Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

The last couple of weeks have been extremely extremely stressful and busy and as such, I haven't had time to post any exciting cool places to eat. But don't worry - we'll be back in the new year with lots more awesomely yummy foods! :)
For now, hope you all have a FANTASTIC CHRISTMAS and an AWESOME NEW YEAR!!! xoxo :)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Cafe de HK - Carlingford

To compare honky style cafes, my partner decided to eat at Cafe de HK and see how it compared to Cafe Aroma.

At Cafe de HK, my partner opted for a set meal. There's a variet y of pork, chicken and beef meals (grilled or deep fried with a variety of cream, black pepper, or tomato sauce). There is soup on the house (Russian Borsch) which was actually really quite light but tasty. Less tomatoey compared to the one at Cafe Aroma. In terms of the meal, my partner chose the deep-fried pork cutlet with tomato sauce with spaghetti (rather than rice) and with chips. It also came with a drink of your choice. In terms of the pork, it was tasty and tender. Quite yummy indeed. The spaghetti and chips wer every average though.

deep-fried pork chop meal

I decided to order a stir fried instant noodles with chicken. This was a super HUGE mountain of instant noodles with chicken, chinese mushrooms, carrots, cabbage, and shallots and HEAAAAAPPPS of salt. OMG - if you want to die from sodium chloride shock, eat this. My partner said that it's what happens when you use the whole packet of seasoning when you cook the instant noodles. Despite the salt overload, I did manage to polish it off - guess you get used to the salt after a while! LOL

stir-fried instant noodles

All up, Cafe de HK is a place we've dined at for many many years. Over time, they've renovated and they've upped the prices but luckily, the food is still decent :)

Food - 7.5/10
Service - 6.5/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 28/40

Cafe de HK
Carlingford Village
Level 1, Shop 2, 372 Pennant Hills Rd
NSW 2118
tel: (02) 9871 1878

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cafe Aroma (2) - Burwood

Stopping off for lunch in the midst of busy house shopping, my partner felt like eating at Cafe Aroma. The set meals here are $15.80 each and includes soup, bread, a main meal and a drink. There are also set meals (western style) for slightly more expensive.

For this lunch time, my partner opted for a Russian Borsch for the soup whereas I went for a cream of chicken soup. This came with warm soft bread :) The russian borsch was very tomatoey and rich - quite yummy - but I still preferred my creamy chicken soup. Very smooth and very very tasty.

russian borsch with bread roll
cream of chicken soup with bread roll

For mains, my partner chose a baked pork chop rice. There were many thin strips of grilled pork sitting on top of fried rice and topped with a hefty layer of tomato sauce and just not enough cheese. It was pretty yummy though.

baked pork chop rice

I decided on the baked portugese chicken with rice. Oddly, this whole dish was just portugese chicken - super tender and yummy pieces of chicken with potato cubes, onion and peas - and the rice mountain came separate. I prefer mine altogether (as I really don't need that much rice) and again, I like it topped with cheese.

Baked portugese chicken rice

Drinks here were good too. The milk tea and the milk tea with coffee are both yummy. I guess what's lacking is the ambiance and the service - but that's probably pretty typical for honky style cafes.

Food - 8/10
Service - 6/10
Ambiance - 6.5/10
Value for money - 6.5/10
Overall - 27/40

Cafe Aroma
232 Burwood Road
NSW 2134
tel: (02) 9747 4611

Monday, December 13, 2010

Meidi BBQ House - Parramatta

"Let's go eat spinny bbq things!" is something I've been saying since seeing this place on Chocolatesuze's blog. It's a bbq place in Parra which has meat pre-marinated and pre-skewered for you. Then you pop the skewers on a self-spinny thing and it spins and spins and spins on top of hot charcoal, giving it an awesomely even cooking experience. What more, it is an all-you-can-eat! Eat as much meat as you can possibly stomach :)

