Monday, May 27, 2013

Temasek - Parramatta

I was crazily craving a good prawn mee - so much so that I was almost willing to fly to Singapore/Malaysia just for a good bowl. Luckily, hubby whisked me off to Temasek just in time to save thousands in traveling costs.There was a bit of a line for this busy Sunday lunch but we waited patiently and was rewarded handsomely with super yummy hainanese chicken rice and my beloved prawn noodle soup (har mee).

Hubby's chicken was really tender and tasty. The skin was silky smooth with just a thin layer of jellied fat underneath it. The rice was flavoursome but not too crazily oily which was good.
hainanese chicken rice
My prawn noodle soup was absolutely heavenly! The prawn stock was really really rich and packed full of seafoody prawn-shelly flavour. The hokkien/thin rice noodle mix helped soak up the delicious broth making for a crazy yummy meal. The king prawns in it were also good - but as the soup was soooo good, I probably would have been satisfied without them.
Har Mee - prawn noodle soup

I have a feeling that there will be plenty of har mee excursions to Temasek coming up for me in the future.

Food - 9/10
Service - 6/10
Ambiance - 6/10
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 28/40

71 George Street
NSW 2150
Tel: (02) 9633 9926

Friday, May 24, 2013

Kepos Street Kitchen - Redfern

One of my colleagues has been telling me how awesome this cafe on Kepos Street was - good coffee, good food, good vibe - how could I resist but give it a try? Arriving around 11am ish, there was already a line and a wait of around half an hour for a table of two. And so we chilled around, looked at the other enticing cafes around until we were called back to get our table.

Being seated outside, it was quite a chillaxy vibe. Sunshine and smiles all round. We ordered coffees (which was coffee from the Grounds at Alexandria) which were quite good - both the latte and the flat white.
Foodwise - we made it there in time for their breakfast menu. Hubby ordered the soft baked eggs ($15). This was a small tajine with two soft baked eggs and tomato shakshuka, served with a small pot of coriander tah on the side and crunchy toast. I was a little undecided about his dish. I think we've had better versions of this in Melbourne at Cumulus Inc. This one was a bit watery and less flavoursome. The coriander tah was deliciously fresh tasting though!
soft baked eggs - $15

I ordered the zucchini fritters ($18). This was served in a cute little frying pan - two zucchini fritters with smoked salmon, poached eggs and dill. First few bites was delicious... then I felt a little egg overload.
Zucchini fritters with smoked salmon - $18
I think that overall, we weren't super impressed by Kepos Street Kitchen. We preferred the food at Reuben Hills (Surry Hills) but I can see how this Mediterranean style food can appeal.

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

Kepos Street Kitchen
96 Kepos Street
NSW 2016
Tel: (02) 9319 3919

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Lynn's Shanghai Restaurant - Sydney

We went to Lynn's Shanghainese Restaurant one evening and we really really wanted their Peking Duck special (only $28.80 on Mondays and Fridays). Unfortunately, for the two of us, there was absolutely no way we could eat a WHOLE DUCK and a main dish (which is their criteria for the special). And so, we had to settle for the other yummy sounding dishes on the menu.

We ordered a crispy smoked fish ($9.80) as I was really missing the Shang-style 'fun yue' that my uncle (which is Shanghainese) used to make for me. Unfortunately for me, this smoked fish offered something completely different to my uncle's version. This was crispy skinned fish with a thick sweet sauce. It was OK... but I still miss my uncle's type.
Crispy smoked fish - $9.80
 We also ordered a braised pork in soy sauce hot pot ($19.80). The pork belly was tender and the sauce was sweet and quite nice. I quite liked the egg in the hot pot too. However, I must admit, the picture made it look more awesome than it really was.
 Braised pork in soy sauce hot pot - $19.80
I don't know why I do this. I get disappointed every time I order steamed vegetable dumplings ($7.80) and yet, every time I see it on the menu, I really want to order it. Alas, I again fell for the trap - ordered it, and was disappointed.
steamed vegetable dumplings - $7.80
A bit better than the steamed vege dumplings was the Shanghai steamed crab meat and pork bun ($11.80). The dumpling pastry was paper thin yet was elasticy enough to not rip when touched with chopsticks. The pork was tasty but the hint of crab meat was really subtle - almost undetectable. Can't compare this with dumplings from overseas, but for Sydney standards, I guess it's not bad.
So whilst I was super excited about trying out Lynn's, I was a bit disappointed. The service was crazily slow - close to impossible to flag down a waitress - and the food was average. May come back for the peking duck special...maybe.

