Monday, September 27, 2010

Bavarian Bier Cafe (3) - Parramatta

Catch up dinner with 2 friends was decidingly taking place at Bavarian in Parramatta. On a Monday night, it was reasonably quiet and so, it was a pretty good place to just chill and chat.

We decided to order two mains to share between the three of us... and just incase it wasn't enough, we ordered a large plate of salt and pepper squid to share too. The waitress also asked if we wanted bread or sides. It was only until we asked - "is that enough food" - did she say "more than enough". If only we knew how much food there was, we might have done away with the salt and pepper squid LOL

Anyway - the salt and pepper squid was light and tender and moist and juicy. Lightly battered and subtly dusted with salt and pepper. When eaten with a good dallop of garlic lime aioli and wrapped around lettuce (which was my poor attempt at making the dish healthier), it tasted pretty awesome! Salt and pepper squid can sometimes come out so wrong - but this one came out so right :)

Salt and pepper squid - $21 (L)

In terms of the mains, we ordered a munich brewers platter ($36.5 per person) for 2 people. This was ABSOLUTELY OMG HUGE! Huge chunk of pork belly with super crackly crackling and super moist pork meat sitting on top of red cabbage was pretty damn amazing. The porky fat flavour just oozed from the meat. Artery-clogging I'm sure. The chicken snitzel was also very tender and served slightly not enough herbed mayo. My friend's favourite was the char-grilled kassler which she decribed as "omg it's like a giant slice of ham" and she absolutely LOVES ham. She sauerkraut it was sitting atop was also pretty good. My favourite of the night was the mixed sausages - particularly the cheese kransky... Mmmm YUM! Loved the HUGE pile of mash sitting under it (until it got cold and got a little bit hard).

Munich Brewers Platter - $36.50 per person

So did we finish two plates of this plus our salt and pepper squid? Nope - but was gave it a good run for it's money. Next time though - we could probably do with one dish less.

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

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

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Waqu - Crows Nest


My partner chose to go to Waqu for dinner. We had been to Waqu before, before they moved up the road into a bigger and classier looking store. I remember that the old place was a bit cosier, but this new place bought along a very calm and peaceful ambiance - candlelit romantic and all.

Choice of food is limited - you either have a 6 course set menu ($60) or a 6 course set menu with extra entree ($75) so whilst they said that they are more than happy to accommodate for allergies and stuff, I highly recommend that you check out their menu before going to the restaurant (just incase!). One of three options are available for entree and for main. Other courses are pretty much set in stone.

Suprisingly, the restaurant wasn't full on a Saturday night. Our first course for the night was the japanese salt n pepper squid and chicken served with dashi mayo, and the tiger prawn escabeche on miso paint with crusted rosemary. I have to say - WOW. The salt and pepper squid and chicken was served in a shot-glass looking thing and was absolutely exquisite. Just the right amount of batter, the right amount of saltiness and pepperiness and absolutely tantilisingly tender. Eaten with a big dallop of dashi mayo - simply gorgeous! After being wowed by this skewer, the tiger prawn escabeche was a little plain - but still nice. The miso paint with crusted rosemary was delicious and crumby-like and the prawns were fresh but I'm not sure if the baby corn thingi went well with it.

Jap salt and pepper squid & chicken; tiger prawn escabeche

The soup for the night was the spring vegetable soup which features the humble pea. It was a cold soup - not too thick and not too watery. Extremely pea-flavoured, it bought along an interesting taste. However, cold soups are not for everyone.

spring vegetable soup

Included in the set menu is three kinds of sashimi. There was the trout, the tuna and... a white fish (I don't remember what it is! >.< - it wasn't king fish... I think maybe it was the sea bream). The trout was extremely good and in general, all were fresh. Delicately presented and the right thickness to it and all served with little beds of veges and seaweed.