Meidi BBQ House

Stepping into the place, there's three main sections of food. There's innumerous skewer variety, a cold entree/appetiser section, and a cooked small eats section. In terms of the skewers, there's a good range of chicken, pork, beef, lamb marinated in all sorts of things. What more, there's super awesome frankfurts and fishballs (which I LOVE in Honky style bbqs). There's also beef rib and squid (unskewered), ready for u to pop on a wire mesh. For appetisers, there's the vinegary white raddish (which is superbly awesome), beef jelly, garlic seaweed, chilli potato strings, tofu bean curd (which are not very appetising), and bean sprout stuff. And in terms of the hot food - this is probably the section that you go to if you're with a big crowd and your waiting for your food to be cooked. Gyozas here are pretty yummy so they're worth a try.

pre-cooked hot food
random selection of skewers
skewers going round and round and round

In terms of skewers, the chicken wings and the fish balls are my favourite. The beef ribs and satay chickens come as a close second. There's also fruit (just orangers) and icecream (vanilla only) after your hectic meaty meal.

All up, my partner and I decided that this is like a cross-over between a Honky-style bbq and a Korean bbq minus the work (ie. good for lazy people). For the price ($28.80 Mon-Thurs ^& $29.90 Fri-Sun), this is probably a good option if there's two of you and you're both too lazy to set up a barbeque but if there's a large group, you're probably better off price-wise to set up your own cos really, how much meat can you really eat?

Food - 7.5/10
Service - 6.5/10
Ambiance - 6.5/10
Value for money - 6.5/10
Overall - 27/40

Meidi BBQ House
Shop 4, 100 Church St
NSW 2150
tel: (02) 9635 9098

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Lighthouse Seafood Restaurant & Bar - Parramatta

For our clinic Christmas dinner, our boss shouted us to a three course meal at The Lighthouse Seafood Restaurant. To add to the Christmas cheer, Christmas crackers were placed on the tables for us, and live entertainment was present with some dude singing Christmas carols ALL night.

We were first served with yummy warm bread. I have to say - most of us were famished and so, soft warm bread was served. The butter melted into the bread, giving us a super yummy rich buttery taste to start the meal.

warm bread roll

We had a choice of different entrees. I chose the Smoked Tasmanian salmon. This was many many slices of super subtle and lightly smoked Tasmanian salmon rolled with avocado and straw mushrooms inside with a hint of dill mayo present throughout. Salmon roe and super finely diced apple was spreaded all around. It made for a relatively yummy starter. What I didn't appreciate too much was the raw straw mushrooms. I normally like my straw mushrooms cooked - grilled, steamed, barbequed, sauteed, ANYTHING! - just cooked. LOL

Smoked Tasmanian salmon with avocado and straw mushrooms, salmon roe and dill mayonnaise

For sides to share, we got super thick cut chips and salad. The chips were deliciousness! Golden crispiness on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside. YUM. The salad was likewise good. It had a good amount of vinaigrette in it.

thick cut chips
garden salad

For my main, I opted for the roast chicken breast. The chicken was cooked okayishly and was stuffed with spinach and ricotta. Creamy mustard sauce was drizzled around the chicken and steamed veges - carrot, beans and asparagus - were sitting underneath the chicken. All up, it was a decent dish. Being hungry, I polished it all off.

Roast chicken breast filled with spinach and ricotta in creamy mustard sauce

For my dessert, tiramisu was on my plate. The saviordi biscuit was soaked in hazelnut liqueur and espresso coffee and was topped with mascarpone. The coffee taste wasn't quite enough and the biscuits were still kind of crummy. The mascapone cheese tasted more like cream... not really something I savour. I have to say, it wasn't the best tiramisu. I believe I make yummier ones :P

Homemade tiramisu cake

All up, dinner was decent. The Christmas cheer got to me after a while - but that's probably just me. I was never a huge fan of Christmas stuff LOL

Food - 8/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 7.5/10
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 29.5/40

The Lighthouse Seafood Restaurant & Bar
68-80 George Street
NSW 2150
tel: (02) 9635 8388

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sea Sweet Patisserie - Parramatta

My friend who lives from the Shire has, on multiple occasions, been trying to tell me how awesome the baklavas are from a sweets shop in Parra. After many times of hearing about it, I made her actually take us down here - so we can try it ourselves.