Food - 6.5/10
Service - 5/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Value for money - 6.5/10
Overall - 25/40

Lynn's Shanghai Restaurant
199 Castlereagh Street
NSW 2000
Tel: (02) 9267 7780

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Pie Tin - Newtown

I'd read about this amazing pie place in Newtown filled with a crazy range of sweet and savoury pies. Tucked away just off the main street, when we stepped into this humbly pie shop, the place was packed out! There was pretty much no way we could eat in. And so, we took the next best option - takeaway please!
The pies here can be served with two sides (salads, mushy peas) or fries for $11, or a pie by itself from $5.80-6.80. The sweet pies a little more dear ranging from $7.50-10.50. As we were just getting a snack for takeaway, we chose one sweet and one savoury.

The savoury pie we opted for was the slow roasted beef brisket, hickory smoke and mushrooms. This was crazily dense. A thick pie with TONS of super soft and tender beef brisket. It was zomg soooo filling! So much beef brisket was encased - really really tasty, just a bit smoky, and just bits of mushroom inside. The pastry was a bit thicker than I would have liked, but I guess that any less pasty and the pie would collapse due to having too much beef.

I went for the gooey caramel and choc ganache pie for the sweet finish. Zomg it was intense! The choc ganache was super smooth and really quite chocolatey. The gooey caramel was also deliciousness! Perfect marriage between the chocolate biscuity/brownie ish base, sweet sweet caramel, and smooth chocolate ganache. Amazing! but definitely way too rich to eat it by oneself.
I think we'll have to definitely return. There were tons more sweet and savoury options that I really really wanted to try!

Food - 9/10
Service - 6.5/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 29.5/40

Pie Tin
1 Brown Street
NSW 2042
Tel: (02) 9519 788040

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Mary's - Newtown

The humble burger and fried chicken. Perfect combo no?

Mary's is a new ish hip bar in Newtown. It's slightly hidden with no sign on the entrance. It's hidden on Mary St and the entrance looks like you're entering some dingy place. And when you walk in, it's cool, it's dark, and it's grungy. People are chilling out, drinking beer and eating fried chicken from super early in the morning.
But the main reason why we came here was for the burgers - although the fried chicken and potato & gravy look super duper tempting (note to self: must come back to try). We were looking for a burger that emulated Shake Shack burgers from NYC - so after being seated, we got the cheeseburger ($14) and the Mary burger ($14)
Hubby decided to get 'trashcan bacon' in his cheeseburger. The name 'trashcan bacon' is meant to be derived from the way the bacon is smoked and prepared. The bun of the burger was soft, and the meat juicy. Apparently, for the patty, they use 2 parts chuck to 1 part brisket and 1 part rump - which results in flavoursome, tender and juicy beef. Slathered with bbq sauce and with a melty cheese slice chucked in the mix, the burger was small but really tasty.
I actually preferred my Marys Burger more. It was essentially the same except with lettuce and tomato in it. Also, instead of bbq sauce, it had their "special sauce". All up - it was succulent, juicy and awesomely tasty. Mmm... YUM. The fries which came with the burgers were golden and crisp. Salted well and super crunchy. Even better than freshly cooked Maccas fries (and I have a soft spot for Maccas fries).
So all up, this place is pretty cool.I guess the all-stars team behind the good food (and bar) helps - with Jake Smyth (ex-Bodega), Kenny Graham (ex-Porteno's bar), and Luke Powell (ex-head Tetsuya chef). Next time I come, I think I'll drag along a few more people so that we can have the burger AND the delicious-looking fried chicken and super smooth potato and gravy :) Mind you, leave a little more time - service is quite slow (I imagine they'll try and smooth that out as time goes along).

Food - 8.5/10
Service - 6/10
Ambiance - 7.5/10
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 29/40

6 Mary Street
NSW 2042

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Riverview Hotel - Balmain

We decided to eat out at Riverview Hotel one night. Unfortunately, at night, there was definitely no riverviews in Balmain - nothing but pitch-blackness. For this Sunday night, there was a decent small crowd at both the bar and the restaurant bits of this hotel.

Being seated, I have to say, service was a little lacking. I don't think they intentionally lacked smiles, but I didn't feel very warmed or welcomed. Sourdough was served with butter to start. Nothing great but nothing bad about the bread.
sourdough bread
We decided to share in entree of scallops and beef cheek ($20). The scallops were cooked well and the beef cheeks - though tiny - was quite melt-in-your-mouth and wrapped in crispy pastry. There was some pumpkin puree and some radish on the side too. Was quite tasty but not really WOW.
scallop and beef cheeks - $20
We also decided to share a potato pizza bread ($14). This was thinly sliced potatoes on a thin and crispy base with white anchovy and bits of rosemary sprinkled on top. I liked this quite a bit. It's not smack-bang full of flavour but it's subtly nice and delicious.
potato pizza bread - $14
Hubby wanted to order their black angus scotch fillet. Unfortunately, because it was Sunday, they said that they don't serve it - they only serve their Sunday roast. This was an angus roast with roasted veges and yorkshire pudding. The  beef was served medium rare and really tender. The veges were hearty and the yorkshire pudding not bad. Not a bad dish really.
Sunday Roast
I opted for the Cone Bay barramundi ($33). The skin was scored and super crispy skinned. Cooked quite well in my opinion. I also liked the fennel puree. However, the rest of the stuff - ie. the vinegared tomatoes was wayyy too over-the-top vinegary. Venturing towards the inedible side.
barramundi - $33
Last but not least, we couldn't pass on the hand cut chips ($10). This was deliciousness! Crispy skinned big chunks of soft potato, super awesomely seasoned with rosemary salt, and then dipped in delicious aioli. LOVED it! (hint: need to eat it when hot - coz when it becomes cold, it loses all the crispiness)
hand cut chips - $10
We had no room for dessert and nothing on the dessert menu really piqued my interest. Hence, we passed on it.

