Saturday, May 23, 2015

Belly Bao - Sydney

The Asian style - white open 'baos' made hipster by David Chang is pretty "in" nowadays. One of the institutions captilising on this fluffy bun trend is Belly Bao. Located within the GoodGod bar, the dining areas are PACKED on the Thursday night that we visited. The main reason for that is their 'baoger' - the promise of a super juicy burger with a really soft 'bao' bun.

Due to the number of patrons for the night, it took FOREVER for the food to come. Half an hour in to waiting, we finally got our wings and baos. The wings were pretty deliciousness. Crunchy batter and super juicy tender chicken. 
The baos were also quite good. The buns were soft enough (not not as soft as Momofuku ones). Hubby got the crackling roast pork belly bao. The crackling was really good and the pork belly was soft and tender. My braised beef short rib, served with kimchi, was also quite good. Soft flaky sweet ish beef with all it's juices. Hard to say no to it. Our friends got slow braised pork belly ones and no real complaints from them either.
After a whole hour of us waiting (rather impatiently) we finally got our burgers. It was quite a decent sized burger. The bun was nice and soft with toasted sesame seeds plastered over. The patty was juicy and cooked well and who can say no to the really tasty mayo sauce? There was also a good handful of veges/pickles and yummy melted cheese. I have to say, it was a good burger. But was it worth an hour wait??? probably not....
We also had sweet potato chips with spicy mayo. Crispy yes. But nothing too special.
 All up, the food was pretty good. However, it was a bit too crowded and the service a bit too lacking. Despite the yummy burger, I'm a bit hesitant to return.

Food - 8.5/10
Service - 5/10
Ambiance - 5/10
Value for money - 8/10
Overall - 26.5/40

Belly Bao
GoodGod Small Club
53-55 Liverpool Street
Sydney NSW 2000

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Green Peppercorn - Sydney

Thai food is better eaten with friends because you get to sample so much more food. I've been to Green Peppercorn in Fairfield but I'd never been to their Sydney joint. Our friends, however, swear that this is one of their favourite Thai places and come here on a regular basis. We also ordered much of their favourite dishes.

The Charcoal OX tongue didn't look too pretty but it was absolutely deliciousness. It was flavourful, succulent and slightly chewy. Pretty yum, especially with the special dipping sauce.
The chicken feet salad was another favourite. De-boned chicken feet is heaps easy to eat. Slightly chilli but packed full of flavour.
Pad thai is always my favourite go-to dish. The pad thai here was pretty good - slightly too chilli for me when I mixed in all the the chilli flakes, but otherwise, not too bad a noodle dish.
One of the specials was their pork knuckle. It was massive!!! Crispy skinned, caramelised sweet sauce, fall-off-the-bone meat. Cannot complain - I was in pork heaven :)
 Dessert-wise, our friends order their fried icecream every single time. Delicious caramelised sweet sauce, flaky thin filo pastry and a good amount of nuts to add the crunch. Pretty deliciousness.
I wanted to try their mango coconut dessert with coconut jelly, coconut milk and sago. It was really really good. I loved it! Really refreshing, not too sweet, a good combination of flavours. YUM!
All up, a pretty good dinner. Would love to come back again sometime.

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

Green Peppercorn
Civic Hotel Level 1
388 Pitt Street 
Sydney NSW 2000
Tel: (02) 8080 7043

Monday, May 18, 2015

Pilu at Freshwater

For our anniversary dinner this year, we decided to go to a restaurant that we'd thought about going to for years and years - ever since we saw Giovanni at a Taste of Sydney festival almost a decade ago. We braved the torrential rains that night and headed to Freshwater to dine at Pilu and was greeted by really nice and friendly waitstaff. Needless to say, the beautiful ocean view was denied for the night.

