Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Deckhouse - Woolwich

One of our friend's weddings was hosted at the Deckhouse at Woolwich. It was at one of those spectacular venues that the moment you arrived, you just absolutely wished there was more sunlight because the view was breathtakingly stunning (as was the wedding itself ofcourse!).

Whilst everything was amazing, lets take a bit of a closer look at their food. There were a few canapes going around - some good, some just misses the mark (sorry no photos!). For instance, the oysters and the salt and pepper squid were both yummy but the peking duck pancake was unfortunately a bit fail.

As per usual, all the dishes were alternate drop. For entree, there was the quail or the scallops. The quail was wrapped in prosciutto and was served with a mixed leaf olive salad and balsamic glaze.  Many people couldn't tell that this was quail. And personally, I liked the seared scallops a bit more. The scallops was served with parsnip fennel puree which was really tasty and smooth, crispy pancetta and a mixed herb salad.
For mains, there was a fish and a beef. The Barramundi fillet was served on a bed of lemon risotto with a buttery and dill sauce, and zucchini. It was cooked okayly well - particularly the butter sauce haha! The beef tenderloin came with a baked blue cheese souffle and a potato stack all in a rosemary lemon jus. This was alright too if memory serves me correctly.

Dessert is almost always a course that is forgotten at weddings because they tend to be served after the dance floor is opened. However, I was glad we came back to the table for these. The chocolate fondant was deliciousness and was accompanied with a milk icecream. The honeycomb icecream parfait was also sweetly delicious and served with mixed berry and a delicious peppermint toffee bark. I think that the desserts were the highlight of the meal~
So all up, the food here is decent. It's not amazingly awesome - but you don't expect it to be at weddings :)

The Deckhouse
Clarke Road
Woolwich Wharf
NSW 2110
Tel: (02) 9817 4394

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Guillaume at Bennelong - Circular Quay

We had heard the news that Guillaume at Bennelong is closing. As I'd never been there, I wasn't too devastated about it. But then hubby heard from friends that it's a top-notch restaurants and as such, he couldn't resist but to book it in.
Bennelong Restaurant

From all the word-of-mouth reviews from our friends, our expectations of this place was rather high. On this occasion, we opted for the 4 course a-la-carte menu ($150). The menu was briefly explained but the same waiter for each table and promptly after the explanation, he dashed off - to return a very very very long time later. It seems that the most attentive staff at the restaurant was our sommelier who chose us a very nice bottle of white.

The sourdough and the creamy butter was quite deliciousness. The bread was soft and tasty, and the crust crunchy. Unfortunately, when we wanted a bit more bread halfway through the meal, we had to ask THREE times for it (as it was delivered to the wrong table first, then the request was ignored).
sourdough and butter
The amuse bouche was another place where the waiter screwed up. They delivered it the next table, which then clashed with the delivery of their first course. The amuse bouche, when it did get here, was really delicious. Velvety pumpkin puree with that seared foie gras cube to make it super creamy and crazily tasty. Yup! sign me up for more of this.
pumpkin veloute
Hubby's choice of first course was the smoked eel with silverbeet, oyster, truffle and 'Sot L'y Laisse'.
It was heaps aromatic and the presentation was interesting. Hubby found it 'okay' in taste.
smoked eel

I opted for the savoury green custardwhich was the pea royale. The cold, smooth custard was really rich and full of flavour. It was topped with cubes of speck, croutons and peas, with truffle specks throughout. Tasty.
pea royale
For the second course, hubby ordered the squid 'tagliatelle'. The sea urchin butter sauce smelt really really good! The squid was thinly sliced to mimic tagliatelle and was served with a squid ink tapioca cracker.
Squid Tagliatelle
My choice was the scallops, seared to perfection. It came with jerusalem artichoke, broad beans and chicken jus gras. I love well cooked, tasty scallops :)
I think that's where the awesomeness stops. Hubby's main was the wagyu beef. The waiter had said that it was the brisket slow cooked for 12 hours. It's meant to be melt-in-your-mouth, but it wasn't. I think it was still quite chewy and stringy. The wagyu came with shimeji mushrooms, a potato galette, parsley puree dollop, and a parsnip puree dollop. The waitress also came out with their 'famous' paris mash. This was good. Creamy, buttery and smooth. Unfortunately, compared to some potato purees we have had recently (e.g. at Black by Ezard), it fell short.

