moorish Beef Rib

Side of macaroni as well. Nothing too special about the macaroni. Also ordered a serve of gratin.

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Gratin
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Macaroni

Friend’s wife had Lemon crumb pan fried “the king of all All George Whiting”. Apparently it was very good as well. The seafood dishes were spot on.

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Lemon Crumbed Pan Fried “The King of all George Whiting”

We also ordered some chips and onion rings as well.

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Sides of Chips & Onion Rings

We were pretty full at this stage but again we had to soldier one, peering across the table we saw this some spectacular desserts we could not turn down. Originally our table was only till 8:45pm. We told them I was from the “peckish connoiseur” and they let us stay lol. kidding. They were nice enough to let us have desserts as well.

Fourless peanut butter double chocolate cake. This was so friggin rich, also topped with salted caramel gelato cigar scented peanuts and basil. A bit too sweet for our liking.

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Fourless Peanut Butter Double Chocolate Cake

This was probably my favourite dish. My Pavlova – Soft and Sticky baked Meringue, passionfruit sauce, sugar bananas, green coconut flesh, candied coconut vanilly chantilly. The combination of textures and sourness and sweetness was superb. Excellent dish.

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My Pavlova

We also shared a Baked White chilled chocolate pot – A tartare of pickled pears in vanilla and rosewater syrup, salty crispy caramel bits and almonds. Another good dish but the pavlova just hit my sweet spot.

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Baked White Chilled Chocolate Pot

Open kitchen was lovely with some open ovens as well. We had a great meal. Even ordered some whiskys after to cleanse the palate. Thought that we had a good deal too with the 50% off. However, they changed the rules and you have to STAY at the hotel to get the discount. Couldn’t believe it. Well, considering we had so much food for around $80 per head I thought it was a pretty good deal. Teed up with paying with my AMEX reserve and a serve of velocity points booked through their restaurant website, I couldn’t complain really.

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Open Kitchen

Rating : 16/20. Getting there!

Dish of the day : The Pav

Worth going : Hell yeah.

Quirkiness of the day : Dressed up door bitches

Atmosphere : funky as.

Gowings Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Lumi Bar & Dining Sydney Review

Been a long absence over the last few months! Theres still some of my end of year trip I haven’t posted up yet but since I’m in Sydney this long weekend, decided to post some reviews of some new places we haven’t been. On this rainy day we ventured to LuMi in Pyrmont, opposite Star City. Felt a bit like docklands in Melbourne – the only difference is I’d never time at Docklands restaurants. My best mate chose this venue. 1. he was looking for a good deal and 2. he booked via qantas restaurants which means he gets 100 QFF points per diner. Win win.

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Lumi Bar & Dining

It was absolutely empty when we got there. but was pretty packed by the time we left at 2pm.

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Lumi Bar & Bistro

Quite an open area with views of the harbour and decking surrounds.

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LuMi Menus

Lunch consists of a 4 course menu including a dessert. Lumi has some Japanese influence in their dishes fused with what I call ‘modern’ Italian. For $55 dollars, you get the following. 1. Chawanmushi 2. Tonnarelli, candied orange and bottled squid 3. Kurobuta pork jowl w/spinach, cauliflower, kale & quinoa and 4. Ginger Ice Cream, White Chocolate, Passionfruit. You can also order from the A La Carte Menu. All the courses even mains were under $30 dollars which was quite good value, but portions were quite small.

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Degustation Menu

Some drinks to start. I went for a La Mi Bionda Beer. Quite nice.

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Had some Starter to start. Rice Chips & Salt and Vinegar. Quite light, yet crunchy at the same time.

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Rice Chips & Salt and Vinegar

First course was the Chawanmushi. Basically looks like the Japanese egg custard, but its Italian. lol No It has parmesan Consumme with Tomato water. It was a perfect starter IMO. they still served this in a Japanese bowl which was a nice touch as well, respecting the Japanese roots of this dish.

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Italian Chawanmushi

Next course was the Tonnarelli, candied orange and bottled squid. Again it almost tasted like miso with pasta, the textures and the al danteness of the pasta was excellent. My only problem with this was, it was too little…. But less is more right!? Definitely a modern italian dish, not the traditional pastas you get.

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Tonnarelli, candied orange and bottled squid

We were going to order 4 of the same, but my mate had other ideas, wouldn’t let his wife order that and wanted to order some from the a la carte menu. So we ordered Veal Tartare, Tarragon and buckwheat served with flat bread. Again, wonderfully presented, it seemed to have a bed of tarragon puree, layered with the veal tartare and some crunchy buckwheat on top. Divine combination.

