Sunday, May 31, 2009

Shang Palace

A recent addition to the number of eateries in Kingsford is Shang Palace, a Taiwanese eatery that not only serves huge portions but at very affordable prices.

We started off with the Spiced Tofu & Egg ($4.50). This dish came out in one of those round take-away containers which was a huge turn off. Taste wise, they are not as flavourful as some but not the worst I've tasted.

We also ordered the Chicken in Wine Sauce ($4.50) which also came in a plastic container. H didn't like this at all. I would rate this a 2.5 out of 5. There was a slight hint of wine overpowered by gelatinous stock.

I was very excited when I spot this dish on the menu - Fish Fillet in Sweet Corn Sauce ($8.90). The sweet corn sauce was fabulous and the fish was chunky and pretty meaty. However, 3/4 way through I was feeling a little bleugh. Could it be due to the oily deep fried fish fillet or just too much food on a plate?

H ordered the Spicy Fish Fillet ($8.90). The fish fillet, similar to mine, was chunky and meaty; unlike some eateries where there's more batter then fish. They made this with lots of garlic and chilli which was very tasty. Yummy!


Shang Palace
470 Anzac Parade
Kingsford NSW 2032


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sushi Tei

The usual suspects agreed on meeting for yum cha on Mother's day (I know I know, Mother's Day was ages ago but I just wasn't in the right frame of mine to blog about Sushi Tei or maybe I was just lazy hehe but here it is..). We had arranged to meet for yum cha at Sky Phoenix, Pitt St mall, to beat the Mother's Day crowd which we thought would have converged in Chinatown but we were sorely mistaken as even Sky Phoenix was booked out until 3pm. Thus we began our 45 minutes trek across city north in search of something decent to eat. After walking through Pitt St down to Martin Place then on to George St and finally Hunter St we decided on Sushi Tei as we were getting desperate; desperately hungry.

H and I had been here once before when they first opened in Sydney but didn't find the food particularly enticing. However, this recent visit proved us wrong and we are already planning to go back for their buffet which is only available Saturdays and Sundays from 11am - 2pm (but not on this particular day as it was Mother's Day. Just our luck!).

SY and 'lil Sis ordered the Udon Noodle Soup. I can't remember now what exactly they had  ordered but this was finished off pretty quickly, soup and all. 

SY also ordered sushi. The one closest to the camera was Raw Squid and at the back Salmon Roe. The squid was delicious. The meat sweet and juicy. 

'lil Sis too was still hungry after the udon and ordered a Sashimi Salad. The sashimi was very fresh and the salad was huge.

J "the NAB man" ordered the Katsu Curry w/ Rice. I didn't get a chance to taste this but he said it was OK but have tasted better.

C, the wife-to-be of the NAB man ordered the Beef and Sashimi Nigiri Set. The set came with a salad, miso soup, some sort of tuna mash, chawanmushi and dessert which was coffee jelly. The sushi looked great on the plate and was as expected; fresh fresh fresh. 

Finally, the last three of the group ordered the Grilled Fish and Sashimi Combo. I'm getting bored of typing "the sashimi was fresh" but yes it was as fresh as can be. The grilled fish was superb; meaty and cooked to perfection. I LOVED the chawanmushi. Sushi Tei's version of chawanmushi was made up of steamed egg custard, filled with slices of mushroom, chunks of chicken and prawn. This was a huge improvement from the first time we were here. Also included in the combo are miso soup, salad, tuna mash, rice and coffee jelly.

Sushi Tei was established in Singapore in 1994 and since then they have opened up shop in a number of locations around Asia and most recently Sydney. H commented that Sushi Tei is pretty popular in Singapore and was one of his favourite quick meal joints. When we visited Sushi Tei Sydney the first time round, the experience wasn't that impressive. We thought perhaps this was due to Sushi Tei being a franchise sushi outlet thus the impersonal touch with the food - as if they were rolled out on a factory belt. This visit however showed us that they have improved in the quality of food preparation and taste. We will be back for more!