The patisserie is called Sea Sweet and is located on Church street, on the quieter side of the river. There are two glass cabinets full of cakes and petit fours, and two huge cabinets of lebanese sweets. According to my friend, it's probably better value to take-away, as they charge you double the price for eating in.

loads of cakes and sweets available

On this particular occasion, we decided to purchase half a kg of mixed baklavas ($13.90). We got a huge selection - cashews, pistaccios, chocolate baclavas, rectangular ones, round ones, the whole lot. They all have a different name - but being me, the only difference I sense is cachew vs pistaccio. What I mean is that, to me, all cashew ones taste the same and all pistaccio ones taste similar. The baklavas here are really quite awesome. Sweet, but not overly so. Light and puffy and crispy. Bite-sized (which is kind of bad as it means that I consume many many in one sitting).

1/2 kg of baklavas - $13.90

The baklavas here are yum. The range of cakes available also seem quite good and my friend thinks that they are decent in taste. The service isn't 100% though... but be patient and eventually, they'll get there.

Food - 8.5/10
Service - 6/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 28.5/40

Sea Sweet Patisserie
4 / 354 Church St,
NSW 2150
tel: 1300 90 80 70

Monday, December 6, 2010

Lucianos - Parramatta

My friends and I were up for a late lunch on a Sunday in Parra. Having all the options of the restaurants on Church Street, we had finally decided to test out Lucianos - a restaurant that none of us have been to previously.


Lucianos has a decent list of lunch specials. We were slowly seated... then even more slowly, offered a waiter to take an order... then slowly the drinks came... then slowly, we waited and waited and waited and waited ... then an hour later, our food came. That was the pace of the whole meal. Slow.

We ordered a garlic pizza to share ($9.90). The base to this pizza was super crispy and crunchy. It was done really really well. The cheddar melted on top and the garlicy flavour added the perfect taste to the pizza base. All up - this is probably one of the best garlic pizzas we've had. Just took around half an hour to get here.

garlic pizza - $9.90

In terms of mains, whilst there were 6 of us, we had only ordered 4 different meals (some of us chose the same thing) - and one of them was a salad. The pasta's weren't exactly extravagently complicated (in our view) and so, to wait an hour for them to arrive (ie. at 3pm), it was slightly unexpected.

Me and one of my friends ordered the Penne venetian ($9.90 including a drink). This was penne with chicken, basil, garlic and pinenuts all in a white creamy sauce. It tasted really quite awesome. The pasta was done well - al dente - it was creamy and tasty but not overpoweringly so. Pesto flavoured, heavy yet light at the same time. I was very happy with my meal (except that it took an hour to get into my stomach).

Penne venetian - $9.90

Two of my other friends ordered a vitello capri risotto ($9.90 including a drink). Risotto for this price can not be perfect according to my friend, so she was happy with it even though it was a bit more soggy and a bit more runny and watery than she would have liked. I guess flavour-wise, it was decent. Unfortunately, one of my friends found a long brown hair in his risotto - and being asian, it was obviously not ours. When we informed the waiter of this, he was happy to take it off the bill. I'm sure my friend would have complained earlier if it was not for the fact that he was scared that he wouldn't be able to eat for another hour.

Vitello Capri risotto - $9.90

My partner ordered a spaghetti aglio oleo ($9.90 including drink). This was spaghetti with garlic, olive oil, sea salt flakes (aka salt), pepper, parsley, basil and chili flakes. It was flavoursome and spice-y but I don't know. It seemed to lack something. I preferred my creamy penne I think.

spachetti aglio oleo - $9.90

I didn't take a photo of my friends chicken salad. It came as a huge bowl and there was no major complaints about it so I can only assume that it was alright.

All up, service was a bit lacking, the decor was 'wannabe vintage', and the food was decent (except there may be hair in your food). Probably won't be returning unless I'm looking for a place to hang and kill time.

Food - 7.5/10
Service - 4/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Value for money - 8/10
Overall - 26.5/40

281-283 Church Street
NSW 2150
tel: (02) 9687 6880

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Taste of Shanghai - Eastwood

If you have read my blog for a while now, you would have realised that I love Shanghainese food. It's cheap, it's tasty, it's simply amazingly awesome.

The corner shop in Eastood on Rowe Street had changed management/restaurant ownership non-stop for a while now. This last restaurant - Taste of Shanghai - has been here for a few months. It's Ashfield counterpart is pretty yummy. I've also heard good ish reviews about this one and I was inclined to believe it... until I tried it for myself.