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Veal Tartare, Tarragon and buckwheat served with flat bread
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Veal Tartare, Tarragon and buckwheat served with flat bread

I didn’t have the next dish, but apparently it was also a nice dish to have. Amatriciana in the can. And literally, i reckon you can fit the pasta in a can. It was that sort of portion.

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Amatriciana in the can

For our main, we had pork jowl, quinoa, cauliflower with spinach leaves over the top. Reminds me of our Attica Dish.

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pork jowl, quinoa, cauliflower with spinach leaves

Crispy pork jowl underneath. Never was a fan of pork jowl as its quite stringy at times, no crunch, soft usually but I guess if you can change the textures a bit, it makes a big difference.

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Our friend had the Striped Trumpeter, black sesame seeds, daikon. Again lots of Japanese ingredients used in this dish. The fish was cooked perfectly and was delicious. Again portions were just too small.

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Striped Trumpeter, black sesame seeds, daikon

Finally for dessert – Ginger ice cream, white chocolate, passionfruit. Nice dish to finish with some meringue shards on top

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Ginger Ice Cream, White chocolate, passionfruit

Overall, the dishes were lovely, quite a novelty to have a mixed Italian/Japanese influence. And to be honest, I don’t think there are many around. Italians tend to stick to their roots, and as the world changes all the time, its nice to see that it works quite well.

Rating : 15/20

Dish of the day : Go for the pasta

Vibe : Misses something, not sure what, maybe it was the weather.

Most Disappointing part : Still hungry after.

Would I come back : Definitely, maybe 8 courses should do the trick next time 😛

LuMi Bar & Dining on Urbanspoon

Attica Review

I’m on vacation at the moment, so my already infrequent posts will be even more infrequent! I have a few amazing meals during my trip in Hong Kong and Japan which I will definitely blog about. Stay tuned!

4th December was mum’s birthday, it was a “round” number last year and we went to Vue De Monde. As usual, being her picky self didn’t really enjoy the experience. So I thought of Attica, given such raving reviews it has received. I gave them a call a few months ago, knowing that you can only book 3 months in advanced. I don’t think it was quite 3 months maybe less and as expected was booked out. so I was placed on the waiting list probably expecting not to get a call from them. So I booked Kappo again with mum and went yesterday. Find out about my previous Kappo review here. So I had the dilemma, should we go to Kappo and NOT go to Attica? Or should we go to BOTH. It was a no brainer. What chances are there to get a table at attica?!

So I was not sure what to expect, and they didn’t even give me the chance to look forward to this dining experience. I mean you can start telling your friends & colleagues about it etc. But no, I only had a day ! So drove down to ripponlea, located very close to Quat Quatta where we once looked at wedding venues.

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Attica – Entrance

A nice modern but homely feel to this place.

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Attica – Entrance
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Attica – Entrance 2

We were greeted at the door, and were led to our table. One thing I liked about the tables was that they had these spot lights lighting our tables. Perfect for food bloggers like me! I mean its hard to get good lighting to take photos sometimes, most places are quite dark and unless you have a SLR, its impossible to take good photos. They had these decorations in a bowl. I can’t remember what they were but one thing I knew was that you can’t eat this!

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Decorations

Forgot what these were. The waitress told us you can’t eat them just when I was about to put it in my mouth. Couldn’t wait !

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Attica Menu for the night

You don’t have to choose what to eat on the menu. They simply ask if you have any dietary requirements and off you go. So it’s an 8 course menu with the choice of either matched juices or matched wines. I had to work the next day and a trip coming up so I opted for the matched juices.

 

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Rye and sourdough bread

They brought out some fresh butter and some macadamia purée with saltbush to compliment it. Bread was rye and sourdough bread which was warm and crunchy. The purée did compliment well with the bread, mum didn’t say a word which usually means she approves of it.

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Macadamia purée with saltbush

We had a few little appetisers prior to the course. The first bringing out fresh yellow box honeycomb.

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Yellow box honey

This was lathered onto some cows milk cheese with hazelnut oil.

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Cows milk cheese with hazelnut oil

Next up were some baby corn in their husks. Real cute!

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Corn Husk

The last part of our appetiser was some New Zealand flavoured wallaby Pickelets, we were given the recipe for it as well!

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New Zealand flavoured wallaby pickelets
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The recipe! seems like it was handwritten

Finally, some summer flower gardens with steamed mussels in chicken broth, olive oil and fresh beans. Fresh indeed!

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Summer flower gardens with steamed mussels in chicken broth, olive oil and fresh beans
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Cockery in which it was served.

I chose the accompanying fruit juice with the degustation as I had to drive. Wasn’t a bad choice! First came some grapefruit juice.