wagyu beef brisket
My deconstructed bouillabaisse was better. The clear soup was full of flavour. Unfortunately, the barramundi and the prawn were both a touch overcooked. They gave me mash with this too! LOL. Also, complimentary salad was also given on the side.
barramundi and prawns
A palate cleanser of pink grapefruit and champagne granita was not really my cup of tea nor to my hubby's liking. It was slightly too bitter and a bit too strong on the champagne hit.
pink grapefruit granita
The dessert was pretty good though. Hubby had the nougat glace. There was a ring of caramelised banana on top of the nougat and served with a caramelly icecream with crushed peanuts.
nougat glace
I had the chestnuty mouse encased in a chocolate tube. The dots of quince (?) and pear however, was left untouched on my plate. The chestnut icecream was also pretty decent.

Chestnut cassis
Petit fours were served with coffee. There was green tea macarons, jelly dome, caramel, madeline and chocolate truffle. Not too bad. My favourite was the caramel, then the macaron.
petit fours
So all up, there were some hits and some misses. The miss was probably the slow and inattentive service which was witnessed until the final stages of the meal where even our bill was wrong. For the price, I daresay it could have been a bit better. If you had wanted to try this place out for yourself, be quick - as it's closing at the end of the year.

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

Guillaume at Bennelong
Sydney Opera House
Bennelong Point
Sydney NSW 2000
Tel: (02)  9241 1999

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Bondi Pizza - Parramatta

Every time hubby and I drive past Bondi Pizza in Parramatta, it is packed out! So when my friend and I waltzed in on a weekday to find it much less busy, I was a bit surprised. The menu had plenty of choices for entree, wraps, pizzas and pastas. There was also a small sign for the lunch special - an 8" pizza with drink for $9.95. So two lunch specials were ordered!

We opted for the Grilled Chicken Pancetta and the Mexican Nacho. The chicken pizza had plenty of chicken pieces and pancetta slices and also a heap of rocket, all on a tasty BBQ sauce. The Mexican Nacho was even tastier (in my opinion). It had a heap of ground beef and beans, diced tomatoes throughout and a good drizzle of guacamole. Sour cream and sweet chilli sauce was also on top. Pizza and nacho feel all in one!

chicken and pancetta pizza

Mexican nacho pizza
The pizzas weren't the best I've had recently but it was decent and tasty. Also, it was awesome value for a pizza and drink! ;)

Food - 7.5/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Value for money - 810
Overall - 29.5/40

Bondi Pizza
320 Church Street
NSW 2150
Tel: (02) 9891 9221

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Adora Handmade Chocolates (2) - Parramatta

My friend agreed to join me for some chocolate and being in Parramatta, I wanted something other than Max Brenner. So, we wandered a bit further away to Adora Chocolates. Being a weekday, the shop (which was bigger and newer than the Earlwood one) was unfortunately empty. But we were happy to be seated and to indulge in chocolate :)

I ordered a hot chocolate. This was really massive and came with a chocolate ($5). The milk was frothed til super creamy and the melted chocolate was rich and just so chocolately real (none of that fake artificial stuff!). Soooo delicious! For the chocolate, I chose the macadamia cluster which was also very yummy.
hot chocolate
dark chocolate macadamia cluster
My friend had too many hot chocolates the day before and hence, went for their waffles with icecream and melted chocolate ($10). You get to choose your flavour of icecream but my friend went for the boring vanilla. The vanilla icecream had plenty of black dots - indicating real vanilla? And the scoop was MASSIVE!!! The chocolate was also plenty delicious.
waffles with chocolate and icecream - $10
I'm sure I'd definitely be back if they are still around! They are more on the businessy side of Parra - out of the way for most people I guess. But really  YUM :)

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

Adora Handmade Chocolates
Shop 2B/103 George St
Parramatta NSW 2150 
Tel: (02) 9635 7737

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Four Ate Five - Surry Hills

Saturday brunch at Four Ate Five was our choice pick for the day, our agenda paused only momentarily by the cue of people outside. We opted to sit outside on the initially sunny day and luckily for the big umbrellas, we managed to escape the rain when if came down on us.

