Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Trip to Port Stephen

Hello readers,

H and I will be going down to Port Stephen for the weekend. yay!
Before we go we thought we thought we'll do some research on where to eat. However, after searching long and hard (if you count 2 hours online to fit that description) I have come up with only a handful of restaurants on eatability but none by bloggers.

Can anyone recommend any good places to eat?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Max Brenner @ Bondi Junction

Max Brenner have open it doors at Bondi Junction a few months ago. Although we are regulars at their city store H and I have yet to sit down and enjoy a nice cup of hot chocolate and waffles at the Bondi Junction store. 

This past Saturday, a group of us met for dinner and decided to head to Max Brenner at Bondi Junction for dessert. We rocked up just after 9-ish and the place was pretty quiet. The girls headed to the counter to order and I have to say we were non too impressed by the lady taking our orders. She was easily distracted and preferred chit chatting with her colleagues to taking down our orders.

Anyhoo, once we have placed our orders which included six glasses of water (which we did not receive) we headed back to the table excitedly awaiting our chocolate filled desserts.

My favourite drink at Max Brenner is the Italian Thick Dark Chocolate ($5.50). I love that it is so thick and chocolate-y. No watered down hot chocolate for me! 

SY ordered the Chocolate Dip ($8) with additional bananas ($1.80). Strawberries were slightly sour but still very yummy when dipped in chocolate.

Another of my favourites is the Chocolate Souffle ($9.50). This however was a disappointment as the chocolate sauce in the middle was still hard and cold :( They were also pretty stingy with the chocolate sauce drizzled on top.
And finally, a piece of Belgium Waffle ($5.00) with a side of strawberries ($2.50). Again I was disappointed by the lack of chocolate sauce drizzled on top even though I've asked for extra chocolate sauce. The waffle was also slightly too soft like it's been out for too long.

If you can't tell by now, I am a total chocolate addict! A question for you readers, is it just me with the constant complaint of "not enough chocolate sauce" or do ppl feel that way too? 

Max Brenner @ Bondi Junction
Shop 6007, Level 6, Westfield 
500 Oxford Street 
Bondi Junction 2022 NSW

Mon - Thurs - 9.30am - 11pm
Fri - 9.30am - 12 midnight
Sat - 9am - 12 midnight
Sun - 9am - 11pm

10% surcharge on weekends and public holidays


H's birthday just passed a few weeks ago and we had our special dinner for 2 at Bilson's, Radisson Hotel. It was a beautiful evening where we feasted (eyes and taste buds) on a beautifully prepared degustation menu complemented by an equally gorgeous selection of wines. The selected wines complemented each dish like a match made in heaven. We were also very taken in by the passionate and knowledgeable sommelier, Russel.

A glass of champagne each to start the night! They were gorgeously light and bubbly. 

Bread was warm sourdough slice with traditional french butter. The sourdough was beautifully soft and light.

When the friendly and professional waitstaff served us the amuse bouche our eyes lit up with delight. It was a slice of smoked wagyu beef topped with lightly pan-fried shallots and mayonnaise. The wagyu just melted on my tongue with a slight smoky aftertaste. It was to die for. This dish was also the first of many beautifully presented, yummy, food.

First course was cannelloni of tasmanian ocean trout, celeriac and spanner crab remoulade. I'm not a big fan of bitter-ish food but the celeriac wasn't very bitter as it was mixed in with the crab remoulade and rolled like a sushi roll with ocean trout. Also on the plat e was a teaspoon full of pureed avocado and crisp bread. These were yummy on its own but really brought out the flavours of the tasmanian ocean trout / crab roll.

Petite salade of braised oxtail and rock oyster accompanied with champagne jelly. I'll start with the oyster half of this dish. I am not a fan of oysters and will try to get out of eating any if I can but this time I just had to try it. It came with champagne jelly(!) that still tasted bubbly. The oyster was delicious. This was the smoothest and creamiest oyster I've ever had and accompanied with champagne jelly; just delicious! The braised oxtail was even yummier. One bite and the flavours just burst forth. I love the smell and taste of a heady beef bourguignon and this tiny slices just packed that kinda flavours.

Boudin of red mullet, squid ink jelly and bouillabaisse sauce. I just love the bouillabaisse sauce. This had been simmered down to a thick sauce so flavourful I can't find words to describe it. It is also a good accompaniment to the creaminess of red mullet and squid ink jelly. 

I just love the onions in this dish of pan roasted hiramasa kingfish with romesco sauce and textures of onion. The onion on the right side of the plate was an air dried (I think) slice of onion. I don't know exactly how they made this but the onion was just full of natural sweetness. The other onion on the left side of this dish was my favourite. It was perfectly roasted, sweet and slightly crunchy. The fish was beautifully cooked too but I just can't stop thinking of the onions.

The start of 2 meat dishes with the first being roasted partridge "en salmis", with smoked pain perdu and foie gras. I've never eaten partridge before and this dish did not disappoint. The partridge was tender, juicy and tasty! The best however, was the pain perdu or french toast with a layer of fois gras. Imagine biting into rich fois gras that melts into a warm and inviting french toast. Just writing this is making my mouth water and my taste buds craving for more. Digressing from the topic at hand, I just have to state that Bilsons also do a la carte dinner so one can actually go an enjoy this dish by itself ($50 for mains) without forking out $165 for the degustation.

Dry aged black angus sirloin "Facon" bourguignon. I love a good steak and this is the best. The meat was cooked with minimal seasoning to let the natural flavours shine through. The crouton-like-squares are actually bone marrow! So yummy with the bourguignon sauce.   