In terms of Entrees, my partner chose the salad and crab mousse. The white sakura infused scallop and mousse was smooth but slightly thicker and denser than expected. However, it didn't have the intensity of flavour and was slightly bland. I don't think it went too well with the pink beetroot foam, but it was extremely yummy with the cauliflower puree which was very very rich and very very tasty which was hiding underneath the foam. On top of the mousse was the scallop (cooked perfectly) and the avocado which was also quite nice. Overall, I found this dish to be very delicate ... slightly too delicate and subtle. The textures were interesting... but maybe not entirely my cup of tea.

scallop and crab mousse

I opted for the roast duck and smoked oyster salad. This was three yummy clumps of thinly sliced succulent and awesomely marinated duck mixed with tiny cut cubes of japanese-tea smoked oysters, little bits of grapefruit and a "chlorophyll puree" - which I guess just means a puree made from green leafy things. It was tasty and yummy. The duck went well with the salad, which added an element of freshness. The chlorophyll paint was just for looks though - didn't add too much to the dish :)

roasted duck and smoked oyster salad

In terms of mains my partner chose the shoga Kurubuta pork loin and rib. As the pork was slow-cooked at 65 degrees celcius, the waitress kindly informed us that "it is not very hot". Interesting because from eavesdropping a little, "it is not very hot" seems to turn people off from ordering this dish. The pork itself is nice, it's tender and succulent, but unfortunately, by itself, it doesn't taste too amazing. A little bit bland even. However, taste improved dramatically when eaten with the ginger jus or apple puree (though not both together LOL). There is also a small roasted rib of pork next to it and this is the most amazing, fall off the bone experience. I only wish the proportions were switched around. The rib is very very tender and flavoursome. YUM. The prok is accompanied by little pineapple-shaped bamboo shoots, zucchini and sauteed shiitake mushrooms.

shoga kurobuta pork loin and rib

I opted for the white fish for my main. The yellowish sauce underneath was Yuzu emulsion. The fish was cooked well, though the skin was not as crispy as I would have liked it to be. The squiggle of paint was nori (seaweed) and it was SOOOO seaweedy it was kind of scary. Seaweed and fish do work well though :) I got tricked by the chamame mash potato. I was expecting a heap of mash - only to be met with tiny blobs the size of a pea. It did look kind of nice though - blobz of mash with tiny peas and home-made chips.

panfried white fish

Dessert for the night was strawberry mousse. This came with two tiny little cute macaroons, strawberry jelly circles, pink pepper puree and cheese ice-cream. I was very impressed by the mousse. Super strawberry infused and when mixed with the strawberry shortcakey biscuity crumbs, it was deliciousness!!! The macaroons were light and sweet but not overpoweringly so. And I was definately impressed by the cheese icecream. A bit dense, but intense cheese flavour. Also, because it's cheesey icecream, it wasn't one to melt easy - bringing ice cold goodness to your mouth. The thing I didn't appreciate was the pepper puree. Ugh - sooooo peppery, don't know why anyone would need it in a dessert LOL.

strawberry mousse, macaroon, pink pepper puree, strawberry jelly, cheese ice cream

Overall, Waqu's standard did not go down even after moving premises. Here, it is delightlyfully dim - good for a romantic rendezvous, the food is good (providing you eat everything on the menu), and the staff are authentically jap (or atleast some are - which is good or bad depending on if you want authenticity, or if you want understandability). Not a bad feed though :)

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

308 Pacific Highway
Crows Nest
NSW 2065
tel: (02) 9906 7736

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Christopher's Cake Shop (2) - Mascot

Christopher's cake shop

We were around Mascot area on the weekend and having tasted their Baklava's not long ago, I was begging for us to swing around Christopher's for a sugar hit.

For a Saturday afternoon, there was still a decent selection of cakes left. I took my pick - the Duchess. The way the girl behind the counter described it sounded like, "chocolate with chocolate with bits of biscuits throughout then covered with chocolate". Sounded good to me! LOL

Duchess - $4.10

The cake sounded so tempting that I decided to dig into it whilst my partner was driving (hence, the photo was taken in a moving car).

