Saturday, September 28, 2013

East Court Chinese Restaurant - Richmond

For my dad's 60th Birthday, he picked to have his celebration at East Court - a Chinese restaurant our West in Richmond. Due to his health condition of late, there are tons of stuff that my dad can't eat. Hence, as we knew the owners of this restaurant, it made it easier for us to tailor the menu to my dad's liking.

For starters, we had a deep-fried garlic stuffed prawn. When it came out sizzling and golden brown, it smelt absolutely amazing! Super garlicy and buttery. Bitting into it, it was really really delicious!  Crunchy and crispy, fresh and really tasty and as I love garlic, I loved this!
Deep fried garlic stuffed prawns

The next starter was the XO vermicelli oysters. We got two large plump oysters each. It was again, really fresh and really tasty :)
XO vermicelli oysters

The next dish was possibly one my favourites for the night. It was a vegetarian dish - with lots of tofu bean curd varieties, shitake mushrooms, black fungus, broccoli etc. I loved it! The sauce as just the right consistency and the right flavour.
buddha's feast

A glutinous rice which was chockablock full of ingredients was served next. Everyone liked the taste of this. It was definitely a good glutinous rice dish.
glutinous rice

An interesting mix of steamed fish fillets, ham and shitake mushroom bought 'wows' to the table because of the intricate carrot sculpture in the middle. I didn't like this as much - ham with fish was a bit odd.
fish with ham and mushroom and snow fungus

Hairy melon swimming in the middle of a sea of dried scallops was served next. It was a good tasty plain ish dish.
hairy melon with dried scallop

The pork chop in Peking sauce was probably a personal pick from dad cos he absolutely loves this.  It was done pretty well here.
pork chop in peking sauce

Dad and all of his guests really appreciated the 8 treasure duck (八宝鸭). The 8 treasure duck is traditional chinese dish where 8 different ingredients or 'treasures' are stuffed into a marinated duck. I'm not 100% sure what was stuffed into the duck... maybe some glutinous rice? lotus seed? chestnut? stuff like that... It's apparently an almost 'extinct' dish.

8 treasure duck
On birthdays, it's tradition for noodles to be had. So a stir-fry egg/hokkien noodle was bought to the table.
stir fried noodles

And though the order was a bit odd, the last dish was a steamed fish. Steamed almost perfectly - we all had some even though we were all soooooo full.
steamed fish

Dessert-wise, there was a fruit platter and a coconuty red bean soup. It's one of the better red bean soups I've had and so, whilst I normally leave these untouched, I finished the whole bowl of it.
coconut red bean soup

My dad had to have these 'birthday buns' (壽包) which is a soft sweet bun with a lotus seed paste inside. Again - tradition.
chinese birthday bun
It seems as though my dad and his friends all had fun here. The food was good and atmosphere was decent. Though my dad couldn't eat all the lobster, abalone, etc etc type stuff, these alternatives were all yummy and tasty.

Food - 8/10
Service - 8/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Value for money - 8/10
Overall - 31/40

East Court Chinese Restaurant
1st Floor, 144-148 Windsor Street
Richmond NSW 2753
Tel: (02) 4578 1755

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Kürtősh - Surry Hills

I've been wanting to visit Kürtősh for quite a while now because all their cakes sound absolutely deliciousness. Though they are famous for their Chimney Cakes, chimney cake was not what sparked my interest. I was mainly after their peanut butter and chocolate ganache cake.

As we visited Kürtősh on a weekday before noon, the Surry Hills shop was virtually empty. The number of people coming for coffee, even, was quite scarce. Cakes here are sold by weight, so how much you pay depends on how greedy you are when asked how big a slice you want cut out of the massive slab. I have to say, this is a really dangerous thing - it' so tempting to get a big slice of these delicious looking cakes and it takes loads of will power to say "just a really small piece". On the other hand, an advantage of this way of buying cake is that you can sample as many flavours as you want as you can control the portion size.

