Thursday, April 23, 2009


We've heard many good things about Istana and so on a Sunday night, 8 of us decided to head down to Thornleigh for a mini Malaysian feast.  
We started off with complimentary soup; which was pretty standard fare as in most Asian restaurants.

First to arrive was the Hainanese Chicken Rice. The rice was tasty and pretty authentic and the chicken was smooth and silky. However, I still can't stop thinking about the Hainanese Chicken Rice at Kopitiam.

Fish Head Curry. I have to admit, I can't really remember what my thoughts were when eating this dish but I vaguely recalled that it passed the taste test. Oh, I also recalled someone saying that it's all flour and not much fish but considering this is fish head, there ain't suppose to be much meat in it. But H said that it was not what he expected as it failed his authenticity test. But I think he's being unfair, he compared it to the famous Muthu's Fish Head Curry in Singapore!

Kangkung Belacan (Water-spinach in shrimp paste). I was expecting the pungent taste and smell of shrimp paste but this dish had a whole lot of dried shrimp instead. It's a good dish, don't get me wrong, just not what I was expecting. 

Oyster Omelette. This reminded me of late nights in Malaysia; heading out to some side street stalls for a late night snack. The omelette seems all egg and not much of the flour-y bits which is an integral part of this dish. It was nice, however, a far cry from what you get in Malaysia / Singapore. 
King Prawns and Tofu Hot Pot. The tofu was homemade and tasted delicious. There was a nice amount of prawns balanced with a variety of seasonal vegetables.

Last dish of the night, Lemongrass Pork. This dish reminded me of the Vietnamese version with the same name. Not as nice as the latter version but still good enough for my taste buds. 

238 Pennant Hills Road
Thornleigh NSW 2120

Tel: (02) 9481 8855

Monday, April 20, 2009


Friday night, it's late, and I'm famished. H and I choose the first place we see on Hunter Street which is Sushiwa. 
It's a Sushi Train!!

Salmon Nigiri w/ Roe on top

Seared Scallops Nigiri

Mini Tuna Roll

Unagi Nigiri

Fusion - crabstick & tamagoyaki topped w/ seared(?) cheese mayo - This is actually pretty yummy.

Salmon and avocado roll

We also ordered an Unagi bowl. This dish was pretty tiny but the unagi is not bad.

15 Hunter St
Sydney NSW 2000

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Red Neds Gourmet Pie Bar

We chanced upon this tiny pie bar, Red Neds Gourmet Pie Bar, while exploring the streets of Nelson Bay.  To our surprise this humble looking shop has been winning awards not only in the Port Stephen / NSW region but also as far away as Hobart and Queensland. 

Wall of Fame

This is the only complete picture of a pie from our mid-morning snack at Red Neds.  We were all famished that I completely forgot to take the camera out. The above pic is the creamy chicken and mushroom with mash and peas. I didn't get a taste of this but I was told by C that it was delicious. 

A half eaten picture of my Beef Stroganoff Pie in Sour Cream Onions and Mushrooms. This was superliciously yummy. The sauce was just amazing - rich, tasty and just the right consistency. I dare say this would give Bourke St Bakery a run for their money.

If you're wondering the name Red Neds originated from master pie maker Barry Kelly's last name Kelly which is synonomous with the infamous Ned Kelly, and Red from Red Kelly, the father of Ned Kelly. 

Red Neds 
Shop 3/17-19 Stockton Street
Nelson Bay NSW 2315

(02) 4984 1355

Open 6am - 5pm 

Monday, April 13, 2009

Zest Restaurant

Dinner time at Port Stephen and we've made a booking at Glenn Thompson's award winning restaurant Zest (awarded one chef's hat by the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide). The food was fabulous and the chef's hat; justly deserved.
We started off with the sourdough with truffle butter ($2.50 for 2 slices). Yes we had to pay for bread, but a 2 course dinner costs $60 pp and a 3 course dinner $70 pp at Zest. We were happy with adding an additional $2.50 onto our bill considering a 3 course dinner inclusive of free bread would, in a one chef hat establishment in Sydney, have set us back at least a $100 pp.  


Duck Confit w/ Baby Spinach & Speck, Jus Gras

Veal Carpaccio w a Smoked  Capsicum Dressing, Whipped Lemon Oil, Capers & Fennel

Scallops & Quail Boudin w/ a Parsley & Lentil Salad, Bordelaise Sauce

Sauteed Garlic Snails w/ Potato and Mint Tortellini, Salsa Verde

Black Angus Scotch Fillet w/ Pomme Mousseline, Roasted Beetroot, Watercress Gel, Red Wine Sauce - Divine!

Pan Fried Snapper w/ Salted Zucchini, Fennel, Kipflers, Mussel & Saffron Dressing 

Slow cooked WA Lamb w/ Peas, Iceberg, Feta & Black Olive Crumble

Passionfruit Souffle w/ a Raspberry Sorbet

Chocolate & Liquorice Parfait w/ Blackberry Compote & Coconut

Creme Catalan w/ Mixed Berries/ Pistachio Coulis & Strawberry Dust

Fig Galette w/ Muscovado Ice Cream & Honeycomb

Rhubarb Assiette - Creme Brulee, Sorbet, Ravioli, Foam & Tuille Biscuit

Zest Restaurant
16 Stockton Street
Nelson Bay NSW 2315

Tel: (02) 4984 2211

Open: Tues - Sat 6.30pm

Monday, April 6, 2009


We arrived at Port Stephen, famished and craving for fish and chips. As it was our first time there, we guessed our best bet for fish n chips would be at the marina. Sandbar Seafood Takeaway, with it's close proximity to the entrance of the marina (it is located just to the left of the entrance) caught our eye. 

Our eyes quickly scanned the menu and the majority of the group ordered either Fish n Chips ($9.90) or the special of the day 'Seafood Mix Grill' ($24.50).   

The fish and chips were nothing to shout about. Although the batter was nice and golden, the fish itself was of the frozen variety and tasted pretty bland. The chips on the other hand were very tasty and cooked just the way I like it; crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. 

A big let down was the Seafood Mix Grill! The boys had qualms over the portion size of this dish. For $24.50 one would expect to get a pretty substantial amount of seafood but alas, this was not the case. Furthermore, the majority of the seafood on the plate were of the frozen variety and were either over cooked (mussels) or not very cooked (prawns, fish, squid) at all. 

One member of the gang had the seafood pasta ($18.90). I didn't get a chance to taste this but she commented that it was something you could get out of a bottle. 

To summarise our experience; well lets just say we were none too happy with our first meal in Port Stephen. 

Sandbar Seafood Takeaway
Nelson Bay Marina
Teramby Road
Nelson Bay NSW 2315

ps. We also had to fork out an additional 30 cents for tartar sauce to go with our fish and chips and for tomato ketchup too as I wanted some to go with my fries / chips!