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Grapefruit Juice

First course was snow crab and sour leaves. So it was a sorrel leave with some crab meat from WA underneath with Australian pepper berry. Pretty much all their ingredients are sourced locally which is one great thing about eating in Australia.

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Snow crab and sour leaves

Next juice – Tomato and verjuice. All the juices were quite “unique”. Its not just a simple tomato juice. It has to be some different depth of flavour to make it special.

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Tomato and Verjuice

Second dish of the day – Salted Kangaroo & Bunya Bunya. Bunya is a native nut plant of Queensland. This dish was served with purple carrots, currants, frozen puree and the bunya nut and a kangaroo which is diced up like in a carpaccio. One of my favourite dishes of the night.

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Salted Kangaroo & Bunya Bunya

JUICE up! Pumpkin and wattle seed juice. Hmmm You wonder if its a juice or a soup. Definitely interesting taste with the wattleseed in it.

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Pumpkin and Wattleseed juice

Another one of my favourite dishes of the night. A potato! Yes, I didn’t know how tasty an ordinary staple was. This potato was JUST cooked through, so its almost like a little raw, but not quite. It has garlic infused cheddar cheese which was fermented for 18 months. Quite an amazing dish.

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Minted Potato, Medium Rare

Beetroot and tamarind. I don’t mind beetroot, it’s meant to be good for your vessels.

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Beetroot and Tamarind juice

Next up was something interesting. On the menu, it says 142 days of earth. I was trying to decipher what this meant. The waiter explained that it was 142 days for this red cabbage before it was harvested. Don’t know why 142 days and why not 141 days! Must be something special about that 142nd day. Anyway they used numerous parts of the cabbage for this dish. Part of it is the heart, the outer leaves and it was served in cabbage sauce and roasted emu fillet and rosella dark wattle seed. I loved the different textures the cabbage gives.

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142 days of earth

Smoked Apple Juice. Yes not just ordinary granny old smith juice – it has to be smoked. My word you can definitely taste the smokeyness of the juice. Loved it.

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Smoked Apple Juice

Oyster king george whiting for the next course. Served in real BARK. there was so much flavour in this fish – there was garlic, butter some herbs and a whole lot of other flavours which is strong and tasty. Can’t beat bush food!

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King George Whiting on paperbark

This knife was taken out of it’s pouch from the waiter. Lots of nice little details in a fine dining restaurant.

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Knife

Next was the pork loin. Mum didn’t really like this dish. Didn’t really explain why, she thought the meat was a bit ropey. I thought the meat was cooked perfectly through medium rare. But it did lack some flavour in it to make you want more and more.

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Pork loin, rotten corn and sorrel leaves

After the mains, we were invited into the herb garden at the back which was great because I needed to walk around a bit to digest the food. There were a few chefs there who explained what was in the garden and we were to choose a bit of everything into a small bowl. Herbs included miniature strawberries, licorice, basil etc.

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The herb garden at Attica

Funky mural on one side of the herb garden.

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Funky Mural

Once we chose our herbs, they scoop out a scoop of condense milk sorbet and add a bit of vinegar.

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Sorbet to finish

Bowls used for the ice-cream. yum!

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Pottery at Attica

There was another section on the way to the herb garden where the chefs make their desserts.

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Dessert area for the chefs

Showing some of their vermouth they’ll use for the following dessert.

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Maidenii Vermouth

 

 

 

Ready for dessert with this huge wooden spoon

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Dessert spoon

Here it is! Pears and Maidenii. Very thoughtful how they found a pear shape wooden plate as well! Extremely tasty with flowers on top. Lovely finish to an amazing night.

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Pears and Maidenii

Almost forgot there was more juice. Next up, slightly bitter orange juice. Very nice indeed.

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Slightly bitter orange juice

Final dessert of the night. Industrious beet it was called. Sorry its been almost a month since i had it, i do remember it had lots of meringue, with sauce in which whole oranges was used. Lovely textures of the meringue and flavours of the oranges. So delicious.

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The Industrious Beet

Instead of the petit of fours, we get an egg. Yes, a Pukeko egg from NZ. It’s actually chocolate with caramel inside it.

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Ben Shewry explaining the egg and his NZ roots

Here it is, even had a nest for it!

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Pukeko egg

That’s it folks! Amazing night, mum enjoyed it thoroughly and had one hell of a culinary experience. We were very lucky to get a table esp leading up to christmas. Sorry for the late post, I’ve got some interesting overseas review including some business class and first class reviews to Japan! Stay tuned!

Rating : 18/20

Would I go back : I really don’t need to answer this question

Dish of the day : I think the potato dish was something special.

Tips : don’t eat too much that day!

Attica on Urbanspoon