Wednesday, September 30, 2009

50 on Park, Christchurch

Our first dinner in Christchurch and we were both very excited to try 50 on Park. Before our trip I've researched (as a good foodie should) places to eat and found this on Dine Out, New Zealand's equivalent to eatibility.com, with great reviews. They have a 3-course dinner for NZ$65 which I reckon was a steal.

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Although we didn't have any wine that night, I really loved this picture and have decided to include it anyway in my review ;) The other pictures though are not as nice due to the yellow / low lighting. Apologies.

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We did have a bottle of Bollinger (NZ$155) though as it was a night to celebrate! (H proposed and we were in NZ for a short engagement holiday. Plus claiming the GST back on the ring means the holiday was kind of paid for!)

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For entree I choose the Confit Akaroa Salmon w/ wholemeal bread herb crumble, egg, avocado and watercress. This was absolutely delicious. The herb breadcrumb was tasty and went really well with the salmon, avocado puree and egg. The breadcrumb also added a different texture to the dish.

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H ordered the Rabbit Pistachio Terrine w/ carrot relish, orange seeded mustard, truffle toast and celery cornichon salad which was also delicious. The bacon complemented the terrine really well that H commented that it tasted better with the bacon wrapped around it then without the bacon. The other accompaniments to the terrine were well thought of as it accentuated the taste of the terrine beautifully.

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We both decided on the 300g Prime Beef Ribeye, cooked medium-rare, served w/ Bernaise sauce and Jus. The beef was cooked just the way I like it.

We also had a choice of 2 side dishes and mine were Creamy Potato Mash w/ Truffle Butter (absolutely yummy that if I could lick the plate I would have) and Carrot Cardamom Coriander & Edamame Salad. I found the Carrot Cardamom Salad very refreshing and makes a good palate cleanser too.

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Carrot Cardamom Coriander & Edamame Salad

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H decided on Hand Cut Fries w/ Ginger Salt & Wasabi Aioli and Mixed Lettuce & Micro Green Salad w/ Passionfruit Dressing. The hand cut fries or wedges were good. Crispy on the outside and soft on the insides. The passionfruit dressing on the salad was WOW. It brought normal salad leaves up a notch to restaurant quality salad. H however regretted not ordering the Cabbage & Bacon Saute (in duck fat). Next time perhaps as we will definitely be back.

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White Chocolate Marquise, Dark Chocolate Textures and Tart Cherry Gel. I love the texture of the marquise and the melt in your mouth dark chocolate. Yummy!

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Recommended by the knowledgeable waitress this "not so lemon meringue pie", lemon curd, rose meringue, shortbread crumble and raspberries was not just gorgeous to look at but delectable to eat. Note the different textures on the plate which added to the experience of eating this dish.

Hmmm.... Can I classify this as modern Australian even though it's cooked in NZ?

50 on Park
The George Hotel
50 Park Terrace
Christchurch New Zealand

www.thegeorge.com

Guillaume at Bennelong

A very special night spent at Guillaume at Bennelong. I had always wanted to eat at Guillaume and H did mention that he too would like to go there. So on one sunny Saturday picnic at the Royal Botanical Gardens, accompanied with an array of fresh Sydney Fish Market's oysters, prawns, cold lobster and a bottle of Moet, H surprised me by saying that he booked us dinner at Guillaume! All these while I was still dazed from the surprise proposal he sprung on me!

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Salted Butter (left) & Unsalted Butter (right) - Both were beautifully creamy but our favourite for the night was the Unsalted Butter.

On to the breadrolls that went so well with the creamy butter. There was a designated waitress that walked around serving breadrolls only. We tried three types;
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Buttermilk Roll - A soft and milky breadroll which reminded me of the bread my mum would buy from the breadman that goes around on a motorcycle selling bread every arvo in Malaysia.

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Pancetta and Pork Roll - This was delicious. More like a meat roll then bread roll though.

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Rosemary Roll - My favourite of the night as this was just so good (in taste as well as aroma) as the bread was baked with fresh rosemary. Tearing the bread apart reveals a spongy inner layer that was just perfect for the spreading of butter. My favourite of the night!