Food - 7.5/10
Service - 6.5/10
Ambiance - 7.5/10
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 28.5/40

Riverview Hotel Restaurant
29 Birchgrove Road
NSW 2041
Tel: (02) 9810 1151 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Galileo Restaurant - Sydney

I've been eyeing Galileo restaurant for a while now. I've seen it on a few blogs and the photos make the food look deliciousness. So when hubby booked this restaurant to celebrate our wedding anniversary, I was super excited. However, there were a few blunders in the beginning - they didn't have our booking... Luckily, there were spare tables anyway and we were seated before too long.

After making our choice of opting for the degustation menu, we were served with super fresh warm toasty bread rolls. But, we had to ask for the butter as they had forgotten :( We butter arrived, the bread became heavenly once again - crunchy on the outside, warm and fluffly on the inside.
warm fresh bread rolls
The amuse bouche was a smoked oyster served with sauerkraut and watercress. It was actually a good combination. The sauerkraut tasted well balanced and quite fresh, as with the watercress. The oyster, though small, was tasty, slippery and nicely creamy.
amuse bouche - sauerkraut with smoked oyster and watercrest
The first official course was the ocean trout and crispy balmain bug with a small pile of cucumber puree, tiny flavoursome bits of duck prosciutto and beetroot thins. I enjoyed this quite a lot. The trout was perfectly melt in your mouth and the bug was gently crispy and subtly sweet. At first, I had no clue what the little black bits were... just tasty little crunchy things that went well with both the fish and the bug.
ocean trout and balmain bug
The next course was yellow fin tuna - two ways. Tuna in Sydney is almost always a disappointment (esp when compared to the super fatty tuna you get in Japan) and unfortunately, my suspicions were confirmed. They certainly tried though - the seared cube was cooked well and the tartare bit was sweet too.
yellow fin tuna
They redeemed themselves with the next course. Barramundi is a fish readily available fresh in Sydney and the fish on my plate proved it. Perfectly cooked. Absolutely gorgeous and served in a pool of lettuce butter (butter lettuce veloute). There's also bits of mussel and croutons in it.
Barramundi with butter lettuce veloute
The palate cleanser for the night was a raspberry granita. I don't usually eat raspberry so I didn't expect to like this, but I actually did enjoy the freshness and lightness of this granita.
respberry granita
The main protein for the night was the Tajima beef tenderloin. Amazingly tender beef, super tasty too. It was served with heirloom tomato, moist and soft piquillo pepper, parmesan crusted asparagus (which was amazing! I think I'll cook my asparagus this way from now on too), and globs of natural jus. Definately not bad.
beef tenderloin
We also went for one portion of the optional cheese plate and thankfully so cos the cheese was really really yum! There was a cheddar, a gorgonzola and... something else (don't remember >.<). All three were appetising and worth the extra fat/calories. Accompanying this was apricots, pear slices, currents, walnuts and a spoonful of honey. The bread sticks/crackers that came with the cheese plate was likewise good.
cheese platter

Dessert no. 1 was the strawberry soup. I didn't expect to like this but I actually did enjoy the basil sorbet, small glob of vanilla panna cotta, and meringue. It all worked well together. Fresh tasting and sweet but not sickeningly so.
strawberry soup
The second dessert was a french toast with rhubarb compote and Pedro Ximenez ice cream. The french toast was hot and soft and eggy and caramelised and the icecream was YUM :)
french toast and icecream
Because it was our anniversary, we got an extra plate of petite fours. I'm not a macaron person but these mandarin macarons were ok. The strawberry custard tart was heavenly - the crust was super buttery and short. Alcoholic chocolate is not really my favourite and hubby gobbled down the heart-shaped jelly without much comment.
petit fours
All up, it was a lovely meal. Sure there's not a lot of wait staff, but they still managed to cover the field. The food was surprisingly good and I love most of what was served.

Food - 9/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 8/10
Value for money - 8/10
Overall - 32/40

Galileo Restaurant
The Langham Hotel
89/111-113 Kent St
Millers Point
NSW 2000
Tel: (02) 9256 2222