Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Napoli In Bocca

Napoli In Bocca is a family run restaurant situated just off Ramsay Street. It's a popular place so be sure to make a booking. We rocked up at 4pm to make a booking for 6pm dinner and was told that they could fit us in if we left by 7pm!

6pm sharp and we were at the front of Napoli waiting to be seated. Once seated and food ordered we took in the decor of the place. What stands out most was the table setting and the red and white checked table cloth... so quaint..

Carnavale Pizza($18) - If my memory serves me right the pizza consists of ham, mushroom, olives... hmm.... OK I have to admit, I've forgotten what's actually in the pizza and the 3 ingredient stated above were actually what I could make out from the pic above :) But I definitely remembered that there were more then 3 ingredients in the pizza! And it was an AWESOME pizza - simple, fresh ingredients and a light pizza base.

We also ordered the Linguine Vongole ($20) which was on their Specials for that night. It looked huge with equal number of pasta and vongole. The dish was simple, rustic and delicious.

Last dish of the night was the chilli mussels ($22) that came with a basket of bread. The tomato sauce was tasty but not the best I've tasted. Mussels were fresh as expected from the quality of the other dishes.

This place is a real find. We had the 3 dishes above and a litre of house wine and only ended up paying $25 each. Great food at really good value.

Napoli In Bocca
73 Dalhousie Street
Haberfield NSW 2045

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Dolcissimo Ristorante

After our scrumptious dinner at Napoli In Bocca we headed down Ramsay Street to Dolcissimo in search of something that will cure us of our sweet tooth as well as coffee / hot chocolate. The restaurant itself was full with dinner patrons when we walked in but that didn't stop them from welcoming us warmly in for just desserts and coffee. What great and friendly service!

They had an array of cakes and biscuit goodies but we decided on the 3 flavour gelato in a cup ( $5.50) instead as we were just stuff full from the other place.

We choose from left to right; Chocolate, Pistachio and Blueberry flavoured gelato.
The chocolate sorbet was really rich and chocolate-y. In fact, it was actually richer and more chocolate-y compared to Gelatomessina's version of chocolate sorbet! The pistachio flavour however was not as good as I expected. There was no taste or hint of pistachio other then the colour. It also had a very distinct almond taste. Blueberry gelato tasted just like bubblegum! hehe That brought me down memory lane to when I was still a young 10 year old pestering my mum to buy me all the different flavoured bubblegum.

Hot Chocolate ($3.50) was pretty good. It was very chocolate-y!

This place was packed full with patrons. Even when we left at 9pm people were still coming in for dinner. We decided that we would have to come back one day to try the food.

Gozleme @ Birkenhead Point

I've been wanting to go to Birkenhead Point (known as BP from here onwards) for a while now as I needed to buy clothes for work. Our other purpose of going there was to eat gozleme from the Gozleme Shop at BP. They open up shop about a year or two ago (I can't really recall now when they started up at BP) but they are actually the same people that sold Gozleme in Glebe Markets. The stall in Glebe is no longer running since they are here now and doing really well too I might add.

We arrived at BP during lunch time, 1pm, and there was already a snaking line of about 10 people at the Gozleme store and more joining in every minute. We dutifully stood in line and peruse the board. There were 4 different types of filling one could get in one's Gozleme; Chicken, Beef, Sausages and Potatoes (Vegetarian option). H decided on Chicken and I got the Sausage.

They never disappoint in quality and taste. The pastry was crisp on the outside but still chewy and warm on the inside. The mince chicken was very tasty and went nicely with the spinach, cheese and pastry.

I decided to get the sausage filling as I've never tried this type of filling before. The sausage tasted like Spanish salami and adding it into Gozleme, it tasted exactly like pizza. I enjoyed eating this but I still prefer the chicken filling as it's less salty and oily.

Gozleme @ Birkenhead Point
Roseby Street
Drummoyne NSW 2047

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Tetsuya (part1)

It has always been my dream to go to Tetsuya and on Friday 13th February 2009 H actually brought me there for a late birthday / pre-valentine's day dinner. He's so sweet :)

Walking in from the rain and cold we were warmly greeted by the cosy interior of Tetsuya's restaurant and the friendly wait staff. After signing in our umbrella at the entrance we were shown to our seats overlooking the peaceful mini Japanese garden, with a little pond and 3 tier mini waterfall. The light raindrops falling on the water surface of the pond together with the wet garden made it even more surreal; like spring in Japan.

Once seated we peruse the drinks menu. H ordered the Sloeberry Bomb cocktail and I got the Jade cocktail. Both were very smoothly blended. Compliments to the bartender.

Jade (left) and Sloeberry Bomb (right)

Sourdough Bread with Truffle Butter - This was just so delish. I love sourdough bread and this was one of the best I've ever had. I could just eat it on it's own without any butter or spread. However, once paired with the truffle butter and a little sprinkle of rock salt, oh my god, words just can't describe it. The waitstaff asked if I wanted another once I've finished off the bread but I decided against it lest I would be too full to finish all 12 courses.