Because of our indecisive natures, the degustation was the ideal choice for the night. We were initially served with a welcome gift of savoury cookies. These cookies were pretty tasty, slightly cheesy in flavour and definitely served to whet our appetite.
The bread we got for the night was freshly baked, warm, crunchy outsides and soft innards. The butter was nicely whipped and quite tasty.
The first course we got was the Hiramasa kingfish. Thinly sliced really sweet kingfish was accentuated with the mild spice of friggitelli and pine nut pesto, and a really delicious side salad of corn (and singular caper).
 The next course smelt delicious but was rather confusing. Mr Giovanni came out and served the milky, cheesy pecorino consomme himself and poured it atop the tiny hand-rolled fregola, sweet pumpkin cubes and cavolo nero (ie the green stuff). It was so fragrant... but a bit of a let down. But then again, I've never been a fan of soupy rice, whatever flavour it may be.
I found the next pasta dish was much more appetising, even if it initially did look like little green worms on a plate. The parsley flavour in the pasta mixed really well with the orange chilli paint in the bowl. Bits of mussels and chickpeas were mixed in, but the pasta and sauce itself was tasty enough.
Next up was the fish. A perfectly cooked piece of Mulloway sat atop the most sweet and deliciously charred cabbage. Yummy buttery shrooms were good but not necessary on the plate. The black paint was delicious squid ink. The orange mustard sauce was slightly less so.
Next up was Pilu's famous suckling pig. You definitely don't get much of this signature dish but the bits that you do get are wonderfully deliciousness. The skin is crispy and the meat is really nice and tender and flavoursome. You get sides of pickled raddish, cabbage and roast potatoes. All really tasty really.
Dessert-wise was a bit of let down for me. But that's probably cos non-chocolate desserts are not my preference. The more refreshing of the two desserts was the textures of pear. A soft-poached pear with pear sorbet. I think if you like pear, you would like this.
The other dessert, and the finale of the night was a Sardinian fried pastry filled with ricotta and sultanas and drizzled with honey. The pastry was nice and crispy and there was a decent dollop of ricotta in it. The pastry wasn't too sweet and I guess it was OK... still would have preferred something more chocolately :P
 All up, a decent meal at Pilu. Not the best 2 Hat restaurant we've been to, but it was decent - the food was a bit more traditional than other restaurants. I'm sure that if it was a good clear day, it would be a meal with an amazing food.

Food - 7/10
Service - 7.5/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Value for money - 6.5/10
Overall -  28/40

Pilu at Freshwater
Moore Road
NSW 2096
Tel: (02) 9938 3331

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Cafe Paci - Darlinghurst

I've heard many a good things about Cafe Paci but for some reason or another, it's taken me for ever to come and try their food in their ultra hip industrial-chic restaurant. Many people have told me that this pop-up restaurant offers crazy good and amazingly wow Mod Australian dishes and on a drizzly cold Friday lunch, I got to experience their astounding twists of flavours for myself.

Fridays at Cafe Paci mean the option of a fix prix lunch menu ($45pp) for a four and a half course meal (half course = 'snack'). For this Friday, our "snack" was their cheese sticks. Not just any cheesesticks but 'Omg what on earth is this?!?!?' cheesesticks. These deceivingly simple-looking cheese sticks were uber flakey and crunchy, topped with this fairy-floss texture which was snap frozen honey, and pollen (elderflower?) of some sort. That - and just the aromas of freshly baked goodies. It blew my mind away. Pretty good start to the meal.
We also got a loaf of potato bread. I think the waiter said something about this bread being made of potato and wheat and brushed with molasses on top to give that crunch and sweetness. The butter was also really super soft and creamy and made on the house. It's hard to say no to freshly baked bread. However, this bread was a tad dense and a tad too sweet for me.
Our first real course was Pig Tail. I've never eaten pig tail and by choice, I probably wouldn't order pig tail. However, this came out looking pretty picture perfect. The pig tail was lovely and caramelised giving a good crunch (kind of like when you eat pork crackling when you dig into some pork belly), it was super duper tender and the fat-meat ratio made this cut of meat super juicy and melt-in-your-mouth. Don't forget the awesomely sticky and delicious sauce and the thinly sliced celeriac to balance it all out. They also had some dehydrated cumquats on top to give that citrousy zing to it (kind of like when you add orange to beef cheeks). Pretty tasty introduction to pig tail I think.
Next up was a NZ snapper. Perfectly cooked fish with crispy skin. This fish sat in a pool of vadouvan (or as the waiter nicely explained - an Indian curry spice which goes well in French-inspired cooking because it blends well with garlic and shallots). There was also a lemon sauce, a super tasty spinach puree and some wilted and fresh spinach leaves. On top, there were these thin brown crispy slices of mustard. Very interesting and visually appealing dish.
With the fish came a side of potatoes. This was potatoes with a creamy potato sauce. Yes - we are talking potato puree with loads of butter and loads of cream and ZOMG let me lick the bowl clean now!
Our next dish was a palate cleanser or pre-dessert of cucumber sorbet and yoghurt mousse. This cucumber sorbet was sooooooo refreshing! I don't know how to describe it properly... You know how cucumber is 'crunchy water'? Well, cucumber sorbet is cold, smooth, tasty, refreshing water? The light yoghurt foam, which had just the right balance of sweetness, complimented the cucumber sorbet nicely.
Last course of the day was a milk sorbet with rhubarb, molasses syrup and meringue. The milk sorbet was a bit tasteless... kind of just cold texture. The thin meringue pieces were sugary goodness and the rhubarb was cooked nicely.
 All up, for $45, it was a pretty damn impressive lunch. Super delicious and really satisfying. Definitely in need of a visit if you haven't already.

Food - 9/10
Service - 7.5/10
Ambiance - 7.5/10
Value for money - 8.5/10
Overall - 32.5/40

Cafe Paci
Level 1, 95 Riley Street
NSW 2010
Tel: (02) 9368 7000