Monday, January 25, 2010

LIttle Italy - Blacktown

My friend is going to Canberra to work :(
However, she is coming back every weekend.
But even so - a farewell dinner was in order and it took place at Little Italy in Blacktown.

My friend who comes here a bit, always orders the SAME thing. I really ought to take it as a hint coz his dish was super super awesome looking. It was the Chicken Valdostana, a big chicken breast flamed in brandy and topped with cheese, ham, mushrooms and shallots ($19.90). It was also served with a chunk of broccoli and drenched with cream sauce. Mmm... he loved every bit of it and it looked super awesomeness!

Pollo Valdostana - $19.90

His girlfriend, who also orders the same thing every time ordered the Chicken Cara Maria. A chicken breast flamed in brandy with avocado, green peppercorns, bacon and prawns and again, drenched in cream sauce ($19.90). It likewise, looked super super awesome and she seemed to love it lots and lots and lots.

Pollo Cara Maria - $19.90

My Canberra going friend and I ordered the same thing - which came out looking very very different. We both ordered the Pollo pasta comprising of chicken pieces, baby spincah and mushrooms ($17.90). The difference is - I wanted cream sauce, she wanted tomato; I wanted fettuccine, she wanted penne. Hence, it seemed like two different pastas altogether. The similarities were there, however - both on the bland side (lacking salt salt salt!!!), needed more parmesan, and came in a huge huge huge huge serving that we both struggled and failed to finish.

Pollo Pasta - $17.90

In all, it seemed like a great Italian restaurant which served big portions of food at reasonable prices. Service was friendly and ambiance exudes family restaurant feel. Not bad at all.

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

Little Italy
Shop 7, Level 1, CBD Tower
28 Patrick Street
Blacktown (opposite Westpoint Shopping Centre)

NSW 2148
tel: (02) 9831 4000

Flying Fajita Sistas - Glebe

Dinner meetup with a couple of close friends - just to catch up - took place at Flying Fajita Sistas in Glebe. We booked a balcony table for 3 at 7.30pm (which we later found out was a big NONO).

Fajita Sistas offered a decent variety of interesting beers (some unavailable when you try to order them), cocktails and other alcoholic beverages. My friend decided on the Bohemia, a light rich lager which my she said was pretty good.

Bohemia - $7.00

We ordered a mixed platter entree to share ($23.90). It came on two plates, three dips with chips on each. There was guacamole, sour cream, pepian, salsa, queso fundido (ie. the one with melted cheese) and frijoles (ie. beans). It was an interesting mix of dips - some I favoured over others (eg. the green pistacio looking one was warm and no where near as appetising as the cold green guacamole one). What we learnt, however, was that we had to sit here and gobble up all the chips before the waiter comes to clean it up and give us our main. So yes - we were there chatting and chatting and chatting until the sun came down and we were sick of eating corn chips with dip.

Mixed Platter of guacamole, salsa, cream, pepian, queso fundido and frijoles - $23.90

For the main, we ordered the Sistas Double Fajitas ($45.90) to share between the three of us. We chose the chicken and chorizo for our fillings. The chicken was marinated well with herbs and lime which was then chargrilled till tender (and it was quite charred - you could taste the chargrill even though you can't really see it that well in the dark). The Chorizo was a little bit too spicy for my liking but had lots of lots of flavour (and again, chargrilled quite some). They were a bit stingy on the fajita wraps, however, giving us only 6 slices for a huge hotplate of meat. The fajitas also came with guacamole, sour cream and salsa, pineapple, jalapenos and very very little cheese, salad, black bean and rice. The very very little cheese made me a little sad (since I'm a cheese lover and would have loved to cover my whole fajita in cheese).

The Sistas Double Fajitas (chicken and chorizo) - $45.90

Other than the fact that they were stingy on the fajita wraps and the cheese, the fajita's actualy tasted pretty good. However, no matter how good the food tasted, my appetited was instantly stifled by the sighting of a HUGE HUGE COCKCROACH. Yes - I HATE insects, cockroaches especially. The fact that there seemed to be more than one crawling near our table and on the wall behind us really freaked me out to the point where I was sooooo relieved about leaving. Upon leaving, I had multiple intrusive thoughts about cockroaches - how I swear I heard one walking around in my bag, and how my leg seemed a bit itchy and I swear it was a cockroach crawling up. Luckily for me - cockroach did not follow me home.

Nonetheless, foodwise - it was okay, a bit pricey though. Service wasn't great. And I dislike eating next to cockroaches. Hence, probably won't be back - or if I have to be, I will like a table inside thankyou.

Food - 7.5/10
Service - 6/10
Ambiance - 1/10
Value for money - 5.5/10
Overall - 20/40

Flying Fajita Sistas
65 Glebe Point Road
NSW 2037
tel: (02) 9552 6522

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Ju-Rin - Crows Nest

Taking a brief break from our overseas eats...


