Friday, May 30, 2014

Guest Post - Sydney's BEST speedy sushi

Sushi is the perfect food when you’re on the go: it’s light, full of energy and packs a pretty good flavour punch. It’s also pretty spill-friendly (as long as you go easy on the soy), making it ideal for a speedy business lunch.
Words and Photography provided by Menulog.

We’re lucky to live in a city that has embraced the art of Japanese cuisine and has such easy access to fresh seafood. Outside of central Sydney, however, it can still be difficult to track down genuine, quality sushi. Here are some quality restaurants around the city that will ease your craving for good sushi on the go.
What to order: The Aero, Botany and Bourke signature sushi rolls.

Yume, Gladesville

What to order: Brown rice sushi to be extra virtuous.

Watermoon, Potts Point
 What to order: Beautifully fresh sashimi.

Okonomy, Five Dock
What to order: The Entree (assorted sushi and sashimi) set.

Paper Planes, Bondi
What to order: The chicken teriyaki and salmon bento – for a taste of everything.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Thai Paragon (Menulog takeaway) - North Strathfield

What's better than being able to lounge at home after a hectic working day? It's being allowed to lounge at home, order your dinner from the comfort of your laptop and have your dinner dropped off at whatever time you please. AND no washing up! :)

After much browsing and indecision around on Menulog - No.1 for Online Takeway,  I decided on a Thai restaurant down the road from us at North Strathfield - Thai Paragon. Thai Paragon is one of those Thai places that I've been driving past day in and day out for the past three years, each time saying that we've got to try it. Browsing the menu on Menulog was very easy. After you choose your  dishes, a confirmation of the order and time is sent to my email (and mobile) promptly. Also - my meal was delivered pretty much on-the-dot of when I asked for it to arrive!

An extensive look over the menu left me with the decision of curry puffs, pad thai, and beef masaman curry. For some funny reason, when it came to the actual order - my pad thai became a soft-shell crab with papaya salad... No idea how it happened, but it gave me a bit of a shock when I opened my takeaway and found no pad thai! Nonetheless, it was quite an enjoyable meal :)

The curry puffs were quite delicious! The pastry was buttery and flaky. The curry bits inside - potatoes, carrots, peas - all mixed with a mild curry, was tasty and hit the spot for me.
curry puffs
My accidental soft-shell crab with green papaya salad was okay too. The crab was deep fried a bit too dark for my liking, but it was still tasty. As for the papaya salad? It was just like any other. My only complaint would be that the box looked a bit meager when we first looked at it...

soft shell crab with papaya salad
The beef masaman curry with the addition of a roti was my favourite for the night. The curry was creamy and flavoured just right. The beef was also super tender and fell apart easily under the fork. Would definitely want seconds of this one!
beef masaman curry

I definitely appreciated having no cooking no washing and virtually no moving after a tough work day. For this purpose, Menulog well exceeded my expectations - easy to browse, easy to order, delivered super promptly. As for Thai Paragon, I wouldn't mind another meal from here:)

Thai Paragon 
Shop G2, 24 Bakehouse Quarter
George Street
North Strathfield, NSW 2137
Tel: (02) 9746 7005

Monday, May 19, 2014

Pappa Rich - Chatswood

For a chillaxy lunch, hubby and I found ourselves at Pappa Rich in Chatswood - partly due to much consultancy of the Entertainment Book. We were greeted by friendly welcoming staff and an extensive yummy sounding Malaysian menu.

Took us ages to choose, but we finally decided on a noodle dish each. I ordered a Coffee+milk tea+ jelly drink which I LOVED. I would have appreciated a slightly strong coffee and tea flavour, but the drink did the trick anyway.
Hubby's noodle dish was the Curry Laksa. It was a rich and aromatic spicy coconut brothed noodles (thick eggy hokkien-style noodles) with prawns, mussels, eggplant, tofu puffs, bean curd, fish cake and bean sprouts. It smelt really good ... but... the benchmark for a good laksa has been set really high (thanks to the laksa place at unsw matt building) and unfortunately, this one fell a bit short of that.

Curry Laksa

I really liked my Prawn Mee, which had a really delicious prawn broth to it. It was a bit chilli, but I was determined to soldier on. There were thick egg noodles, prawns, half and egg, chicken, bean sprouts and water spinach. It was quite yummy. Maybe not the most awesome prawn mee I've had, but it hit the spot.

Prawn Mee
All up, not a bad Malaysian restaurant. Not the best but for the price (esp after Entertainment book discount), it was pretty decent.

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

Pappa Rich
63A Archer St
NSW 2067
Tel: (02) 9411 3207

Thursday, May 8, 2014

GT Fish & Oyster - Chicago

We were in Chicago over Easter. And what seemed like "the thing" to do was to go out to brunch on Easter Sunday. And so, after some trawling over the net, I found and booked 'GT Fish & Oyster' for a 3 course Easter Sunday Brunch. GT Fish & Oyster is a 'bibs gourmand' rated restaurant - so I guessed that it would be pretty decent. The verdict? Exceeds expectations!

