Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Frango - Norwest

I've been meaning to visit Frango since they opened in Norwest but as they're not open on Sunday, the normal day that I'm around that area, I haven't had the chance to try it until a couple of weekends ago. Although it was raining and cold, there was an abundant of people lining up at this place wanting some tasty chicken.

Not knowing what exactly to get, we got a chicken and chips pack and a burger and chips pack. We ended up with too much fries and only then did we eye an adjacent table who had the smarts to swap their fries for salad. That's what we should do next time for sure!

The chicken was actually really tender and tasty, with a pretty yummy slightly chilli mayo sauce. Finger-licking good :) Hubby enjoyed it but I think if he was given the choice, El Jannah is where he would be going (for the charcoaled chicken and garlic sauce :P).
The burger was also quite tasty. The chicken piece was tender and also, lightly slathered with the chilli mayo sauce. The lettuce was abundantful but tended to fall everywhere. It tasted much like an Oporto's bondi burger (which I quite enjoy anyway).
I enjoyed the chicken here but it was nothing crazily amazing. It's not bad for a rainy day but if I had to choose between Frango chilli mayo and El Jannah's garlic sauce, garlic sauce will win hands down - everytime :)

Food - 7/10
Service - 6/10
Ambiance - 6/10
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 26/40

Ground Floor Shop 5
29-31 Lexington Drive
Bella Vista
NSW 2153
Tel: (02) 9672 6474

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Taiki Japanese Restaurant

A craving for Japanese food took us nearby to Lane Cove one night. I always crave sushi and hubby always enjoys Blue Fin Tuna, so when we found out that Taiki had Blue Fin on their menu, we were both pretty happy and edging to try.

We couldn't resist ordering the 'Otoro' nigiri (fatty tuna). We envisioned something similar to the awesome melt-in-your-mouth experience we had in Tokyo. Unfortunately, this fell a bit short. Yes it was tasty and yummy - but it lacked that melty feeling and was slightly sinuey.

How could I resist from ordering the deluxe sashimi and sushi platter. Loads of deliciously fresh sashimi. The salmon was good and this chunky white fish (not kingfish) was sooooo good. It was so creamy and delish! The nigiri here was average but OK enough to satisfy my sushi cravings.

More tuna for hubby came in the form of a grilled tuna cheek. This didn't LOOK good but it smelt pretty tasty. The tuna flesh was silky and yum. I actually really liked it and there was a lot more meat than what I'd expected.
The restaurant wasn't super busy but all the customers here seemed happy with their orders. The sashimi was pretty amazing and the tuna cheek was not bad. However, the nigiri and sushi rolls here were just average.

Food - 8/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 29/40

Taiki Japanese Restaurant
96 Longueville Road
Lane Cove NSW 2066
Tel: (02) 9428 1007

Monday, September 1, 2014

Ryde Haejangguk - North Strathfield

The Korean Restaurant on our street keeps changing names. The latest name is Ryde Haejangguk - seems to have the longest name compared to it's predecessors - and it also seems to have attract the most amount of patrons.
Side dishes are OK but I'm so spoilt by 'Jonga Jip' (Eastwood) where you get like 11 side dishes that four side dishes just seem a bit dismal. Nonetheless - the kimchi and the fishcake was pretty tasty.
We had contemplated getting a hot pot, but at the last minute, we decided on a small soup each. Hubby got the lamb soup whilst I got the ox bone soup. Hubby really enjoyed his lamb soup - super lamby flavour and tons of perilla seeds and green vege strips (perilla leaves maybe?). Hubby dunked his meat in this mean concoction of gochujang, perilla, mustard and soy, making it even tastier.

My ox bone soup was super sizzling when it got to the table. The soup was nice and white, lots of shallot and big strips of meat. The soup felt really clean and gave the illusion of healthiness. Not bad.

So this place is pretty tasty - but there's a korean dumpling restaurant that just opened opposite it. I'll have to try that too and compare them both! :)

Food - 8.5/10
Service - 6.5/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 29/40

Ryde Haejangguk 
1-3 George Street
North Strathfield
NSW 2137
Tel: (02) 9746 8746

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Prato Cafe & Diner - Abbotsford

I was looking up  yummy brunch places and came across this cafe tucked away in Abbotsford. Abbotsford is not a suburb we frequent so I was pleasantly surprised when it was just 15 mins away from home. So what drew me to this cafe tucked in amongst expensive waterview properties? I saw a photo of their fish pie and thought - 'I've got to eat that!!!" So guess what I ordered? :)
The cafe is spacious yet friendly and welcoming. Although staff was not abundant, service was prompt enough. Coffee here was also pretty tasty! Smooth and rich and aromatic - campos coffee.
Hubby had his heart set on many things. He finally decided on the homestyle bacon and egg roll. We called the waitress over to order and he ordered.... the beef burger. What happened?!?!?! The beef burger came on a super duper sesamed bun. Over-sesamed for sure! The cheese burger came with Gruyere, onion, pickle, ketchup, and mayo, served with crispy golden french fries. It was average... Why is it so hard to find an awesome burger in Sydney these days? :(
My smoked fish pie was super super delicious. Large chunks of smoked white fish with sweet leek, potato and peas and a light golden bread crumb. The fish was so smokey and the combination of the lot was creamy and really tasty! However, it is quite rich, so much so that it was truely difficult to finish the dish alone.