If you're looking for food in Eastwood - do NOT come here. I don't know if it was because we came here on a Monday, or if it was the time of the day that failed for us (3 ish pm) but everything was just wrong!

One of my favourite dishes is normally the Bean Starch with Shredded Chicken ($5). Normally, the noodles are thick, cold and chewy with an awesome slurpy smooth texture. This... well - the noodles were soooooo over-cooked and soggy that it was pretty much moosh. The sauce was watery and didn't taste like much. Not much chicken or cucumber involved. And one word describes it - YUK!

Bean Starch with Shredded Chicken - $5

My mum wanted the pan-fried pork buns ($9.80). These looked pretty poor in presentation - as though they were leftovers from lunch time (or worse, the day before). And instead of being pan-fried slowly, you could definately tell from the super hard crunch that the bottoms of the buns were just deep-fried (for convenience sake). Disappointing

Shanghai Style Pan Fried Pork Buns - $9.80

Another thing we ordered was the Egg Pancake with Deep Fried Dough Stick ($5.80). The deep-fried dough stick was obviously re-deep fried. There was hardly any egg involved and the floury pancake was WAAAAYYY too thick and WAAAYYY too tasteless. It was pretty bad - really.

Egg Pancake with Deep Fried Dough Stick - $5.80

Last but not least, the Pumpkin Pancakes ($7.80). Pumpkin on the outside, red bean paste on the inside and deep fried with sesame seeds sprinkled on top. My dad said it was decent. Appearance-wise, it again looked like leftovers re-heated.

Pumpkin Pancakes - $7.80

So all up - service was poor, food was slightly aweful, ambiance was OK and price? It wasn't the cheapest Shanghainese food in town. So yeh - DON'T come here (atleast not in non-lunch hours).

Food - 2/10
Service - 2/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Value for money - 5/10
Overall - 16/40

Taste of Shanghai
200 Rowe St
NSW 2122

Tel: (02) 9804 0388

Monday, November 29, 2010

Hong Ha Hot Bread - Mascot

What's making soooooooooooooo many people line up on Saturday (and every other day of the week too)? It's bread rolls. Not just any bread rolls but Hong Ha bread rolls.

Hong Ha Hot Bread

Now, when people generally get viet rolls for lunch (or dinner or a snack), most tend to get pork rolls. I think it's because people like variety and when you get pork rolls, you tend to get three different types of pork slices - along with the creamy white pork lard stuff they put on - compared to just chicken in the chicken rolls. And they're normally right - the pork rolls tend to be super tasty.

True anywhere - but at Hong Ha - the big deal is actually the chilli chicken rolls. My partner, who works at Qantas - really close to Hong Ha, vouches for these chilli chicken rolls - talks them up, and tells me that at their work, they do chilli chicken roll runs where they order hundreds of these rolls. So logically, I just had to make my partner take me here so I can experience what it's all about.

When we got there, line was already long! And alot of people in front of us ordered the Pork roll. But when 100s and 100s of Qantas staff have nothing but the chilli chicken rolls, well, we have to look at the bigger picture and go with the bigger majority. So a chicken roll I got.

Chilli chicken roll - $4.50

I was not dissappointed. The bread roll itself was super crispy, fresh and crunchy, but soft and fluffy inside. There was a whole heap of chicken, carrots, onions, tomato, a long slice of cucumber, and ofcourse - the taste of that lard stuff and that special sauce stuff that they put on top to make it all taste tip top awesomeness. And who can ignore that chilli? (Just me I guess as I got it with no chilli... but my partner's one was HEAPED with chilliness). All this with a drink for just $5.50 (or $4.50 with no drink).

So it tasted awesome, it was quick (once you got to the counter), and it was cheap. No wonder the hundreds of Qantas staff go for chilli chicken roll runs :P

Food - 9/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 6/10
Value for money - 8/10
Overall - 30/40

Hong Ha Hot Bread
1151 Botany Road
NSW 2020
tel: (02) 9667 2069

Saturday, November 27, 2010

North and South Gourmet - Carlingford

After church, my friends and I typically go to lunch. Lunch which starts around 2-3pm for around 20-40 people means that we often visit the food court at Carlingford Village. In particular, mostly all of my friends buy from ONE of the takeaways (the one on the right), and from experience, when there's an influx of that many people ordering at the same time, it often means that it takes more than half and hour before we get our food.