SMH Favourite Asian Restaurant - Ju-Rin was the destination for our group of six. Needing to book a few days in advance and even then, ending up with a booking at 6pm (kicking us out by 8pm) - we were expecting good things from this place.

We decided to order a few things to share. For starters, there was the Green Salad with Wakame. This was amazingly fresh and the dressing was mixed just right - seemed almost tailored to our taste buds. Not too vinegary, not too sweet, not too salty, it was just right - complementing the fresh greens and delish wakame really really well.

Wakame and greens salad

We also ordered the Torched Salmon with Avocado Sauce. Instead of a "sauce", it was actually avocado pieces. The salmon pieces to flamed so that the outers were lightly charred and the insides were nice and rare. The seasoning (subtly sweet) and the avocado made for perfect match. The only qualm is that the slices were limited. Definately not enough of this yummy fish.

Torched Salmon and avocado sauce

The Premium Wagyu Karubi Box Sushi came out as 8 pieces. The beef was super tasty, teriyaki-like taste and beefy texture. As they were little pieces, the rice:beef proportion was done quite well.

Premium Wagyu box sushi

Next up were the Squid and Scallop Steamed dumplings. Three of these made a serving. This was interesting but I'm not entirely sure how much I liked it. The texture was mushy and "siu mai" like with a wierd wrinkled mushy skin. The innards were subtle. Very very subtly scallopy - almost too subtle. AND - you could chomp it in one bite - mmm... not enough.

Squid and Scallop Dumplings

The Tonkatsu (crumbed deep fried pork cutlet), on the other hand, was larger proportional-wise. Crunchy crumbed juicy tasty pork dipped in awesome mayo. YUM.


The Special Jumbo Roll was a blackboard special. It was really really jumbo. Even my partner needed 2 bites to swallow. Whilst awesomely huge, the sushi filling wasn't too exciting. Egg, avocado, marinated bamboo shoots and shitake, and bits of... eel? and flying fish roe. Tasty combination, large... but I much rather my awesome salmon and avocado :)

Special Jumbo Roll

We also ordered noodles with pork bits. The soup was slightly subtly chilli and tasty but not msg-like. The noodles were good - not too mush and not too undercooked. However, sharing one little bowl of noodles between the 6 of us were hard. Not a very sharable dish LOL

Pork Noodles

Last on our list were Salmon and Cream Spring Rolls. These were surprisingly awesome. Super tongue-burning hot, the creamy white paste mixed with bits of salmon oozed out of a crispy spring roll pastry which was deep fried til golden. Good inovation from the normal pork or vege based spring rolls.

Salmon and Cream Spring Rolls

Overall, the staff were friendly. They gave us room to chat and be loud. But were also attentive when we needed to add dishes. The proportions weren't overly large so for the price, you could probably get more food elsewhere. However, the quality of the eats was high - most dishes came out really yummy and appetising. Not a bad restaurant to return to, but not if we're trying to budget :)

Food - 8.5/10
Service - 7.5/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Value for money - 6.5/10
Overall - 29.5/40

316 Pacific Hwy
Crows Nest
NSW 2065
Tel: (02) 9966 5811

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Taillevent - Paris

In addition to our Paris eats, I believe that Taillevent deserves as special mention.

Being 2 Michelin Star restaurant in Paris, we booked for lunch a month in advanced - possibly for the most expensive lunch I've ever had.


Filled with experienced waiters who could converse in English, I don't think Taillevent can be beaten on service. Being addressed right from the door, our coats were kindly taken for us and my partner was subsequently suited up to match the decor of an expensive French restaurant (as seen in the cartoons and movies). We were escorted to our table and seated. Instead of pulling our seats out for us, the waiters pulled the table out. Every subsequent time we needed to get up from our table or to sit back down, our table was pulled for us. It took a bit to get used to. In addition to having our tables pulled for us, we were basically escorted to the bathroom the moment we started to rise from our seats to go exactly there LOL. Yes. We are talking super attentive staff who caters for every need.

For starters, we were offered cheesey puffs. These were fresh out of the oven, warm puffy balls tasting of cheese - no cheesey stringy bits inside but extremely cheesey tasting nonetheless. There were 7 of these awesome little puffs, but with their service, they made us take one each before placing the plate in front of us.

cheesy puffs

Also complementary to our meal was bread. Unlimited white or wholemeal freshly baked warm bread which was super crispy on the outside and super awesomely soft and fluffy on the inside. I believe my partner had around 6 or 7 of these awesome 2 michelin star breads with butter LOL.

