Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bavarian Bier Cafe - Parramatta

Bavarian Bier Cafe

Looking to use and abuse the entertainment book 2-for-1 main deals yet not willing to travel far from home, my partner and I decided to eat at Bavarian Bier Cafe in Parramatta. This particular bier cafe is situated inside a renovated church. How appropriate LOL. Being a Saturday night, we were too late to eat inside the restaurant - yet we were warmly welcomed to the outside bar/bistro area. Being a cold night, we chose a table next to a warm heater. The ambiance outside was not bad - chilly, yet chillaxy. And there was an awesome accordion player to liven up the night!

500ml Löwenbräu - $9.50

Being one to want to eat everything, I settled for the Bavarian Tasting plate ($25). This had super succulent pork belly, schnitzel, and sausages. The pork belly was very extremely mouthwateringly delicious. The crackle was soooooooo crackley and the meat was so juicy and tender (and extremely fatty and heart-attack material). The schnitzels were good. And the sausages? The middle one was simply heavenly! Reminiscent of the "cheesey sausages" you get in the street stalls in HK (something I've been trying to hunt down for the last few months). Can you tell that I was truely satisfied by my meal? To top it all up, there was awesome mash and sauerkraut and red cabbage. Mmm... balanced diet right?

Bavarian Tasting Plate - $25

Just incase there was not enough mash (and Yes, I'm a mash fan), we ordered a side of mash ($6.50).

Sabago Mash - $6.50

My partner was simply dying for pork crackling and hence, ordered the crackling roast pork belly ($26.50). The pork was awesomeness (refer to my above description) and was served with granny smith apple compote and sauteed potatoes.

Crackling Roast Pork Belly - $26.50

The end result? Two very satisfied, stuffed to the rim, happy customers who managed to get away paying less than $50. Awesome!

Food - 9/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 7.5/10
Value for money - 8/10
Overall - 31.5/40

Bavarian Bier Cafe (Parramatta)
2-8 Phillip Street
NSW 2150
Tel: (02) 8836 1400

Lindt Cafe - Cockle Bay Wharf

Following dinner at Blackbirds Cafe, my company and I found ourselves conveniently situated outside Lindt Cafe. Being cold and craving for chocolate, I simply could not resist and talked my friends into sitting down.

Lindt Cafe

After a brief moment of hesitation, I decided to order the warm soft-centered melting chocolate cake with icecream (of the excellence 70% variety) ($15). The hesistation was for the price... but my stomach won over my brain in this instance.

Warm soft-centred chocolate cake with 70% Excellence icecream - $15

And it was a decision not regretted. It was soooo powerfully richly chocolatey. Topped with melting chocolate, and a melting chocolate center that just oozed out, every bite was bliss! Mixed with my favourite (in Syd) icecream... mmm... YUM!

One of my other friends ordered a chocolate orange walnut cake (I think). Being mousey and cakey and nutty, I think she enjoyed this.

Orange walnut cake

Overall, Lindt did not dissappoint. As usual, service is quite non-existant, but friendlyish nonetheless. And foodwise? I love chocolate ... so I am biased LOL

Food - 8/10
Service - 6/10
Ambiance - 8/10
Value for money - 6/10
Overall - 28/40

Lindt Cafe
104-105 Cockle Bay Wharf
Darling Harbour, Sydney
Tel: (02) 9267 8064

Blackbird Cafe - Cockle Bay Wharf

For a friendly get-together in a casual, non-expensive place which allows us to chill (without getting kicked out), we decided to go to Blackbird Cafe.

Drinks were ordered first. I thought this drink was very quite impressive - and 'Oreo Crunch' ($15) comprising of coffee and oreos, kahlua, baileys, and frangelico all mixed and blended with chocolate sauce and icecream. Mmm... seems so unhealthy :P

Oreo Crunch - $15

My friend's lasagne al forno ($19.90) looked like a huge plate of beefy, tomatoey, cheesey, pasta-y stuff. Whilst not beautifully presented, my friend seemed to enjoy eating this quite very much.

Lasagne - $19.90

Another friend's penne arrabiatta ($16.90) looked even less attractive. However, tossed with capsicum, garlic, chilli, tomato and onions, the dish eppeared to be polished off. Might be the taste... might be the hunger on the cold rainy night.

Penne - $16.90

Then come the burgers. A few of my friends ordered the chicken burger ($18.90). This burger was very quite flat and quite small in comparison to my relatively huge cheeseburger ($18.90). The chicken burger plainly came with some salad and bbq sauce. And ofcourse, chips and tomato sauce on the side.