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Amuse Bouche was Foie Gras Pate sandwiched between two Crispy Gingerbread Biscuit. This was absolutely delicious; with the sweetness from the gingerbread biscuits accentuating the rich and creamy foie gras pate.

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Yellowfin Tuna with Basil Infused with Soy & Mustard Seed Vinaigrette - The tuna was wrapped with basil leaves which had been marinated with soy and mustard seed vinaigrette. I'm not a big fan of basil so this dish was way off my comfort zone. However, after a few bites I grew to appreciate the contrasting texture of the soft tuna and firm basil leaves.

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One of my favourites for the night - Royale of Asparagus w/ Spanner Crab and Truffle. This dish was superb. I was surprised when what I thought was a shallow bowl+plate combination that looked like an alien spacecraft, was in fact a deep dish filled with very creamy asparagus soup. The truffles accentuated the creaminess of the asparagus. So delicious!

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The senior waitstaff explained the specials of the day and advised that special entree was Tortellini of Peas w/ Fresh Morels, Broad Beans and Light Taragon Butter. We had already decided on the degustation menu but the waitstaff was kind enough to suggest adding the dish into the degustation. Boy were we glad that we did! I've never had Morels before but this was absolutely gorgeous. The mushrooms were meaty and rich and well complemented by the taragon butter . The tortellini was filled with fresh pea puree. Delicious!

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Another gorgeous dish - Turban of Scampi w/ Spaghettini and a Warm Lemon and Sterling Caviar Sauce. Loved the meaty scampi meat and the contrasting saltiness of the caviar with the lemon sauce.

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Blue Eye Trevalla Roasted on an Etuve of Baby Spring Vegetables. The grilled fish was slightly overcooked but paired with a lovely sauce. However, I found this dish pretty ordinary unlike the other dishes that blew me away because of their unique combination of ingredients and fresh produce.

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Duo of Quail - Ballontine of Quail and Crispy Quail Leg w/ Date Puree, Quail Egg and Frisse Salad - Tender quail ballontine with a superb sauce. Love the half boiled quail egg.

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Picture of Quail Egg


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Deboned Rib Eye of Tajima Wagyu Beef (500 day grain fed, F1 marble grade 9+) w/ a tombe of field mushrooms, baby spinach, confit of shallot, merlot sauce - A superb dish with super tender and juicy beef with lovely mushroom, shallot and merlot sauce.

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Soup of Seasonal Fruit w Lime Marshmallows and Pineapple Sorbet. A very refreshing soup and a great palate cleanser.


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Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee w/ Green Apple Jelly, Green Apple Sorbet and Doughnut. The creme brulee was rich and smooth with a nice thin layer of burnt sugar on top that cracked when hit with the back of my spoon. Yummy doughnut which reminded me of the Italian doughnuts I had at Mornington Peninsula. The Green Apple sorbet however was not my cup of tea but I still managed to finish off everything on the plate!

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Petit Fours

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Caramel Squares, Mint Macaroons, Quince Sweet, Dark Chocolate Tart, Coconut Top, Strawberry Tart. Some hits and misses here. My favourite being the Mint Macaroons.


Guillaume at Bennelong
Sydney Opera House
Bennelong Point
Sydney NSW 2000

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Crown Thai

Recommended by a fellow foodies that Crown Thai has one of the best Pad See Eew in our area, I just had to go try it. Although foodie friend advised: "Go in the Arvo as the Pad See Eew is nicer then"??!! A different Chef that does the lunch shift to dinner shift?

I begged H to try out Crown Thai as he was getting tired of my Pad See Eew / Thai food cravings these passed few months and the nice guy that he is finally agreed but not before soliciting a promise of no more Thai for a month.

For entree we ordered the Tofu Tod ($5.50). This was absolutely yummy. Fresh tofu deep fried to a golden crisp outside and the insides soft and silky. Combined with a satay sauce that was creamy but still nutty enough that it wasn't all cream or coconut milk. Delicious!