Sushi Tei
Chifley Square
Gound Floor 
Corner of Elizabeth St and Hunter St 

(02) 9232 7288

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Janani

H and I were very excited when we chanced upon Janani in Newtown. We wondered if they were part of the infamous Janani @ Homebush which we frequent regularly when H lived in Rhodes. We walked into an empty drab looking room with not much light but we sat down nonetheless to peruse the menu which was almost identical to the one in Homebush. 

H ordered his favourite Pittu Kothu which is a version of Kothu Roti but with string-hopper (vermicelli like noodle). Both are cooked with egg, vegetables and your choice of meat and seasoned with spices. The chopping of the roti / string hopper is done while cooking on a tava. This is pure comfort food and very addictive.

My sis ordered the Chilli Chicken with Garlic Naan. I have to admit that this is not the best garlic naan I've tasted but not the worse either. The chilli chicken, a new edition to their menu and Janani's take on Indonesian Chilli Chicken, was tasty but I love their Indian curries more.  
Garlic Naan

I ordered the Onion and Egg Dosai, extra crispy. This is actually a combination of 2 dishes as I was craving eggs and onion. The red onion used in this dish was lovely, sweet and slightly juicy. The next time I'm here, I'll order the onion dosai on its own as I think the dosai would be crispier without the egg :) 


Janani @ Newtown
189 Missenden Road
Newtown NSW 2024

(02) 9557 4454

Rise Restaurant

The first time H and I dined at Rise was for my birthday 3 years ago and at that time I loved the cosy and intimate setting and the quality of fusion Japanese food turned out by Hideki Okazaki. Three years on and not much has changed since that first visit. :)

On arrival we were warmly greeted by the wait-staff and shown to our table of 11. Most of our party had arrived but we were still waiting for 2 others who unfortunately had been driving around Darlinghurst for 30mins looking for a parking and ended up paying $30 to park at a multi-storey car park. Note: come early or cab it to Darlinghurst. 

The 7 course degustation started off with Ocean Trout Marinated w/ Gochujang Miso & Poached Quail Egg. This was one of my favourite dishes of the night. The ocean trout was fresh and creamy, especially when eaten with the quail egg. 

Next up was the Potato Cream Soup w/ Prawn Tempura & Tofu. The soup was lovely especially on a cold wintry night. The prawn tempura was a tad oily though but I could just have this dish every night, drinking it straight from the bowl.

Everyone at the table loved the presentation of this next dish - Fresh Market Sashimi served in shot glasses. All at the table commented on the freshness of the sashimi except moi as 3/4 of the sashimi on my plate were dry and papery. Maybe they were left out for too long?

A trio made up of (left to right) Rice Paper Roll of Miso Chicken Stick, Egg Flan, Mushroom & Miso Red Curry Sauce and Duck Confit Salad w/ Hoisin in Wonton Cup. My favourite of the trio was the dish in the middle. It reminded me of the traditional chawanmushi but with a hint of red curry.  

Steamed Scallop, Green Tea Noodle & Ginger Shallot Sauce. The boys in the group were expecting some substantial noodles to fill them up but were very disappointed when they saw the amount of noodles on this dish. The noodles were lovely though and went very well with the ginger shallot sauce. The scallop however was a tad over-cooked.

The menu had the next dish as Soy Braised Chicken, Daikon & Green Beans however I noticed that our dishes were missing the green beans. It didn't matter though as the chicken was tender and full of flavour. The size of this dish and the fact that it came with rice and miso soup allayed the fears of the boys of having to find either Maccas or kebabs to fill them up after dinner. Hehe.

Dessert came too soon but was one of the highlights of the night. My favourite was the Kahlua Infused Custard with shaved ice and more Kahlua on top. Yummy! The Grapefruit Granita was good too. It was made with a layer of jelly and peach at the bottom with shaved ice and grapefruit on top. 

If my memory serves me right, I believe Rise 7-course Omakase special is actually slightly cheaper now from when we were there 3 years ago. This is a great place for quality food, superb staff and ambience all at a value-for-money price. It's even cheaper on Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday ($45) as Rise offers a 25% discount on their Omakase course meal. 