This cafe is quite a gem. Quiet and tranquil with indoor and outdoor seating, and lovely high ceilings too! Worth a visit for sure :)

Food - 7.5/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 7.5/10
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 29/40

378 Great North Road
NSW 2046
Tel: (02) 9712 5638

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Red Pepper - Strathfield

It's rainy and cold and somewhat miserable. Perfect weather conditions for hot pot and KFC. When my friends mentioned KFC and image of a huge bucket of colonels specialty in a family feast wafted into my mind, only to be corrected. KFC = Korean Fried Chicken.

Situated at Strathfield Sports Club, millions seem to flock to this place for KFC. My friends were regular patrons here whereas I was a noob - hence I left the ordering to them. We had a whole Spring Onion Gang Jung - super crispy fried chicken with loads of fragrant spring onion, garlic and hints of chilli. It's sticky and subtly sweet. The meat is incredibly succulent. YUM!

We also had half a sweet and spicy chicken. It had really rich tomatoey flavour and tons of sesame seeds. Really sticky and quite spicy for me - but no spice hit for the hubby.

The last chicken flavour we had was the snow cheese chicken. ZOMG - fried chicken with sprinkles of artificial cheese.... Soooo sooo bad for you but really crispy and quite delish.
Hot pot wise, we had the budae chigae - the 'army stew' which is my absolute favourite. A chilli stew with sausages, spam, kimchi, bean sprouts, tofu, veges, and instant noodles. LOVE it! So artificial and prob not worth the cost... but so up my ally in terms of tastiness :)

I feel like I should have eaten at this place ages ago as it's a pretty awesome little gem. Don't expect good service though. If you are eating here on a weekend - be sure to book!

Food - 8/10
Service - 5/10
Ambiance - 6/10
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 26/40

Red Pepper
4A Lyons St
NSW 2135
Tel: (02) 9701 0911

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Chur Burger - Surry Hills

I had put off going to Chur Burger, not because I don't love burgers, but because whenever people tell me it's the 'best' one around - I'm usually disappointed. But when our friends told us to go and check out Sydney's supposed 'best burger', we thought we'd go with an open mind.

I read a lot of blogs on the place prior to our visit so I knew to steer away from the pulled pork burger. I'd also read that the salted caramel milkshake was a bit on the thin side. But you know me - salted caramel anything, I will order it. So, against my better judgement, a salted caramel shake landed in front of me. It wasn't as thick as I usually like it, and it was really really sweet. Redeeming factor though - it was very much salted caramelly.
The four of us also shared a plate of corn fritters. These were AMAZING. Beautifully crumbed and golden brown, and oozing in corn pasty sweetness. The dipping sauce was also really good - creamy with a hint of chilli. Really really yum!
If only the burgers were on the same caliber... Three of us ordered the beef burger whereas hubby ordered the lamb burger. The beef burger came with a thick patty cooked medium, tomato jam, melted cheese, mustard mayo and thin slices of pickle. All this was sandwiched between slightly overly browned, bit powdery, overly dense and waaay too buttery brioche buns. I have to say that it was an average-tasting burger, at best. The only redeeming factor was that the cheese was nicely melted.

Hubby's lamb burger had mint sauce, red onion, aioli, and a cute little slab of feta cheese. He said that it tasted alright. He wasn't super impressed, but he didn't complain too much about it - apart from the fail bun.
Between the four of us, we ordered both types of chips. The normal potato ones with chilli salt, and the sweet potato ones with garlic and lime. The sweet potato chips were a bit mangy looking - 'cooked to death' was the phrase my friends used. The thicker ones were still ok though - kind of like baked sweet potato. Unfortunately, they were far outnumbered by the crazy browned cooked to death ones... The normal potato ones, on the other hand, were actually pretty tasty. Cooked well with crunch and fluffiness.
With loud pop music playing and shared tables that are slightly too high to be comfy, the atmosphere was not the most conducive to chatting. The supplemental food was yum but 'voted the best burgers in Sydney'? I think not. I probably wouldn't come back.

Food - 5.5/10
Service - 6/10
Ambiance - 5.5/10
Value for money - 6/10
Overall - 23/40

Chur Burger
48 Albion Street
Surry Hills
NSW 2010
Tel: (02) 9212 3602

Friday, August 15, 2014

Rustic Pearl - Surry Hills

Before bracing ourselves to launch into our nephew's 3rd birthday party, we decided to grab a quick early breakfast around Surry Hills. We ambled into Rustic Pearl, a cozy small ish cafe on Crown Street.
Water served with a thin slice of lemon and mint was a nice touch. The menu appeared tasty and it took a while for us to deliberate our choices. At the end, hubby got a bruschetta and I opted for a fancy bacon and egg roll. And of course we got coffees which were creamy, smooth and tasty - not a bad start to the morning.

Hubby's bruschetta was a mess of sucuk (a dried, spicy turkish sausage), fresh tomato, rocket, pomegranate molasses and melted buffalo mozzarella, finished with soft boiled organic egg. Hubby's problem with this dish was the avocado that was smeared on the toast - he said that it made the toast all soggy and undesirable. The other components looked delish, but hubby said that it was pretty average.

Sucuk bruschetta

My bacon and egg roll was a crispy yummy bun encasing a beautifully cooked  organic fried egg, bacon loin, rocket, tomato relish and hollandaise sauce. Impossible for me to eat as a whole and a touch messy as I cut it up. It was tasty enough but not spectacularly amazing.
bacon and egg roll

All up, it was a pleasant experience. Food and coffee came promptly and it helped us chill out for a bit before heading to a hectic kids party. Not too bad :)

Food - 6.5/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 7.5/10
Value for money - 6.5/10
Overall - 27.5/40

Rustic Pearl
415 Crown Street
Surry Hills
NSW 2010
Tel: 0406 930 083