Looking at the counter, I couldn't resist getting their flourless chocolate cake on top of my original choice of peanut butter and chocolate ganache cake. Both were super delicious! The peanut butter cake was rich and smooth and creamy - but not cakey (which is good for me, cos I'm not a huge fan of fluffy cakes). The flourless chocolate cake was also densely chocolately. Possibly wouldn't have minded more of either of these.
flourless chocolate cake, peanut butter and chocolate ganache

Hubby initially wasn't going to get anything but after seeing me have so much fun choosing the cake, he couldn't resist the tiramisu. "How many bubbles?' was the question asked - but it took a few goes before hubby understood what it meant. He got two bubbles. He absolutely LOVED it. Good portion of cake and mascapone. I didn't think that there was enough coffee flavour, but hubby didn't care.
I quite enjoyed this cake heaven. Because we held back from large slices, the three cakes together cost us $8.50. And so, if I have my way, I will be back to sample more delicacies here.

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

Kürtősh (Surry Hills)
604-606 Crown Street
Surry Hills 
NSW 2010
Tel: (02) 9319 7701

Friday, September 20, 2013

Fish Place - Surry Hills

Our friends have recommended this place in Surry Hills and talked up how awesome it is. As such, we couldn't resist a visit to "Fish Place". I believe that the magic hand behind the supposedly awesome smokey fish was ex-Smoke House, so I guess that smokey meals are in good hands.
After ordering, we were able to chill in their cool looking courtyard at the back.
Hubby ordered their fish of the day - which was perch, opted for grilled and served with a chinese cabbage and broccoli salad. The fish was cooked reasonably well, but sadly, there was nothing really WOW about the fish or the salad.

perch and salad

I couldn't resist their hot smoked salmon with potato bake. My crazy anticipation of this awesome perfectly cooked smokey fish was unfortunately not met. I think that it is largely because it was the tail piece  as it was quite overcooked and really dry,taking away all my enjoyment of the meal. The smokiness is pretty good though!
hot smoked salmon with potato bake
Both of us were a bit unimpressed. May have just been our bad luck, but I would be a little hesistant to revisit.

Food - 6/10
Service - 6/10
Ambiance - 7.5/10
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 26.5/40

Fish Place
70 Foveaux St
Surry Hills
NSW 2010
Tel: (02) 8958 0159

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Paul's Famous Burgers - Sylvania

So one day, we were in the Shire area with a few friends. One of our friends had heard of a place with fantastic pineapple crush. Naturally, we all wanted to try it. The pineapple crush was housed in a burger joint, which was also supposedly quite famously good (hence even the word "famous" in their name). However, as we were in a hurry that time, we couldn't stop for a burger - no matter how tempting the waft of wonderful aromas were. Naturally, that's where hubby wanted to go the following weekend. Hence, we trekked to the Shire again, for the sole allure of amazing burgers.

There is quite a line for this burger joint but it is quite efficient with many workers doing their specialised roles behind the counter. We ordered 1L of the pineapple crush, small chips, a cheeseburger for me and a "special" burger for hubby.
Pineapple Crush
I quite like the pineapple crush. It's meant to be real pineapple juice, so there's loads of little crushed pineapply pieces floating everywhere. It's not overly sweet but it's definitely refreshing.
small hot chips
You can't have burgers without chips - right? The chips were hot and looked a perfect golden colour. It was absolutely deliciousness, especially when dipped into their "special" sauce (which was aioli made of mayo, garlic and mustard).
the "special" - hamburger with egg and bacon - $7.50
I'm not sure why my hubby ordered the "special" which was a hamburger with egg and bacon. He, of course, couldn't resist the allure of adding beetroot to it, making it a whopping big burger! Funnily enough, it's actually not even the biggest burger in the joint - the 'Works' burger with absolutely everything you can think of (pineapple, cheese, tomato, lettuce, egg, bacon, etc etc etc) is the store highlight and people left right and center were ordering it. However, when hubby's 'special' burger came it, it was already too big (and slightly too soggy) for him to eat in one piece. I think he enjoyed it - but only to a certain extent. If we were ever back, I'm pretty sure he'll stick to ordering just a hamburger with beetroot.
cheeseburger - $6.70
My cheeseburger was pretty delicious! Just the right size. Juicy patty, melted cheese and a balance of lettuce and tomato to make it seem semi-healthy. I had mine with their 'special' sauce (ie. the garlic aioli) and absolutely loved it!

Paul's burger is a pretty popular burger place in the Shire. They have also won several awards, including best burger in Australia in 2012. It's a decent burger place ... but just really far if you live anywhere that's not the shire.