As such, my partner and I have recently switched tacts - we buy takeaway from North and South Gourmet and bring it back to the foodcourt to eat with our friends. As we're normally there after 2pm, it means that we're in time for afternoon tea sets - bargain~!

There is a choice of quite a few meals for a measly $6 with a drink. BUT - you add $1 for cold drinks and 50c for takeaway. So, that adds up to $14.50 for the two of us - two meals and two drinks - which is pretty decent. For this particular Sunday, my partner decided to order steamed rice noodle rolls with beef brisket whereas I opted for instant noodles with egg and sausages. Drink-wise, it's pretty averagely decent - my lemon ice tea and my partner's coffee with milk tea mix - both good.

iced lemon tea and iced coffee with tea mix

My partner's rice noodle roll (churn fun) with beef brisket looked slightly average. Presentation is poor but the beef briskets seem tender and there was enough sauce to tastify the noodle rolls.

rice noodle roll with beef brisket

My instant noodles with egg and sausages were likewise OK. It's not authentic instant noodles (Nissin ramen), nor is it authentic instant noodle soup base. But - for $6, I'll take it!

egg and sausage instant noodles

Food - 6.5/10
Service - 6/10
Ambiance - 6/10
Value for money - 8/10
Overall - 26.5/40

North & South Gourmet
Shop G2 Carlingford Village
372 Pennant Hills Rd
NSW 2118
tel: (02) 9871 2819

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Mission Restaurant and Bar - Chippendale

For an early Christmas dinner with old uni friends, we went to Mission Bar and Restaurant in Chippendale. My friend organised the private function - meaning a private upstairs room with art surrounding us (the Ng Art Gallery featuring Mariola Smarzak's work, Cantata). Lucky for us, our private dining room was slightly sound-proof in that the people downstairs are unable to hear the ruckus we were making :)

To start, we got warm flat lavosh bread with super yummy olive oil emulsion. The lavosh bread was suprisingly floury, but because it was warm and mixed really well with the olive oil, salt and pepper (or maybe, because I was hungry), I thought it was really pretty good.

lavosh bread with olive oil

On our function menu, we had a choice of either chicken liver parfait with caramelised eschallots and chargrilled bread (which I chose), or baby beetroot salad with roasted pecans, grapefruit and goats curd (which my partner chose). Some of my friends managed to get a third option of zucchini flower fritters. My chicken liver parfait was smooth and really rich. Not overly livery, it was subtly tasty - but only when slathered on the bread. Tasted better with the caramelised eschallots which adds a good balance to the whole thing. My partner's salad was pretty big - sure, not the most bling or flash, but I guess it was decently fresh and well seasoned.

chicken liver parfait with caramelised eschallots and chargrilled bread

baby beetroot salad with raosted peacans, ruby red grapefruit and goats curd

For the main, we had the choice of either a Chermoula baked blue eye trevella or a slow roasted lamb shoulder. My fish was cooked well - not too tough, it was still tender and seasoned well. It was sitting on top of a bed of pinenuts, raisins, parsley and preserved lemon curd. I loved the pinenuts, was ok with the parsley, and picked out all the raisins LOL. My partner's lamb was HUGEEEEEEE. It was lamb shoulder shredded with green cardamon, chilli and tahini. Didn't look appetising to me, but my partner said that it was good - just waaaaayyy too much of it :)

chermoula baked blue eye trevella with pinenuts, raisins, parsley and preserved lemon
slow roasted lamb shoulder with green cardamon, chilli and tahini

We had an interesting range of sides to share : green salad and rice. Nothing too exciting.

rice and salad

So the service was pretty good in that they didn't kick us out even with all the noise we were making. The ambiance was good. The food was decent. Overall - pretty good.

Food - 7.5/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 28.5/40

Mission Restaurant and Bar
3 Little Queen Street
NSW 2008
Tel:(02) 9318 0815