Petit fromage affine - Goat cheese with black truffles (Tibetan Tuber Melanicum) and.. I can't remember what the sauce was called. I didn't like this dish as I felt the goat cheese was too pungent in taste and smell although H loved it and finish off both mine and his. The truffles were good though so I had most of it before handing my plate over to H to finish off the cheese. hehe

Dessert time! They have the best desserts here. This dish is cherries and fresh almond, amaretto cream and frozen milk. Superb quality ingredients make for the best tasting dessert. Everything tasted good good good!

My all-time favourite is this Assiette of dark bitter chocolate. It was a combination of chocolate chip ice cream, chocolate mousse, crumbly chocolate cookie, dark chocolate, chocolate brownie  and a triangle of chocolate... I know there's a word for what it's called but my brain just don't want to give it to me. Sorry!

We ended the night with petits fours. We started from the right with the pistachio macaroons. These were gorgeously yummy. My memory is playing up again and I can't remember what the next petit fours was called or made up of other than there were strawberries in them and that they were spongy. The final 'sweet' for the night was creamy white chocolate encasing a mousse like orange flavoured chocolate. Delicious!

I cannot stop raving about Bilsons to anyone who will listen and I truly believe that they justly deserve the 3 hats they were awarded with.

Bilson's Restaurant
Radisson Plaza Hotel Sydney
27 O'Connell Street
Sydney NSW 2000

(02) 8214 0496

Lunch: Friday : 12 pm - 2.30 pm
Dinner:  Tues - Sat : 6 pm - 10 pm

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Yum Cha @ Marigold

H and I haven't had yum cha in a while so one Saturday we decided to head down to Chinatown for a yum cha fix. Our first choice Zilver was packed full of people inside and out on the waiting area. We tried squeezing towards the lady at the counter calling out numbers to get our ticket but she was packed in by vultures; their beady eyes staring and making sure she didn't skip their number. Frustrated by these inconsiderate people blocking our path to the counter we headed off to Marigold.

When we arrived at Marigold, the place was packed too. At least the Marigold management had the decency to ensure a proper queue and wait system. We waited in line for less than 15 minutes  but noticed that it would have been quicker if we were a party of three or more people.

First dish off the push-cart was Chicken Bun. The bun was warm and spongy but there wasn't much chicken meat in there though :(

Next up were the deep fried scallops with mayonnaise on the side. These are my favourite. Crispy shell on the outside and tender moist scallops on the inside. The mayo here at Marigold is fantastic. It was light and airy; tangy but still kinda sweet.

Salt and pepper squid. The batter was light and crispy.. Yum!

Vegetarian Dumplings. This was a disappointment. I found the dumpling skin to be overly thick, masking the taste of the vegetables within. 

"Chee cheong fan" or prawn roll is one of my favourite dishes at yum cha. However the one at Marigold, similar to the vegetarian dumplings, had an overly thick flour wrapping which overpowered the prawns and light soy poured on top. 

Duck feet. We thought these were chicken feet at first but upon closer inspection realised that we had ordered the wrong dish. Well we're game for trying new things so we had a go at duck feet. From my first bite I knew that this was just not my cup of tea.   

Dessert time and my favourite; egg tarts! These were good except that they were cold. I've always loved Marigold's egg tarts. 

We also ordered the "tau fu fa". A pudding like dessert made from soy beans eaten hot or cold with sweetened ginger syrup. A good tau fu fa should be very smooth but the ones at Marigold were a huge disappointment. They were not smooth at all and were in fact quite bland.  

Citymark Building
Level 5, 683-689 George Street
Haymarket NSW 2000

(02) 9281 3388

Monday, March 16, 2009

Pinangsia @ Kingsford

Pinangsia is a tiny Indonesian eatery located on Anzac Parade in Kingsford. My first visit was with a bunch of Indonesian friends who raved about this being one of the most authentic Indonesian food in Sydney. It is always a good sign when natives of the country actually frequent an eatery that serves their local food.  

Last Saturday we decided to head down to Pinangsia for lunch.

Bakso goreng here is the best, albeit on the oily side. The meatball has just the right combination of meat and flour thus creating a smooth textured meatball.  

H's mee tek tek (fried noodle) is made up of noodles stir fried with cabbage and chicken meat. It comes with a side of pickled cucumbers and carrots and topped with prawn crackers. This is really tasty.

I can't remember what this dish is called but it's a giant fish cake in a mixture of sweetened vinegar with a side of cucumber and noodles. Am not a big fan of this dish as I find that there's more flour then fish in this dish but H loves it. He gets this almost every time we come to eat here. 

Bakmi ayam is a noodle dish topped with braised shredded chicken and mushrooms. It usually comes with a bowl of clear soup and a deep fried wanton (the yellow wrinkly thing on the top). This afternoon, the chicken was actually pretty dry and there wasn't much mushroom in the dish. :(

319 Anzac Parade
Kingsford NSW 2022

(02) 9697 0788

Opens Wednesday - Sundays

Monday, March 9, 2009

PC gone kaput

Hi guys,

Many apologies for not posting the past 2 weeks. My PC has gone kaput. Even though I've bought a mac (I'm loving it!) I'm still trying to learn to re-size pictures using apperture / iphotos. Any advise?

In the pasts 2 week I've been out to a number of eateries;
- Mini blogger gathering @ Lowenbrau
- Cafe Mix 2
- Pinangsia @ Kingsford
- Marigold

Stay tune for more updates - hopefully by the end of the week.