Another complementary item was the amuse bouche of lobster asparagus soup. This was essentially a sweet lobster egg custard topped with awesomely warm creamy asparagus soup on top. Subtle and sweet, it was OMGly awesome! Words cannot describe. An asian table sitting next to us sat several kids - they described this as similar to the Japanese chiwanmushi. But they're sooo wrong. This is on a whole different level to a chiwanmushi.

amouse bouche - lobster egg custard with creamy asparagus soup

Taillevent's menu seems to change on a weekly basis. Three choices of entree, three mains, and two desserts. Below was our selection.

For entree, I opted for the ravioli de tourteau, cappucchino de crustaces. As lost as I was? From memory, the English speaking waiter informed me that it was crab ravioli with crustacean foam. I love foam. Seafoody crab tasting foam with little bits of flying fish roe? Love it even more. When eaten with sweet crab ravioli filled with seafood juices which just explode in your mouth? All the better. Delicious!

crab ravioli in crustacean foam

My partner had the Presse de poule faisane au foie gras. From my sketchy memory, this was a duck foie gras terrine. My partner is not a great fan of foie gras. Yet, he could not refrain from eating this. It was superbly deliciousness. Bits of pheasant and duck interlayered with foie gras, giving off a subtle, not-overpowering taste. Super yum smooth textured foie gras intermixed with thin meat and jelly. Mmm...

duck foie gras terrine

As a main, I ordered the gambas sautees au curry, au lait de coco et a la citron. This was sauteed large king prawns in creamy coconut curry lemon sauce. Even though the prawns aren't was awesome as what may be found in Sydney, the sauce made up for everything. It was so rich and so tasty. Delicious seafoody flavour flowing from the prawns complementing the potato base and sauce completely.

Curry coconut king prawn

My partner's leg of lamb also did not dissappoint. Gigot d'agneau des pyrenees aux saveurs orientales, or essentially, a leg of lamb cooked to perfection sitting a top of a pile of asian veges was very delicious-tasting according to my partner.

lamb leg with veges

After our mains, we were served with cheese. A rhombus of super creamy ossau iraty, confiture de cerises noires - that is, creamy creamy cheese topped with black cherry jam, balsamic vinegar tossed rocket and a crispy crisp. I don't know how they did it, but the cheese was just sooooooo good. Not too overpowering, yet a little stronger than brie, it was the perfect complement to the fresh bread rolls.

cheese with black cherry jam, rocket and crisp

After our cheesy break, we were served with our dessert. Both my partner and I ordered the tiramisu. This was coffee tasting marcapone cheese tasting slab of cake with a chocolate spongey cake bottom. It was quite exquisite - nothing less than what I would expect from a 2 michelin star restaurant. Mmm.


In addition to our great dessert, we were also served petit "fours" which was a plate of 5 little desserts - soft-centred chocolate cake with gold flake, passionfruit lemon tart, peanut crisp brittle, macaroon, and peppermint marshmellow. WOW. But I was sooooo full. My favourite of the plate was the peanut brittle. It was sweet, peanut flavour flowed throughout, and crispy and crunchy.

Petit "fours"

Overall, Taillevent did not dissappoint. Service was immaculate (so super attentive!!!). Flavours were awesome. Atmosphere very high class. And value for money? errr.... well... it is the most expensive lunch I have ever had - and possibly ever will have. Taillevent definately deserves their 2 michelin stars (if not all 3).

Food - 9.5/10
Service - 10/10
Atmosphere - 9.5/10
Value for money - 8/10
Overall - 37/40

15 Rue Lamennais
75008 Paris,
Tel: 01 44 95 15 01

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Eating our way through Paris

Paris - one of the most romantic cities in the world.
Except probably not when the city is packed with people - at the Eiffel Tower, at the Arch de Triomphe, at the Louvre... at everywhere really!

Lucky for us, we were able to coax some shop keepers into telling us where to find local, non-expensive yet delicious food. She suggested for us to try Rue Mouffetard. Hence, there is where we headed.

Walking down a street full of gourmet cheese, bread and wine shops as well as plentiful restaurants, we decided to enter Le Mouff'tot - a restaurant which offered set dinners for 15 euros and had a decent amount of customers already seated inside.

Le Mouff'tot

What I loved about French restaurants immediately was the ampliful unlimited amount of awesomely fresh warm bread which are crispy on the outside and wonderfully fluffily soft inside. What more, bread from French restaurants are always free!!! We could probably have just been full from bread and butter. But alas, a wonderful 3 course meal awaited us.


For the entree, my partner chose half a dozen snails in a wonderfully garlicy butter sauce. Mmm... the snails were black - which instantly stifled my appetite for them, but my partner swears that they were completely awesome and deliciousness.