The cake was deliciousness! Chocolate fudge consistency with small spongy biscuits throughout then covered with more belgium chocolate. It was sweet but not overly so (or might be okay because I'm a chocoholic). However, it was a bit dense. It tooke me two sittings to polish it off. Definately an indulgent kind of cake but probably well worth all the calories. Wedding diet? Pshhht. What wedding diet? LOL

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

Christopher's Cake Shop
1213 Botany Road
NSW 2020
Tel: (02) 9667 0300

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sushi Bar Rashai - Annandale

I drive past Parramatta Road quite a bit and every time I pass Sushi Bar Rashai I get quite intrigued. I get intrigued by the slightly bad English plastered on their window - "Bit slow but friendly" and "If you do not enjoy your meal - it's simple you don't pay". Interesting. For a restaurant to be putting their service speed down. AND for a restaurant to be so confident and bold about how awesome their food is they're willing for you to not pay for the meal... Has to be worth a try, right?

As my partner and I stepped into the restaurant, albiet super early for dinner, the first thing that caught my eye was all the "reserved" signs... on almost every table. The lesson to be learned here? Call up to book in advance. Lucky for us, as we were so early, they offered us a seat anyway.

Seated, we are met with a double-sided A3 size menu as well as a 'chef's special'. The food is okay-ishly priced and the dishes are just your ordinary average ones. Hence, we chose our ordinary average options.

The seaweed salad ($6.80) was just like every other seaweed salad. Marinated, sesame oiled and a hint of chilli throughout. Love seaweed salad - so quite pleased with this.

seaweed - $6.80

We also ordered the tofu salad ($9.80). We anticipated that we'd like the salad dressing and hence, opted for their "extra sauce" option. This came out as a nice and big plate of fresh bean curd with fresh greens. Their salad dressing was pretty awesome. Lots of onion with vinegar to make a dull brownish yellowish semi thick semi liquid paste which complements the greens and the tofu triangles really really well.

tofu salad - $9.80

Last but not least, we ordered the small party sushi and sashimi combination ($42.80). The presentation of this did not wow us by any amount. Meh - ordinary looking, nothing special. HOWEVER, the freshness of the sashimi DID manage to wow us. The salmon was awesomely awesome! Thickness was just right and regardless of whether they seared and flamed it a bit or whether it came natural or even in the sushi roll, it was creamy and super fresh. The other sashimi (tuna, kingfish, scallop) was likewise, very fresh and appetising. If only they fixed up the presentation of the platter ...

party sushi and sashimi combination (small) - $42.80

So overall, the restaurant is quite decent. Yes- we did end up paying for the meal and surprisingly, for a restaurant which claims slightly slow service, our dishes came out in no-time (but friendliness is to be questioned). Next time, though, I think we'd better book :)

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

Sushi Bar Rashai
241 Parramatta Road
NSW 2038
Tel: (02) 9560 3007

Monday, September 20, 2010

Danks Street Depot - Waterloo

Danks Street Depot

Our first visit to Danks Street Depot was many many years ago now. Back before all the hype and even before they renovated and expanded. Back then, the coffee was awesome, the food was great AND the price was good. Now? Well, the food's still pretty good, coffee's still pretty good and the price has just gone up a notch. Inflation, right? LOL

cappuccino - $4

Anyway, I ordered a cappuccino ($4) and my partner followed suit - which is odd because he normally orders the bowl of coffee and not the regular size ($5). When I questioned him about it after, he said that he forgot - shows how long we had not been here for. Nonetheless, the coffee here is still good and smooth and creamier and richer than most other cafes.

Poached Eggs with Hash - $19

For our spur of the moment brunch, my partner decided on the poached eggs with has ($19). This consists of 2 perfectly poached eggs served with herbed tomato, bacon hash (or silverbeet hash) and a slice of sourdough toast. I don't know why, but when the order came out, the waitress said that the missing poached egg will come out shortly - interesting that they didn't wait for the whole dish to be completed before bringing it out. The bacon hash is really big chunks of braised-ish pork, super tender, with herbed roasted potatoes. Back in the day, the has bit of this dish was MASSIVE. I guess fame and inflation takes it's toll. Nonetheless, it was still very yummy indeed.