Chicken Burger - $18.90

On the other hand, my cheeseburger was comprised of a thick (slightly non-succulent) beef pattie, bacon, mushroom, pineapple and topped with melted cheese. Gerkins came with, but I asked for it without. Again, it was served with chips and tomato sauce. The burger was so huge that it was impossible to stuff in my mouth all at once.

Cheeseburger - $18.90

Of course other foods were ordered on the night. But as Blackbirds sat us on a long table, with little room to move, it was virtually impossible to snap every dish. Nonetheless, Blackbirds is that chillaxy little cafe situated at Cockle Bay Wharf, perfect for a catch up. Food and service-wise... well, don't expect too much.

Food - 6.5/10
Service - 6/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Value for money - 6.5/10
Overall - 26/40

Blackbird Cafe
Cockle Bay Wharf
201 Sussex St
NSW 2000
Tel: (02) 9283 7385

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Castle Hill Tavern - Castle Hill

Cheap-ass Tuesday~! Love it. Not just for cheap movies, but also for cheap meals.
Before our church youth group, a whole bunch of us hung at the Tav for dinner - $15 for any meal on the menu + a drink (beer or softdrink). Whilst it was my first time here, the T-bone was highly highly recommended by my friends. Being very easily persuaded by peer pressure, my partner and I each got a T-bone - mine with mushroom sauce, his with pepper sauce.

T-bone with mushroom sauce

T-bone with pepper sauce

For $15, the steak was quite huge, and not half bad. Tastey and well-balanced meal... well, kind of. The good side of the steak was tender, the other side was tastey but yum nonetheless.

The tav seems to be a good place to just chill and hang - and we saw young adults (ie. us), families, and older more mature patrons. So, just a relaxing place for all. There's special meal deals Monday-Thursday ... but being Asian, we've checked it all out and we think that the Tuesday meal is the best of them all.

Food - 7/10
Service - 6/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Value for money - 8/10
Overall - 28/40

Castle Hill Tavern
25 Victoria Ave
Castle Hill NSW 2154
Tel: (02) 9634 5300

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Rhodes Phoenix Chinese Restaurant - Rhodes

This post is long overdue... my partner said he'd take care of it... but then conveniently forgot about it :P
Rhodes Phoenix Chinese Restaurant

In search of yum-cha food, my partner and I found ourselves at Rhodes Phoenix, a Chinese restaurant I've heard lots of good reviews about, but have been dying to try out.

On this particular Saturday (as I expect with every Saturday), this restaurant was packed out. Luckily, requiring only a 2-person table, we were happily seated within 15 minutes or so.

We sat, got our tea, and piled our table up with food. One of my partner's all-time favourites is salt-and-pepper squid. Palely deep fried and dusted with salt and pepper and topped with chilli, this dish was quite delectable and extremely addictive. The squid was soft, chewy and very easy to eat. Although I'm not as great a fan of salt-and-pepper squid, I thought this was quite amazing and probably would not have stopped my partner from ordering another plate of it (and that's saying something).

Salt and Pepper Squid

Another of my partner's favourites is the chicken feet in brown sauce. Again, this was quite very much an awesome dish. It was cooked almost perfectly, drenched in an almost perfect proportion of sauce and the sauce was almost perfectly tasting. Mmm... An ordinary dish taken to the ultimate deliciousness level.

Chicken Feet

The pork ribs was pretty much devoured by my partner who loved every moment of the soft tender and well-seasoned meat. I didn't get much of eating this, but the little of it that I did manage was quite satisfying.

Pork rib

Now onto my har gau (prawn dumpling). This was again, awesomely amazingness~ The prawns were super fresh tasting, with that cruchy fresh crisp feeling - not that icky mushy off-prawns taste. The dumpling skin was also very nicely done... not too thick, yet doesn't break at the touch of your chopsticks.
Har Gau

Last but not least, the pork and prawn dumpling (siu mai). This was surprisingly average. Other than it being fresh and steaming, it was just as tastey as most other siu mai's at other places. Still nice though... just not extraordinary.

Siu Mai

Well, as you may have gathered, the eating experience was extremely good. The food fresh and tastey. The service was normal - gave us tea when we needed it. A little pricier than most places. A little more comfy and quiet (due to high ceilings) than most places. Generally, a place I would love to revisit :)

Food - 9/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 8/10
Value for money - 6.5/10
Overall - 30.5/40

Rhodes Phoenix
Level 5
Rhodes Shopping Centre
1 Rider Blvde
Rhodes, NSW 2138
tel: (02) 9739 6628

Friday, June 5, 2009

La Renaissance - The Rocks

La Renaissance is a little French patisserie in the heart of The Rocks, Sydney. Previous to this visit, we have been fortunate enough to sample a small selection of birthday cakes from La Renaissance. The cakes were simply divine, hence we were quite excited to visit this tiny bakery on a Saturday afternoon. 