Coffees were ordered and they were good. Good start to breakfast :)
skim capp

Hubby's creamed corn ($17) was quite impressive looking. The yellow splotch of sweet creamy corn was accompanied with 2 poached eggs, a pile of crispy bacon and two slices of organic sourdough toast. Hubby thought that the homemade creamed corn isn't too much better than creamed corn from a can, but the rest of the stuff - the eggs and bacon, were really really yummy.
creamed corn - $17
I had to baked eggs with spinach and pancetta ($17). It was absolutely heavenly. The eggs were baked to medium perfection. Loads of spinach and large chunks (and heaps of them!) of pancetta all mixed in a cheesey concoction. Deliciousness!!! and crazily filling.
baked eggs- $17
And so we had a wonderful breakfast as Four Ate Five. The lines are there for a reason!

Food - 9/10
Service - 7.5/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Value for money - 7.5/10
Overall - 31/40

Four Ate Five
485 Crown Street
Surry Hills
NSW 2010
Tel: (02) 9698 6485

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Jamie's Italian - Sydney

We were there before 5.30pm and there was a line which stretched a mile away. AND this wasn't even the line to get into the restaurant - it was just the line to put your name on the list for a table in 1-2 hrs time at the restaurant. ZOMG - it better be freaking good and worth the wait! We left... but then we returned to this famous Jamie Oliver joint because we were too curious. What is the hype all about?

After the long wait, the housemade bread was deliciousness! Different types were there... all olive-oily goodness. Loved all the different types :)
housemade bread
We ordered two 'planks' for starters. The cured meat plank ($13.50) came with a good selections of
San Daniele prosciutto, Wagyu bresaola, finocchio & capocollo. All really tasty and delicious! It also came with a really yummy buffalo mozzarella and perconio with chilli jam. Pickles (with curly green chillies, green & Gaeta olives & caper berries) and a crunchy salad (with shaved root veg with chilli, lemon & mint) was also there. All up, a tasty and well balanced plank.
cured meat plank - $13.50
The vege plank ($10) had essentially the same sides except that instead of meats, there was the seasonal sliced and chargrilled veges. The veges were good. Sweet and doused in olive oil. But I think I preferred the meats.
vege plank - $10

In our minds, we had a million things we wanted to order. However, when we told our waiter our thoughts, he banned us and made us cut down our order to just one main each - and rightfully so (as it was more than enough food!). Hubby ended up getting the truffled turkey milanese ($29.50). This was pretty good! Crumbed and thinly sliced turkey with a hidden surprise of fontina and prosciutto in between the bread crumb and the turkey. This massive slab of turkey schnitzel was topped with a soft fried egg, truffle and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Really really tasty!
truffled turkey milanese - $29.50
I opted for a pasta. Lots of flavoursome looking pastas were on the menu, but at the end of the day, I opted for the black angel spaghetti ($22). This was squid ink pasta served with perfectly cooked scallops, garlic, anchovies, a hint of chilli and capers. Deliciousness! So so so yum!!!
black angel spaghetti - $22
We had just enough stomach space for dessert. The tiramisu ($9.50) was good, but I think I've had better. A little too soggy for hubby's liking but it was coffee tasting enough.
tiramisu - $9.50
Hubby also had a coffee. Not bad - just your normal coffee.
So was Jamie's worth it? Sure - delicious food, tasty and flavoursome, and was value for money... but a 1-2 hour wait? hmm.... I think I'd much prefer to round up a few friends and book a table instead (can book when you have 6+ people). Not convinced it's a good place for conversation though as the bustling amount of activity and the noise level is a bit crazy.