Our first course was Chilled Corn Soup with Saffron and Vanilla Ice Cream. The corn soup was surprisingly sweet, but not in a 'sugar added' kind of way, but just by the great quality and freshness of the corn. Texture-wise, the soup was very smooth with just the right consistency.

Oysters with Tetsuya's famous oyster vinaigrette. We only got one serve of the oysters as I'm not too fond of them but H loves them. He says they are the best oysters he's ever had even though he normally prefers his oysters "au naturel". We paid $9 for the 2 oysters which is pretty cheap considering the dining establishment.

Next up was the Smoked Ocean Trout with Avruga Caviar and a semi-cooked egg yolk. I'm having trouble describing the degree of cook-ness (? don't think that is a word) of the egg yolk; it wasn't half boiled with liquid egg yolk pouring out, but it wasn't boiled egg yolk either which is crumbly. It's sort of semi solid. Later on, I discovered from an article from another foodie blogger (http://talennyn.blogspot.com/2008/12/tetsuyas.html) that the egg yolk was actually a frozen raw egg yolk! It created the "feel" of it being cooked. Boy, were we duped! Anyhow, the waitstaff advised that Tetsuya recommend that we mix all 3 ingredients together in order to bring out the wholesome taste that Tetsuya had created. I've never actually tasted anything like it. A very rich dish with the smokiness of the ocean trout, saltiness of the Avruga caviar and the creaminess of the egg yolk all in one. I loved the taste immediately on first bite.

Leek and Crab Custard - This reminds me of chawanmushi and was one of my favourite dish of the night. Steamed egg with tiny crab meat topped with a rich miso soup and 2 drops of leek flavoured oil. I love how the rich miso soup added an extra dimension to the light taste of very smooth egg custard. Couldn't taste much of the crab though as they were tiny but they did add flavour to the custard.

From right to left; Marinated Scampi w/ White Miso and Passionfruit, Scampi in Sea Water and Lemon Scented Olive Oil and Grilled Scampi Wrapped in Pancetta. I didn't know scampi could taste like this! Although I must admit my past affair with scampi was mostly of the deep-fried frozen kind while I was living on a student budget in the UK. We started off from right to left as per the waitstaff's direction. The meat of the marinated scampi in white miso was just so sweet. It was like eating raw prawns (scampi are deep sea prawns so I guess I am eating raw prawns) but scampi meat is just so much sweeter than normal prawns. The white miso marinade married with the little passionfruit sauce really accentuates the sweetness of the scampi. Fantastic!

Next was the Scampi in Sea Water and Lemon Scented Olive Oil. H and I had a mini debate over whether the "sea water" here could be man-made salt water or actual sea water? We finally agreed that it was actual sea water as there is no escaping the distinct smell of sea water. I think the saltiness of the sea water made the scampi meat taste all the more sweeter but the meat was not as sweet as the scampi with white miso. The waitstaff advised us to slowly pull the skewered scampi out of the glass so that it gets coated generously with the olive oil layer.

The final scampi on this course was the Grilled Scampi in Pancetta. Very yummy. Having the grilled scampi last made me appreciate the texture of cooked scampi versus raw scampi. The cooked scampi was more succulent and juicer compared to the other two but the meat was not as sweet. Still, all were yummy and I will never look at scampi ever the same again.

Tetsuya's signature dish - Confit of Petuna Tasmanian Ocean Trout with Konbu, Apple, and Daikon. This dish is sooo good. I love how the konbu flavour permeates and complements the ocean trout, roe, apple and daikon. I am in love with this dish! The trout was easy to slice and the moment it finds my tongue, the flesh of the trout melted away. When eaten together with the roe and the apple and daikon mix, the taste was indescribable. I told H that eating this dish made me feel like I was home. I felt safe. Never have I thought that food could make me feel that way.

Terrine of Queensland Spanner Crab with Avocado Soup - The dish is the weakest link out of all the dishes we had tonight. Not to say that the dish was horrible, the crab meat was actually very fresh and sweet. However, I didn't think that the avocado soup complemented or added to the taste of the crab meat / dish.

Fillet of Barramundi with Braised Baby Fennel. Catching a whiff of this dish reminded me of the Chinese steamed fish with soy sauce and spring onions but it tasted nothing like that. Tetsuya's Barramundi has a very delicate and mild flavour, focusing one's attention to the freshness of the fish and the tenderness of the meat. I'm not a big fan of fennel but this was actually really good - sweet and juicy.

We are now at the end of the seafood dishes and starting on the meat section. At this point my stomach is almost reaching it's full capacity but I resolve to soldier on...

See Tetsuya (part 2) for continuation of our Tetsuya experience.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Tetsuya (part2)

Continuation from Tetsuya (part 1)

The start of the meat section;

Breast of Duck with Braised Witlof and Sansho topped with Walnut Jus. This was cooked to perfection, the meat was so delicate in taste; tender and juicy. I also loved the walnut jus. It was rich and comforting and brought out the natural flavour of the duck. It was also gorgeously presented. Don't you think so?