H went for the Pad Thai w/ Chicken (($7.50 lunch special) which was also delicious. One can tell the calibre of a chef by the way he handles the wok and this Pad Thai came out with noodles still soft and silky (meaning not over fried), delicate seasoning and my favourite.. silky eggs.

Last but not least, the Pad See Eew w/ Chicken ($7.50 lunch special). Another fantastic dish! I would go so far as to say that Crown Thai is my favourite for Pad See Eew. Although, I'm only a recent Pad See Eew convert and have tried this dish at only a handful (count less than five) of places. Any recommendations?


Crown Thai
Shop 5, 9 Potter Street,
Waterloo NSW 2017

(02) 9698 5550

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Chilli Cha Cha

A delicious dinner for three that costs only $7.60! Well, not exactly as H had found $50 while walking to Chilli Cha Cha so dinner was $57.60 but I bet you did a double take didn't ya?

Our first choice was actually Spice I Am but as usual there was a 30 minutes wait. We walked down Campbell Street and chance upon Chilli Cha Cha. The place was packed but we were lucky that night that someone was just about to leave. A short wait later we were seated and quickly decided on the dishes that would feed our hungry stomachs.

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Soft Shell Crab with Choo Chee Curry - Yummy! The soft shell crab was hot and crispy and went really well with Choo Chee Curry. My favourite dish of the night!

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For something healthy we ordered the Thai Beef Salad which was more beef then vegetables haha. The salad was OK with generous servings of beef slices, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and mint leaves.

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Crispy Chicken & Cashew Stir Fry - Another great dish with succulent pieces of battered fried chicken with a nicely balanced sauce. I'm always a sucker for dishes with peanuts in them.

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Wild Pork Curry - I'm not a fan of this dish as there was a strong porky taste (cos it's from the wild?) that even the curry couldn't masked. However, the boys did finished this off so maybe it's just me!


Chilli Cha Cha
50/40 Campbell Street
Haymarket NSW 2000

(02) 9211 2025


Friday, September 4, 2009

Delima Restaurant

A colleague's farewell last Friday and we headed down to Delima on Dixon Street (corner of Liverpool and Dixon) for some Indonesian fare. The restaurant was nicely decorated with a little pond with Kois greeting you as you walked in.

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Kepiting Saus Padang (Market Price) / Traditional Mud Crab - It seemed like the crab dish was quite popular at Delima as I spied a few tables around us had ordered that particular dish. The crab meat was fresh and sweet although I would have preferred if it was cooked ala Singapore Chilli Mud Crab. Don't get me wrong, the Padang style sauce was quite tasty but lacked the extra kick of chilli / spiciness of the Singapore Chilli Mud Crab sauce.

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I can't remember what this dish was called but I think it was a Javanese Style Fried Chicken. The crispy stuff sprinkled on top was super delicious but I bet it packed a punch calories wise.

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Kangkung Terasi / Stir Fry Water Spinach w/ Dried Shrimp and Chilli Paste - This dish was quite tasty and I love how they added fresh prawns to the dish.

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Ayam Panggang Kalasan ($15.95) / Grilled Chicken w/ Sweet & Soy based Javanese Style Sauce - This was one of my favourite dishes for the night which was very similar to the Ayam Bakar at Ayam Goreng 99.

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Udang Tumis Tauco ($21.95) / Indonesian Stir Fry Prawns with Salted Yellow Bean and Chilli Paste - There was a generous amount of prawns and they were of a good size too however the sauce was somewhat bland.

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Ikan Bakar Kalasan ($29.95) / Grilled Whole Fish w/ Sweet and Soy based Javanese Sauce - A beautifully grilled fish that I couldn't stop eating. I was munching on the crispy sides close to the tail when all else had been eaten.

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Soka Kalasan ($21.95) / Deep Fried Javanese Spied Soft Shell Crab - I didn't enjoy this dish as it was slightly soggy when they arrived and quite bland in taste.

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Complimentary Green Bean and Sago Soup with Coconut Milk. Ms M who has been here a couple of times said that she has never been served complimentary dessert. Lucky us!


Delima Restaurant
Shop 69, Dixon Shopping Centre
1 Dixon Street
Haymarket NSW 2000