Food - 8.5/10
Service - 8/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Value for money - 8.5/10
Overall - 32/40

Jamie's Italian
107 Pitt Street
NSW 2000
Tel: (02) 8240 9000

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Black by Ezard - Pyrmont

For hubby's birthday, we decided to test out some yummy steak at Black by Ezard at the Star. Stepping though really big and heavy automatic door brings you into a dimmed, very nicely and elegantly decorated area. The music choice, however, was interesting and not particularly to my taste.

To start, complementary brioche was given. The loaf was super flaky (like a croissant), really buttery and awesomely soft. I loved it! Hubby didn't. I think he likes your normal bread rolls. He found it too fluffy or airy.
freshly baked brioche

Entree-wise, shared some oysters and their famous organic farm egg ($25). The farm egg was poached and lived in a crispy noodle ball. It all sat on some really tasty potato cream and a light herb salad was atop it. On the side, there was a very thin but crazily delicious slice of iberico jamon. All up, it felt a lot like breakfast. I swear I would be over the moon getting this for a weekend brunch but as an entree, it was a little bit odd. Tasty but odd.

organic farm egg - $25
The oysters ($4 each) that we got were served with yuzu and wakame jelly. The jelly was a crazy flavour explosion - recommended to be eaten with the oyster and not on its own (trust me).

oysters with yuzu and wakame - $4 each
For the main, we really didn't know which steak to order. Hence, we decided to share the Wagyu Trio ($170). This was wagyu 9+ marble scored rumpcap, flat iron and striploin. Normally at Black, you tend to get a tiny tiny piece of steak on a massively otherwise empty white plate. So we got considerable more steak than the norm - and it proved to be almost impossible to finish (atleast for me). Every bite was absolutely deliciousness! The beef was really tasty and really tender, each bite was 'melt-in-your-mouth'. Superb - and I guess for that price, it had to be! We had our steak with the marrow and shallot sauce ($4) which was super tasty also.

Trio of Wagyu - $170 (to share)

marrow and shallot sauce - $4
For sides ($10 each), we had a gratin with leek, brioche, chives and gruyere cheese, and a potato puree. In retrospect, I definitely would not have ordered these two sides. WAAAYYY to rich and WAAAAYYYY to cheese and buttery. I love the potato puree though - was like eating pure buttery heaven, so I probably would have ditched the gratin in favour of some sort of salady green.

leek gratin - $!0

potato puree - $10
I really wanted dessert. The chocolatey peanuty ball was crazily tempting but my stomach just would not comply. I was completely fully stuffed and could not eat ANYTHING. So next time, I'd go for just a tiny steak with just one side and definitely try to leave room for dessert.

Food - 8.5/10
Service - 7.5/10
Ambiance - 7.5/10
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 30.5/40

Black by Ezard
Level G, Harbourside, The Star
80 Pyrmont Street
Pyrmont NSW 2009
Tel: (02) 9657 9109

Friday, August 2, 2013

Tim Ho Wan (2) - Hong Kong

Tim Ho Wan has moved since our last visit and since it was summer and quite hot, cabbing it to the place was much more convenient. This led to us being able to just beat the lunch crowd :)

We ordered their famous baked barbeque pork buns which was really delicious. Soft and flaky bun with steaming hot and tasty barbeque pork pieces inside. Could do with a few more of these!
baked barbeque pork bun

The chicken feet was also quite tasty - steamed and flavoured perfectly well.

chicken feet

The siu mai (pork and prawn dumplings) were chockablock full of flavour and absolutely deliciousness! Simple dish... yet it hits just the right spot!

siu mai

Likewise,the har gow (prawn dumplings) were filled with super tasty and crunchy prawns. The pastry is really thin yet strong enough to encase all that yummy prawn.

har gow
We also had the turnip cake and the steamed pork ribs. Both were good but I guess, wasn't that much more spectacular than the norm.
raddish cake

steamed pork ribs
I think that Tim Ho Wan serves dim sims which are just that tiny touch better than your average yum cha. But as the prices are likewise reasonable which makes this a gem :)

Food - 9/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 6.5/10
Value for money - 8.5/10
Overall - 31/40

Tim Ho Wan
G/F, 9-11 Fook Wing Street
Sham Shui Bo
Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2788 1226