Saturday, May 31, 2008

Cafe Sydney

From the first time I set my eyes on Cafe Sydney, I was in love with the place. Cafe Sydney is decorated in dark wooden floors and deep chocolate colour decor finished off with low lights, one have to watch carefully where you're going as it's so dim or risk tripping over. If gives of a welcoming, warm and cosy, atmosphere just right for a romantic dinner for two overlooking the Harbour Bridge or just to have a good dinner with friends. They also have a live jazz band on Sunday afternoons.

We are usually there for cocktails but last night we were there for dinner. First off, getting a booking was hard. We had to decide between dinner at 6pm leaving at 8pm or coming in after 9pm to wait for a table. We choose to have the earlier seating.

OK lets talk about food. To start, we had 3 entrees to share between the 5 of us. Peppered Wagyu Beef carpaccio which I found to be slightly too oily. Kingfish carpaccio with grape fruit which was not bad but the Kingfish was slice really really thinly and last but not least the Crumbed Crab Cake with Grilled Prawns, which I thought was the best out of the 3. However, some thought the Kingfish was the best.

Now, mains, I had the Wagyu beef sirloin steak with onion relish. The wagyu steak itself wasn't that great (Kingsley Waygu steak is much nicer). They probably use a lower marbled wagyu. Furthermore, the steak was cool - not cold but not warm enough for my liking. The onion relish was delish though and goes really well with steak.
Hairul and Steve had the the Grilled beef tenderloin with beef cheeks. I had a taste of Hairul. It was ok, not spectacular. Hairul said the Beef Cheeks tastes like corn beef. It was definately something different though.
Amy had Tortellini with Duck Breast. The dish came out with ONE tortellini and 5 slices of very thin duck breast. She said it tastes good but will have to go to maccas later....
Cindy had the peppered venison which looked really really good. The meat looked really soft and tender. Probably the best out of all our mains.

Dessert - We had chocolate pudding, strawberry and vanilla trifle, poached autumn fruits and the banana tart tatin. The desserts were good but nothing spectacular. Not somewhere I would go out of the way for, for desserts.

Overall, I was disappointed with the food (probably due to my excessively high expectation) but I wouldn't cross this place out of my list. The ambience was still really good and service was great too.

Umi Kaiten Zushi

From the outside looking in, through the glass windows, the first thing you see is the huge aquarium filled with little fishies. The waiter and waitresses were very friendly and attentive, and the best part was when you go to sit, the chair actually has a compartment under the seat where you can put your bag in. No more uncomfortably holding on to your bag on your lap when going to sushi train!

There were typical sushi-train fare but also some very interesting ones as well. Hairul and I loved the deep-fried prawns and deep-fried fish. The kind where you can just munch and crunch through skin, heads and all. The unagi roll was really good too. It's the best I've had at a sushi train as the texture of the unagi was really smooth (kinda melts in your mouth).

It's a must-try for the huge aquarium and wide variety of sushi.

Sorry ppl for the one lonely picture for this place. I was to embarass to take more with ppl looking at me like a "sua-ku" in a restaurant!

Umi Kaiten Zushi
Level Ground, Shop 1, 477 Pitt Str (Cnr Hay & Parker St) Haymarket
NSW 2000

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Azuma - Is it worth the $$$?

Azuma has been hailed as one of the best Japanese restaurant in Sydney. However, it has a reputation for expensive dishes that doesn't fill up ones appetite. Filled with anticipation, yet apprehensive of what the food would be like we headed of to Azuma for our 6.30 booking to celebrate H's birthday.

Upon arrival we were warmly welcomed and showed to our seats by the window. We started with the Azuma cocktails while we peruse the many dishes on the menu. A 10 course degustation menu starts from $110. We decided however on the a-la-carte menu. We ordered seared salmon belly nigiri sushi, inside out soft shell crab sushi, tuna and salmon sashimi, king prawn tempura, wagyu beef carpaccio, wagyu beef steak with garlic soy sauce, grilled breast of duck, grilled cod fillet.

Wagyu Beef Carpaccio

Wagyu Beef Steak and King Prawn Tempura

Grill Breast of Duck

The best dish that I can't stop raving about is the seared salmon belly nigiri sushi. It is well worth the money even if it is a tiny portion. You don't eat this dish with soy sauce as per normal sushi, as the taste and texture of this combination is just divine on its own. Would go just to eat this! Next up is the wagyu beef steak with garlic soy. The quality of the meat is soooo good. It holds flavours really well and is still tender and juicy. Wagyu beef carpaccio, of the same meat as the steak, just melts in your mouth. Yum! The grilled cod fish was really fresh. The taste took some getting used to at first (I didn't expect grilled first to taste sweet) but it grows on you and it is one that I would recommend. Duck was good too. The meat was cooked to perfection. Pink on the inside and crispy outside. The sauce on top was not bad too, however, it has a striking resemblance to Peking Duck! The other dishes were just normal-you-can-get-them-everywhere dishes. Don't go for the tempura king prawn as the prawn itself was really small, and the prawn meat was soft. Not worth the $4.50 each price tag.

Oh, the service and ambience was excellent too. I'm just too blown away by the food to talk/write about anything else. Well worth the money for the quality of the food. Will definitely go again soon....

2 Chifley Square
Sydney NSW 2000