Garlic butter snails

My entree choice was the fish soup. This was very very soupy and very very fishy. Importantly, it came with super crispy and crunch croutons, a bowl of parmesan and a bowl of something which looked like a wierd and foie gras orange coloured heap of gloop. This orangey substance tasted completely like balsamic vinegar. Hence, I concluded that this was clumpy balsamic vinegar LOL :)

Well, whatever it was, it was deliciousness! A bit of crouton, heaped with balsamic and then heaped again with parmesan and a slurp of soup on the side. YUM.

Fish Soup

Croutons with balsamic and parmesan

For the mains, my partner chose the confit de carnard (ie. a duck confit) with beans and potato. Duck confit is meant to be a leg of duck which is salt cured preserved then poached in its own fat, then kept and then wither grilled or fried til golden brown resulting in a super tender slab of duck and crispy duck skin. Unfortunately, whilst my partner's duck leg was super tender, the skin was not crispy... it was slightly flabby. Tasty though.

Confit de Canard

I ordered tagliatelle with salmon and basil. This poached fillet of salmon was OMG goodness. It was soooooooo soft and tender and tasty. Possibly the best fillet of salmon I've had yet. This salmon piece was topped with smooth creamy basilly sauce. Complementing it well was perfectly cooked al dente pasta. Mmm... yum.

Tagliatelle with salmon

Now for the dessert. My partner had a vanilla icecream with hot chocolate (turned cold) and cream. Simple looking yet a very delicious mix. I opted for the chocolate mousse. This larget square pyramid of chocolate mousse was soooooo rich and sooooo sweet. I think 3 spoonfuls of this was enough to do me in. Hence, I decided to finish my partner's dessert instead :)

Hot chocolate with vanilla icecream and cream

Chocolate mousse

On the way to the Pantheon (the Paris one), we found this little gelateria which offered gelato pastry puffs. Offering an awesome range of chocolates and gelatos, my I chose to have the pistaccio and 70% cocoa chocolate gelato in my pastry puff. Whilst it looked deliciousness, the pastry puff wasn't hot enough (especially since it was a really cold day). However, the gelato inside was quite delicious. Overall, it was interesting, but I think fried icecreams are better.

Gelato e Delizie D'italia

Gelato selection

Chocolate selection

Gelato pastry puff

Another place the store attendant said was good for eating (but slightly more pricey this time) was in the proximity of St Michel (close to Notre Dame). After wandering the streets and resisting the temptations of an awesome looking kebab loaded with chips, we settled for Lauberge St Severin.

Lauberge St Severin

Again, we were offered awesome bread to start with. Whilst the restaurant was a little dingy compared to our last French experience, the bread was still quite good.


For starters, we ordered the calamari and the mussels. Whilst the mussels were delicious and cooked in a delicious tomatoey based stock, the calamari was only so so. I guess that coming from Sydney, a placed imbued with wonderful seafood, our expectations of seafood quality in France and Italy ought to be lowered.


Mussels in tomato broth

For the mains, my partner chose a beef cooked in a creamy type of sauce and rice whilst I tried their duck confit. This duck was even more tender than previously - but the skin was just as dissappointing. Not crispy - just a fatty flab of skin.

Beef in creamy sauce with rice

Confit de Canard

Dessert-wise, we ordered the creme brulee and cheese platter. One thing about creme brulees in France and Italy is that the top is always flamed into crunch awesome toffee, a guarantee that cannot always be said for creme brulees in Sydney. The cheese platter, on the otherhand was good but not awesome. However, having lunched at Taillevent the previous day, my expectations of cheese was probably way too high.

Creme Brulee

Cheese Platter

Our last French meal took us back to Rue Mouffetard were we had our first experience of French fondue. Mine was a cheese and porcini mushrooms fondue served with bread whilst my partner ordered the beef fondue served with diced beef and potatoes.

La Grange

This was the first time I tried cheese fondue. My honest opinion of it? It was DELICIOUS! With a hint of alcohol, this cheesey mixture stuck to the pieces of bread that I dunked in - making it super cheesey stringy tasty bread. However, after around the 3rd piece, my whole body was already saying "no more!". It was sooooo rich and soooo filling! This French diet is probably not for me.

My partner's beef fondue was also interesting. A pot of boiling oil and a plate full of diced raw beef. Yum but soo sooo soooo unhealthy.

Bread for dipping


Diced raw beef

beef fondue

Cheese and porcini fondue

And that concluded our unauthentic French dining experience.
Why unauthentic? It was because our stomachs weren't huge enough.
French people start with an apperitive, appetiser, then an entree, a main, a dessert then coffee. Like our last meal, whilst my partner and I were fully stuffed with a fondue each, we weren't eating like the french do as we skipped the entree and we didn't order a dessert.

To us, eating like the Frenchies do was pretty much, mission impossible.