On entering this bakery, you are struck with the aroma of coffee and the fragrant of fresh croissants. On your left, a counter is presented full of different types of cakes, pastries and pies. As my partner and I had just finished a rather large lunch, we settled on drinks and a quick snack. 

Skim Mocha


My partner and I were quite impressed with the coffee art. Amazing enough that my partner had to think twice before dunking her spoon into her mocha.  

The strong fragrant of freshly bake croissants could only mean excellent fresh warm croissants right? Unfortunately the strong fragrance was not from the croissant we had ordered. This one was quite cold and did not taste very fresh.   

Chocolate Mousse

The chocolate mousse had layers of white and dark chocolate mouse all wrapped in milk chocolate folds. The taste was as awesome as it looks. Smooth, rich layers of mousse that would melt in your mouth. My partner described the mousse as "Chocolaty, cakey, smooth, and more chocolaty, and a harder chocolaty layer"   

The atmosphere was casual and cosy. Even though we visited on a rainy day, the courtyard was a nice place to dine. This is a must visit for any dessert lover. Given the time, we would love to visit again to try out other cakes and pastries on the menu, and hopefully some fresh croissants. 

Food - 7.5/10
Service - 6/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Value for money - 7.5/10
Overall - 28/40

La Renaissance
47 Argyle Street
The Rocks, Sydney NSW 2000
tel: (02) 9241 4878


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Shores - Mosman


Shores is one of those restaurants my partner and I have been dying to go for a while now. With the end of the entertainment card year and the closure of Shores (on June 21), I ensured that my partner booked us in for lunch even though it was supposed to be a rainy day.

When we arrived, we were greated by a nice friendly waitstaff who showed us to our table. However, the friendly waitress was replaced by our less friendly table waitress... I don't know if it was because of our age, or because she knows her job is in jeapardy, but whatever it was, her words were short and she did not like to smile... at all!

Oh well... let's concentrate on the food. We ordered the restaurant special sourdough bread. This came fresh and hot out of the oven. Soooo soft on the inside and so crisp and crunchy on the outside! That, coupled with the amazing marscapone with garlic and herb spread... heavenly! So light and yet so tastey.

Sourdough with olive oil and mascapone (with garlic and herb) dip

Also for starters, we ordered the seared scallops ($25.00). The scallops were each sitting on wasabi-potato puree. The wasabi flavour was so subtle, we hardly reaslised it was there. The wakame ponzu sauce on the otherhand, was much more flavoursome. The scallops themselves were not overcooked... but I think they would have been better textured with a few seconds less on the grill.

seared scallops on wasabi-potato puree, wakame and ponzu dressing - $25.00

My partner ordered the chargrill beef fillet ($35.00). The beef sat on a pink-eyed potato and mozarella cake, and swam in pesto red-wine jus. Cooked medium rare, it was very flavoursome and tender... and all gobbled up by my partner.

chargrilled beef fillet - $35.00

I had the grilled harimasa king fish ($35.00). This was accompanied by stir-fried greens, shitake and enoki mushrooms. I am always a bit scared whenever I order fish... I hate it when they overcook it. Luckily, Shores did there's just right! Not too raw, not too overcooked and chewy. The skin was super super crispy as well! The asian flavour bought out by the greens was nice... but I think other accompaniments may have suited it even more (not that I know what it should be).

grilled harimasa king fish - $35.00

Last but not least, our side order of "home-made thickcut chips" ($8.00) which looked more like wedges. Funnily enough, I'm sure they could have passed as wedges... super crisp potato skins and soft fluffy potatoey insides. Mmm... very very filling though. So filling that my partner and I had no room left for dessert.
homemade thick-cut chips - $8.00

It's a shame this place has to close. The view is awesomeness... seeing yatchs float by... small patches of sand, water... romantic-ness... ish. Maybe it could all be topped off with a violin playing softly in the background. The flavours were also fresh and and the food delicious. You can tell they put effot into making the food.

Food - 8.5/10
Service - 6/10
Ambiance - 9/10
Value for money - 7.5/10
Overall - 31/40

lower Parriwi Rd
The Spit
NSW, 2088
tel: (02) 9960 3391