Food - 8/10
Service - 8/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Value for money - 8/10
Overall - 31/40

Paul's Famous Burgers
12 Princes Hwy
Sylvania NSW 2224
Tel: (02) 9522 5632

Friday, September 6, 2013

Tan Viet Noodle House - Eastwood

By pure coincidence,I was walked past the new Tan Viet store in Eastwood a few weeks ago. They weren't open yet, but hubby and I were super eager to go for some awesome crispy chicken noodles when they did finally open.

On a late-ish Sunday, hubby and I went to pay it a visit. There was a small line but we decided to wait anyway. Luckily for us, we didn't need to wait long at all.
We knew exactly what we wanted to order. Crispy chicken noodle soup x 2!!! Drink-wise was a bit tricker as hubby wanted the 3 bean drink - but they were sold out. Then he asked for the young coconut drink - again sold out. He finally settled for the lemon soda, which was actually really refreshingly yum. I went for my normal - the iced milk coffee. Delicious as usual!

And the main meal? The same awesome quality as that which is found in Cabramatta! This means we no longer have to drive 45 mins when we crave crispy chicken noodles!!! The chicken skin was super thin and crisp. The chicken itself was tender and flavoursome. And the noodles? Also spectacularly cooked (the egg noodles that is). The broth was clear and didn't taste too colluded by msg. Loved it!

The price of this meal is substantially more than your average price of a meal in Eastwood. However, I guess when we cancel out the price of extra petrol that would be needed if we drove down to Cabra, it's still worth it :)

Food - 9/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 6/10
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 29/40

Tan Viet Noodle House
209 Rowe Street
NSW 2122
Tel: (02) 9858 5167

Monday, September 2, 2013

Devon Cafe - Surry Hills

My friends and I had decided to check out Devon Cafe in Surry Hills after hearing tons from the place all around. It's a cafe opened not too long ago opened by two hot shot ex-Guillaume chefs. Stepping in, it is a bit like Asian Central - I guess because of the location and because 90% of food bloggers and food blog readers tend to be Asian?

After a brief wait, our party of 6 was seated up the back on a share table. Definitely an interesting interior design concept. Rustic and hip? The cups and stuff reflect the same style (especially the rust on the water cups? :P ).
The coffee was pretty good - with Alchemy beans. The fruit juice concoctions were also decent and served in funky jars.
coffee alchemy beans

juice in cute glass jars

Hubby ordered the 'two chicks in a basque'. This was two 63 degree eggs sitting pretty in a ramekin full of a flavour-packed piperade, swirls of pistou and dollops of goats cheese. It's a massive BANG of flavour - almost too much so, and the tiny slice of sourdough toast that come with it was unfortunately finished way way way before the eggs were even barely touched.
Two chicks in a Basque

One of my friends opted for the citrus cured salmon. The house cured salmon looked really appetising and was topped with a perfect soft boiled egg. Apple, celery, cucumber, fennel and a split dill cream accompanied this all - giving the 'fresh and healthy' allure. All this came with a soft brioche.
Citrus cured salmon
One of the house specials for the week was the ‘Breakie with Sakuma’. This was a pretty much perfectly cooked miso grilled king salmon fillet. with their specialty 63 degree egg, smoked egg croquette and generous dollops of kewpie mayonnaise. I loved the look of it. My friends loved the fish. What he wasn't too sure about was the type of egg - I think he preferred the egg cooked in another way?

breakie with sakuma
But you know what would have been perfect with the 63 degree egg? This super famous truffle toasty - 'the ultimate'. This was a super massive portion of toasted bread with loads of sauteed mushrooms (all types of mushy - enoki, button, shitake, the whole lot), melted cheese, sunny eggs and a heap of truffle shavings. Just one whiff of this dish made us all salivate! Loved it! Wish I had two stomachs to gobble it all up.

the ultimate toasty

I also couldn't go past the chips with aioli. I saw it on other blogs and absolutely couldn't not order it. Crazily crispy and crunchy golden deep fried chips with a generous amount of super delicious aioli. ZOMG I could have this every day - SO YUM!
chips with aioli

I really liked Devon Cafe. Yummy food and casual vibe. Pretty damn good.

Food - 9/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 8/10
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 31/40

Devon Cafe
76 Devonshire Street
Surry Hills
NSW 2010
Tel: (02) 9211 8777