Chicken Sandwich - $15.50

I'm a huge fan of their creamed eggs (it used to be super super super yummy) but for this day, I opted for something different - the chicken sandwich ($15.50). Looking extremely simple and plain, it had a pretty awesome description attached - "biodynamic" chicken which is stuffed then roasted, mixed with roasted corn and mayo and rocket salad, all served on a rustic loaf. Honestly, the sandwich was pretty damn awesome. The chicken was really tender and tasty, the corn was super sweet and mixed with just the right amount of mayo. The rocket was also fresh and completed the whole sandwich well.

Jared Ingersoll with his family was also at the store that day so before we left, we decided to say hi! He asked for our names as well - but chances are, he would've forgotten about us before he had the chance to sit down to his brunch.Kekeke... but seriously, he seemed like a pretty casual friendly guy. And his cafe has still kept its food quality after all these years :)

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

Danks Street Depot
1/2 Danks Street
NSW 201
Tel: (02) 9698 2201

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tom n Toms - Sydney

Tom n Toms

Ever passed by the Starbucks look-alike but in red writing... AND it says "Tom n Toms" rather than Starbucks... It's apparently a popular Korean coffee joint and since my last Korean coffee experience was actually quite good and my partner has high reviews of this coffee, I decided to give it a shot.

I ordered my Mocha and my partner ordered his Capp. Although still not as creamy smooth as I would have liked it, I have to say, it was actually a decent coffee. They also offer a variety of pretzels but because we were rushing off to a dinner date after, food was not on the menu for today.

Coffee - takeaway :)

In all, I think that the coffee here is decent - well worth a return visit. Give it a go if you're up for the Korean franchised westernised coffee :)

Drink - 7/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 28/40

Tom n Toms
97 Bathurst St
NSW 2000
tel: (02) 9267 9989

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Grill'd (6) - Darlinghurst


Ok - so after our many failed attmpts at chips with herbed mayo from Grill'd in Sydney outlets, I had decided to put it all aside and try out the newish branch in Darlinghurst ... only to be dissappointed once again *sighz*

For a late lunch, my partner ordered his usual - the 'Almighty' ($12.50). We've got the beef patty, the cheese, bacon, egg, beetroot, salad, relish and herbed mayo. The whole lot on panini bread. Crazy huge but I think my partner thought it was OK.

the 'Almighty' - $12.90

I ordered the 'Simon Says' ($11.90). Chicken, almost non-existant avocado, bacon, salad, relish and herbed mayo, on again, my chosen panini bread. I found my gourmet burger to be really rather heavy. Extremely extremely filling but I would have prefered a bit more avocado and a bit more herbed mayo. However, to give an honest opinion, my burger was pretty decent.

'Simon Says' - $11.90

Now, the subject of my complaint is yet again, the chips ($4.30 + 70c for sauce). I don't get it~! Is it the oil we have in Sydney or the potatoes? Or is it just the people who cook it? The chips here are almost never golden brown - normally burnt or ugly looking. And also, they are odd shapes and sizes. SOOOO different from what I know from Grill'd joints in Melbourne. *sighz* I need to go back to Melbourne I think.

Regular chips - $4.30 (+ 70c sauce)

I think I've had enough of Grill'd in Sydney - for REAL Grill'd, go to Melbourne. For some odd reason, the Grill'd in Darlinghurst is also unlicenced!?!?!?!

Food- 7/10
Service - 6/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 27/40

314 Victoria St
NSW 2010
Tel: (02) 9331 6562

Monday, September 13, 2010

Azafran Tapas - Surry Hills

Azafran Tapas

My friends moved to Surry Hills not long ago and as Eatability can tell us, there are many many places to eat in this vicinity. For this particular night, we had decided on Azafran Tapas, a small cozy Spanish eatery.

We had decided on 7 plates to share between the 4 of us with a selection of seafood, vege and meat dishes.

One of my favourites of the night was the kingfish ceviche ($18). The citrusy cured kingfish was piled on top of a layer of blood orange chunks with another layer of avocado salad underneath. Blobs of pickled cucumber and crab meat decorated and artified the dish. In all, I found this really fresh and really refreshing. Whilst there was subtle sourness from the citrus and the pickled cucumber, a certain tanginess, and sweetness from the seafood bits which may actually sound like an odd mix of flavours, it worked really quite well together.