Rise Restaurant
23 Craigend Street
Darlinghurst NSW 2010

(02) 9357 1755

http://www.riserestaurant.com.au/

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Book Kitchen

What was suppose to be a quick lunch turned out to be a 2-hour + catch up session at The Book Kitchen, Surry Hills. Mr Indigo and I, felt very relaxed here surrounded by wooden bookshelves and a team of friendly but non-intrusive wait-staff. 

Mr Indigo had the Fish n Chips ($22) which was delicious. Unlike normally battered fish n chips, The Book Kitchen's version was a lightly floured fish, pan-fried, and served with hand cut potato wedges. Yum!

For myself, I ordered the Crispy Duck Salad with Pomegranate, Pistachio and Red Wine Vinaigrette ($17). The crispy duck was slightly stringy but I love the combination of fresh cucumbers, pomegranate and pistachios. However, trying to eat pomegranate and carrying on a conversation at the same time was not to be thus by the end of lunch there was a pile of uneaten pomegranate on one side of my plate :(


The Book Kitchen
255 Devonshire Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010
(02) 9310 1003

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Pompei's Bondi Beach

Ms Pleien was visiting from Singapore and was out shopping at the Bondi Markets accompanied by Mr C.  We decided (at the last minute) to meet up with the both of them for coffee when they said that they were famished and were sitting in Pompei's waiting for food. H and I thus made our way to Pompei's and join them for an afternoon snack of pizza and delicious gelato shakes.


As we got there Ms Pleien raved about the Pistachio Shake that she had ordered. She sounded so excited about her drink and as I so love pistachios that I ordered that too. When the waitress took my order she asked if I wanted milk with that and I said yes assuming that that was how it was made but I should have said no instead as I found the shake to be too milky. Also on our table was the Chocolate Shake and Dark Chocolate Shake (both pictured above). Both were super deliciously good. :)


Mr C's Oberhammer (I don't know what it means but doesn't that word sounds cool?). An Oberhammer is made up of pancetta, egg, mushrooms, tomato and fior di latte. When the dish arrived, I couldn't help staring at the egg in the middle of the pizza and was stopping myself from stabbing it with my fork to let all that egg yolk ooze out onto the pizza. Stabbing aside, the pizza was delicious. 

Ms Pleien's Pasta Special - Beetroot Ravioli. Ms Pleien loved this dish. She commented that the pasta was very well made and fresh; and that the unique combination of beetroot in ravioli delicious. (Side note: All pastas and pizza bases are made fresh by the chef's in the kitchen.) I didn't get a chance to taste this dish as Ms P ordered an entree size and it was indeed a tiny dish and I felt bad taking her food when she's not had lunch or breakfast! 

H and I ordered the Cortina ($19.80) which is made up of pancetta, mascarpone, mushrooms, tomato and fior di latte. A double dose of cheese here with the mascarpone and fior di latte which I think made the pizza really salty. I didn't like this at all but H thought it was OK. 


Pompei's
126 Roscoe Street
Bondi Beach NSW 2026

(02) 9365 1233

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Zigolinis

It is truly rare indeed when I have the day off work with no other plans taking up my time. To make the most of this, H and I decided to head down to Woollahra for a spot of lunch. We walked down Queen Street, trying to determine which of the numerous cafes' should we plonk our tired butts on. We finally decided on Zigolinis just because it looked cosy. 

Upon walking in we were warmly greeted and shown to a table for 2 at the back. I love the dark blue wall and  these cute pictures!


We started off with a Sardine and Olive Tapenade Bruschetta ($14 for 2 slices). I have to stop here and say that the wait staff that served us was not only friendly and professional but also took the added care of arranging for our bruschetta to be brought out in two individual serving plates. 

This dish was, in one word - SOUR. I'm not a big fan of sour stuff but it does kind of grow on you. 

For mains, I ordered the special soup of the day; Fennel and Asparagus Soup ($12). The soup was creamy but fennel is just not my thing. H loved the soup though.

H's Chorizo Spaghetti Special ($20) was beautiful. The sauce was just divine with hints of saffron and chilli. 

A side of Rocket, Pear and Parmesan salad ($7). The salad is pretty good but I would have preferred if the pears were sliced instead of how it was served.


Zigolinis
107 Queen Street
Woollahra NSW 2025

Tel 02 9326 2337