Ohh.. one of my favourite dishes of the night; Grass Fed Angus Beef with Asian Mushrooms. The beef slices were just the right thickness and cooked just right (medium rare) that it reminded me of eating quality beef tongue. First bite and the juices of the beef came forth like a dam bursting, causing all the natural beef juiciness to overflow over your tastebuds. Yes, the meat is that good. And, the Asian mushrooms were to die for. The flavours were just so very delicate, smooth and rich. I could eat this everyday and not get bored.

Palate cleansers - We were served Heidi Gruyere Cheese with Sweetened Lentils. The lentils reminded me of the Chinese red bean dessert and while I couldn't taste much of the Gruyere I think it added a creamy flavour to the lentils. Something very different but it did the trick of cleansing your tastebuds in readiness for desserts.

Desserts started with White Peach Sorbet w/ Champagne Jelly (left) and Tetsuya's version of Strawberry Shortcake (right). I'm not a big fan of peaches so I can't really say if the sorbet tasted like peach or not. However, the champagne jelly was fantastic. It tasted like real champagne; fizzies and all. I would love to get my hands on the recipe =)
For the strawberry shortcake we were instructed to mixed the two layers and cream (at the top) together before we ate them and wow!- I never thought strawberry shortcake could taste so heavenly.

Lemon Scented Floating Island with Vanilla Bean Anglaise. This was my first time eating meringue prepared in this way. It was soft and creamy and tasted like icing sugar (haha) I love the preserved lemon on the top but stopped at the grapefruit which was really sour (I'm not a big fan of sour foods). Although this dish wouldn't be my first choice if I had to choose a dessert for myself, it was still something very unique in taste and texture.

Last of the desserts; Chocolate Ganache with Green Tea and Red Bean. I love anything with chocolate and this didn't disappoint. The chocolate ganache was house in the chocolate spaceship atop the green tea and red bean chocolate rock formation at the bottom. The chocolate ganache was very very yummy due to the top quality chocolate used in making it. However, I didn't think that the chocolate green tea and red beans complemented the chocolate ganache. The chocolate ganache spaceship was rich and chocolate-ty while the green tea and red bean combo was much sweeter and lighter. I didn't think they went well together but H loved the combination. Maybe it's because I was so full (I was ready to throw up by this time) that I just couldn't eat another mouthful or even savour and taste properly which is a shame. For the first time, there was actually chocolate dessert left on the plate when it was taken away by the waitstaff!

We ended the night with petit fours. I was really very full by this time and my tummy was about to explode but how can I resist not having these. From left to right:
Chocolate and Pink Peppercorn Macaroons with Lemon Curd. I put the whole thing in my mouth (well they were tiny) and got a mouthful of sour lemon curd! But after a while, when the rich chocolate and peppercorn were well mixed with the lemon curd they actually tasted really nice. A good combination, but be prepared for a dose of sourness on the first bite.
Next was the Green Tea Marshmallow. I've never tried a green tea flavoured marshmallow before and it was actually pretty good. The marshmallow however was not as spongy as normal marshmallows. It was light and soft yet creamy to the bite.
The third from left, I can't recall what it was called but it had hazelnuts (I think or some kind of nuts) rolled in palm sugar dough and coated with dessicated coconut. H says that it reminded him of a Malay dessert from Singapore / Malaysia - coconut candy!
The last of the petit fours was the Macadamia biscuit. The crumbly kind that melts in your mouth. Very yummy.

The night lasted 4 hours and cost us $547 in total which is made up of 2 degustation menu ($195 ea), 1 accompanying wine degustation ($90), 1 plate consisting of 2 oysters ($9), 2 sparkling mineral water ($8ea) and 2 cocktails ($42 for the two).

I've never been to any other top 10 restaurants in the world so I can't really say if he is indeed worthy of being one of the top chef and restaurant of our time but to me he has the best food I've tasted so far. I would love to go back again (another year or two of saving) but this time I will have to figure out an eating game plan that won't make me feel like throwing up by the end of the night.

529 Kent Street
NSW 200

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Kingsford Chinese Restaurant

This place brings back memories of uni days where my brother and I would drive down to this place and order 4-5 dishes and the waitress will always say 'that's too much for the both of you!' to which we reply 'can we get some take away boxes too' hehe. We love variety in our meal and as KCR always serves huge portions at really reasonable prices we tend to order more and take away the rest for lunch and dinner the day after.

H has been craving for salt and pepper squid for days so this was the first dish we decided upon. It came piled high on a huge plate and out mouths just started salivating. The batter was light and crispy. It's slightly too salty but still makes you reach for more each time even if you're stuffed full to the brim and have to unbutton your pants.

Even though H and I ordered just 3 dishes we still had to take away the peking spare ribs. The spare ribs were actually a bit of a disappointment this time round. There was more fatty bits then actual meat on this plate. I don't mind some fatty bits as they taste soo yummy but biting into something that's just all fats is wrong!

For our healthy option of the day we choose steamed chinese broccoli with oyster sauce which cost only $5.90. What a bargain as you'll never get a plate of vegies for this price and it tastes good too.

Kingsford Chinese Restaurant
426 Anzac Parade
Kingsford NSW 2032