Kingfish ceviche - $18

Another dish was the Jamon Serrano aged 18 months with extra virgin olive oil drizzled on top ($12). The dry cured ham was thin but bought along with it quite an intense flavour hit. What I would have liked is perhaps some breadsticks with this LOL.

Jamon Serrano aged 18 months - $12

There was also the potato sofrito ($10). Chunks of potatos intermixed with roasted tomato and mushy red capsicum and finely diced spanish onion. The glob on top was smoked paprika and saffron aioli. This was pretty average - just potatoes with aioli, a combination which can't really go wrong.

Potato sofrito - $10

Another winner for the night was the scallops ($21). Presented nicely, the scallops were cooked to perfection. Lightly seared on both sides but definately not overcooked or rubbery. The other round thing next to is was the smoked chorizo. It was quite a good thickness for a good bite of chorizo. On top of the beautifully cooked scallop was the red pepper confit. The scallop and the chorizo were both sitting on top of a dallop of corn puree. Mmm... deliciousness!

seared scallops with corn puree - $21

Another dish we ordered was the pan fried garlic and sherry wild mushrooms ($9). A mix of different mushrooms made it interesting, with some mushies being more intensely flavoured than others. But all in all, the mushrooms were pretty ordinary.

pan fried garlic and sherry wild mushrooms - $9

Dish number 6 was the leek and manchego cheese croquettes ($15). Four golden brown mushy cheesey croquettes sat on top of stringy apple and celery. Drizzled on top was a cider vinaigrette. Interestingly mushy, the leek taste was really really subtle but the apple salad was a huge shout out and slightly overpowering.
leek and manchego cheese croquettes - $15

The last and biggest plate of the night was the lamb tasting plate ($29). This was a huge plate of a trio of lamb stuff (yes - I don't eat lamb). There was the braised lamb shank filo cigar on one end with some small yoghurty looking paste on top, the lamb cutlets with a bed of warm eggplant and tomatoish salad on the other end, as well a a roast lamb loin with chorizo coins in the middle. My company said that it was OK. I guess that means unspectacular?

lamb tasting plate - $29

For dessert, we opted for their blackboard specials - 3 scoops of gelato or icecream for $10. There were 5 flavours to choose from - the chestnut, strawberry and red wine, pineapple and orange blossom, poppy flower and olive oil. Olive oil?!?!?! Well, we had to try. We ordered all the flavours between the 4 of us. The olive oil icecream tasted kind of like the asian white rabbit lollies mixed with honey. Not olive-oil-like much at all. The poppy flower was also nice but again, just a smooth sweet flavour. The pineapple and orange blossom one was one of the best gelatos of the lot. Refreshing and refreshing and refreshing. The pineapple flavour was the one which stood out. Mmm... yum. The chestnut flavour was also quite good. However, it was really really chestnutty. Crazy chestnutty with chestnut bits and crunchy toffee chunks throughout. Intense chestnut flavour. The last but not least was the strawberry and red wine gelato. This was very strawberry flavour but it wasn't too awesomeness.

trio of icecream and sorbet - $10

In all, this Spanish restaurant was small but cozy. Food was good and interesting - better than most other Spanish tapas places I think. Definately should give this place a try - especially the scallops and kingfish. YUM :)

Food - 8.5/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 7.5/10
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 30/40

Azafran Tapas
555 Crown St
Surry Hills
NSW 2010
Tel: (02) 9319 2976

Monday, September 6, 2010

Shanghai Chef Kitchen - Parramatta

Shanghai Chef Kitchen

Looking for a quick bite after church. Looking at the clock ... yes - it is 2pm. Deciding to go cheap, we decided to dine at Shanghai Chef Kitchen in Parramatta.