We sat down, not really sure what to expect. As they had the name "oyster" in their name, and the waitress seemed so sincere when introducing the oysters available (some from east coast, some from west coast USA), we decided to get some to start our meal. We got a couple of oysters from 'Mirada' (Washington oysters), a couple from 'Penn Cove Select' (also Washington oysters), couple from 'Rappahannock' (from Virginia), and lastly, a couple from 'Saltworks' (also Virginia). Conclusion? Washington oysters were tastier... but really - Aussie oysters are yummier (esp coffin bay ones :P)

Onto our three course meal... We were initially in a conundrum - as there was 3 options in each course. We couldn't decide which option in each course to pick! The chicken and waffles? The lobster roll? Crab eggs benedict? There were too many tasty things on the menu!!! To our surprise (or shock), we didn't have to choose... we get them ALL!!! So it's a three course meal that's actually really like a NINE course meal. I have to say, we were definitely not the only table who were clutching a doggy bag, as well as our stomachs, out of this restaurant.

Course 1 was cinnamon churros with some tasty, flowery, sweet cream dip, Monkey bread with a crème fraîche and dill, and french toast with strawberries. It was ZOMG. Such a sweet sweet start. The churros were super crunchy, yet really soft and fluffy inside. Possibly one of the best churros I've actually had. The cinnamon dusting was actually really tasty. Hubby loved the french toast. This was also really light and fluffy. My favourite in course 1 was actually the monkey bread. I had no idea what monkey bread was before that day - this one was a savoury, semi-dense, but super tasty sesame bun. Simple. But I loved it!
The second course was a prawn cocktail, crab and spinach eggs benedict, and a white fish quiche. The prawns were fresh - tick! The crab in the eggs benedict was really tasty and really sweet-tasting. Really really liked this! But what blew me away was this quiche. Simple in appearance but in terms of taste??!? Packed full of flavour! The fish gave it a really sweet aroma. The eggy custard was smooth and light, but rich in flavour all round. The pastry was also good. Lucky we weren't made to choose one option of the three - I might have missed this spectacular dish!
The last course was a lobster roll with onion rings, a duck enchilada, and chicken & waffles. Let's start with the lobster roll. The lobster was fresh and with just the right amount of mayo, all served on a light buttery bread roll. The pickled veges and the onion rings were great accompaniments to this. The duck enchilada was definitely tasty - loads of duck and pretty yummy corn chips abound! But something definitely puzzled me in this meal - the chicken & waffles... This, according to my friend who lives in the US, is the next 'in' thing. This is a waffle with friend chicken, semi-drenched in maple syrup to make everything sweet. Sweet chicken...? Must be an American thing.

So we had a great experience at GT Fish & Oyster. Would definitely return if the food is of this quality all the time :) (and if we were ever in Chicago again).
Oh! And definitely don't have their coffee... 

Food - 8.5/10
Service - 8/10
Ambiance - 7.5/10
Value for money - 8/10
Overall - 32/40

GT Fish & Oyster
531N Wells St
Chicago, IL 60654
Tel: +1 312 929 3501

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Which Burger Reigns Supreme?

On our recent trip to America, albeit with a slight detour to Brisbane, we were lucky enough to sample a range of burgers. There was the MOS burger, the Shake Shack burger, and the Five Guys burger. 

The MOS burger, originating from Japan, also has a few branches in Brisbane. The MOS burger is a cute little package, freshly made to order, and typically with a super tasty tomatoey-based sauce. The patty is really juicy and full of flavour. The only let down on this particular night was that the bun was a bit dry, lacked a bit of softness and freshness, a tad too chewy and not enough of that normal fluffiness that we normally like in a bun.
MOS Burger
Gourmet Wagyu Burger
The shake shack burger is also a cute little package. The patty at Shake Shack is even tastier than that in a MOS burger. It comes with this super tasty relish sauce that makes the whole burger amazing! The bun here is also super soft and fluffy... I think also a little sweet, which makes the burger super delectable.
Shack Burger

The Five Guys burger is a different story altogether. You get two patties here, and unlike the other two burgers which may possibly pass as semi healthy, you know that you are in for a heart attack when you bite into this one. The patty, though tender, lacked a bit of taste (in my mind... my companions for this burger trip thought it was tasty enough) compared to the other burgers. It comes with a couple of slices of cheese. And the amount of condiments you get in the burger? You get to choose as little or as many as you'd like (e.g. pickles, onions, mayo, bbq sauce, lettuce, tomato etc etc etc). It is a super dense and heavy-duty burger. Reminds me a bit like a whopper :P
Cheeseburger with lettuce, mayo and grilled onion
Chips from Five Guys
Cheeseburger with EVERYTHING
So the verdict? I think that my favourite is the shake shack burger. So how do I get some of that over here in Sydney??!?!?  :(

MOS Burger :
Shake Shack :
Five Guys Burgers :