All the normal stuff is here. Decor and ambiance is pretty plain. There are lots of people coming in and out to buy takeaway Shanghainese small eats and buns. To join the fun, I decided I wanted some small eats too! There's stuff like pig ears and tea eggs and marinated fish and braised duck in sweet sauce and lots lots more! Being half Shang, small eats are right up my alley and I decided to get half a plate of sweetened braised wheat gluten (tofu ish bits) with mushrooms and bamboo shoots, and half a plate of seaweed ($5.80). Mmm... yum!

Shanghainese small eats - $5.80 / plate

My partner picked to have the usual steamed pork buns ($4.80) and the pan fried pork buns ($4.80). Both dishes had 6 to them - and for $4.80, it was slightly bargain. However, the quality is far from top notch. The bun layer is thick and doughy - both on the steamed and the pan fried buns. The steamed buns are still juicy inside, but the meat is different from normal - a bit more fatty than usual I think. Likewise, the meat to bun ratio on the pan fried ones are also not quite right.

Shanghai steamed pork dumplings - $4.80

Pan-fried pork bun - $4.80

So, whilst this place is really quite bargain, the food itself isn't the greatest. Good for the snacks though - so just come and get stuff from the bar :P

Food - 5/10

Service - 6/10

Ambiance - 6/10

Value for money - 8/10

Overall - 25/40

Shanghai Chef Kitchen
131 Church Street

NSW 2150
Tel: (02)
9687 4332

Elevate European Grill - Parramatta

Elevate European Grill

It's rare that I have time for a leisurely weekend brunch, so when I do - it's such an AWESOME feeling. This particular non-working Saturday, my friends and I found ourselves looking for brunch on Church Street in Parra. The first decent place we came across was Elevate.

We quickly ordered our coffee and food. Unfortunately, the quickness was unreciprocated. Whilst the coffee came out at a reasonable time (albiet, with latte instead of my friend's order of flat white), the food took forever and ever and ever...

My mocha was average. I can only guess that my partner's Capp was likewise. Still don't get it - something wrong with Sydney coffee. Or maybe jsut my perception of Sydney coffee. It just feels more watery and less smooth and creamy. Maybe I'm secretly destined to be a Melbournian LOL

Mocha - $3.80

Cappuccino - $3.80

My friends ordered Elevates Mediterranean breakfast ($18.90) and the Wagyu beef burger ($15) to share . The Mediterranean breakfast was massive! It comprised of a small pile of pan fried kalamata olives, some roasted capsicum, two long grilled italian sausage, an omelette as well as pan-seared haloumi cheese wrapped in bacon. This was served with two toasted slices of panne di casa bread. My friends seemed to enjoy this much and it definately looked appetising. Very much huge though.

Elevates Mediterranean breakfast - $18.90

My friends also gave the wagyu beef burger thumbs up. A thick patty of wagyu beef mince, melted cheese, mixed lettuce, tomato slices and sweet caramelised onions. This was served on a soft dinner roll with home-made dijon mustard and aioli sauce drizzled on top. Mmm... looked appetising :)

Gourmet Wagyu beef burger - $15

My partner took the opportunity to order the Spanish omelette ($12.90). This pretty much had everything I don't eat in it - eggplant, semi-dried tomato, chorizo sausage, mushrooms, and shallots. I didn't try it, but my partner polished it off so either he was hungry, or it was nice ... or both. This was served with toasted bread.

Spanish omelette - $12.90

I was tossing up between the eggs florentine and the Wagyu sausages and eggs on toast. In the end, I opted for the latter because Wagyu sausages seemed more novel ($12.90). The Wagyu sausages were made with wagyu and basil. Grilled and slightly a bit dry, but it was loaded with beef aromas. Very extreme beefiness. Eggs were made however I liked and on this particular day, scrambled was how I liked them. Scrambled creamy eggs. Mmm... deliciousness! :P

Wagyu sausages and eggs on toast - $12.90

So overall, the food here was pretty good. However, you really have to be extremely leisurely to dine here. It took roughly 45 mins before the food arived so if you're in a hurry choose elsewhere :)

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

Elevate European Grill
312 Church St
NSW 2150
tel: (02) 9633 4099