Sunday, November 22, 2009

Brasserie Bread

Tucked away towards the end of Botany Road is Brasserie Bread. Brasserie Bread is a baking school, a wholesale business (supplying artisan breads, pastries and cakes to the wholesale market), a retail shop and a cafe all housed in an old saw-tooth warehouse a stone's throw away from the cranes of Port Botany.

My first visit was three Saturdays ago, accompanied by Miss SK and Ed. I loved it so much that I dragged a visiting friend from Melbourne out with me to Brasserie Bread the following Saturday.

First visit

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The first dish that caught my eye was the Soft Omelette with Gruyere Cheese and Prosciutto ($10). The pancetta was just melt-in-your-mouth divine. Omelette was smooth and creamy. Yum!

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A photo of all three combined into a mouthful. Yum!

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Miss SK had the Sourdough Pancakes w/ Stewed Berries and Honeycomb Cream ($12). Unlike sourdough bread, the pancake version was light and fluffy, and combined with the tartness of stewed berries and the fresh honeycomb cream made this dish the table's favourite.

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Ed had the Eggs Benedict which was made up of Poached Egg, Pan Fried Smoked Ham and Hollandaise ($10). I didn't get a chance to try this dish but Ed raved about the Hollandaise sauce. After having the poached eggs Ed kept asking SK and myself how he could make them at home. This started a debate over which was better - using the traditional vinegar and swirl method or the specially made microwavable egg poacher to create the perfect poached egg.

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Iced tea ($5) - Brasserie Bread version has mint leaves in it which was delicious. A fantastic drink to have on a sunny Sydney Afternoon. Sadly, during our second visit, the Iced tea wasn't as good. It was lukewarm and pretty bland. Third visit was better then the second visit but lacked sugar. Yes, I visited Bread Brasserie three weekends in a row!

Second Visit

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I decided to go for something sweet and tried the Sourdough Pancakes w/ Banana and Maple Syrup ($12). The banana pancakes weren't as fluffy as the stewed berries and honeycomb version but this had actual bananas in the pancakes and was as delicious as the first one. Only drawback was that the maple syrup was super super sweet.

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Croque Monsieur ($10) w/ a fried egg on top. I found this pretty disappointing compared to the rest I've had in my last two visits. The bread was normal and so was the ham and cheese. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that the dish had gone cold by the time I had a bite of it as the dish seemed pretty popular amongst Bread Brasserie patrons as two other tables had ordered this dish while we were there.

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For dessert we had the Strawberry Tart and the Lemon Tart. I have to say that the shells let both this dessert down as it was quite hard and bland although I loved the addition of pistachios to the strawberry tart.

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The Lemon Tart was the weaker of the two as the lemon filling was pretty sweet for a lemon tart.

Third visit will be posted shortly.

Brasserie Bread
1737 Botany Road
Banksmeadow NSW 2019

(02) 966 6845

www.brasseriebread.com.au


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Iron Chef, Cabramatta

My first visit to Iron Chef in Cabramatta. Actually the only other time I've been to Cabramatta was with my aunt six years ago when she went to buy some fabrics; no food involved. However over the last 2-3 years, I've been wanting to drop by as a certain friend kept raving about the food and cheap groceries! This trip almost didn't happen as the initial plan was to visit the Sculptures by the Sea exhibition. Cloudy skies changed our minds and we ended up in Iron Chef.

We didn't have to wait long to get a table. This was because I got lost on my way there and my colleague K had to wait 45 minutes by himself before the rest of us arrived. The rest of the gang was waiting for me you see... Sorry K! My bad.

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Prawn Dumpling

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Pan Fried Rice Roll

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Chicken Feet

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Vegetarian Roll

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Pork Dumplings

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Beef Tendons

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Steam Prawn Roll

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Deep Fried Taro Ball

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Soy Bean Dessert


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Egg Tarts

Overall, the food was pretty similar to what you would get in Chinatown but way cheaper. Service was pretty good too although I've heard some stories against this. Will go back if I'm ever in the area.


Iron Chef
84 Broomfield St
Cabramatta NSW 2166

(02) 9723 6288

Friday, November 6, 2009

Chophouse

I first heard about Chophouse in Chocolatesuze's blog and since then I've been waiting patiently for an occasion to visit. Last Saturday, 11 of us dined at Chophouse to celebrate a birthday.

When we arrived we were shown to the private room upstairs. I would have preferred eating downstairs, dining under the huge rib like structure, but the private room was nice too. The walls were covered with cow hide, fur still intact, a private bar (but unattended) and dark wood furniture.

When we arrived we noticed that it was pretty warm in the private room. The waitstaff informed us that they had switched on the air-conditioning and it would take a few minutes to start up. In the mean time, they opened the windows to let the cool air in but that was a bad mistake as the hot air from the kitchen (window was directly above the kitchen) made the room even warmer. Not a good start.

Another peeve (since I've started on this train) was that they served bottled water without even asking what we wanted. I do understand that a restaurant needs to make money, and we usually get bottled (sparkling) water anyway, but the right thing to do would be to ask first? Is it just me or am I being paranoid?

Well, enough about that, lets get on to the food.

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We started off with warm, soft and yummy bread with loads of butter spread on top. Heaven.

We also ordered two salads to share.
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Warm Peking Duck Salad ($24.90) which had lotus root, yam bean, cucumber, black bean and shallot dressing was awesome. The clean taste of lotus root, yam bean and cucumber accentuated the flavours of the duck. The shallot dressing was delicious too that I wished they sold it in a bottle.

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The best salad of the night was the Crisp Pork Belly and Sea Scallop ($25) which was made with chinese cabbage, coriander, pea shoots and soy vinaigrette. Imagine warm crispy skin and soft melt-in-your mouth fatty meat inter-mingled with fresh chinese cabbage and peat shoot. Everyone's favourite salad of the night.

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A side of Cauliflower Gratin ($7.90) with sourdough, gruyere and parsley. I liked how the cauliflower was slightly crunchy with baked gruyere cheese on top.

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Double Double Lamb Chops w/ mint jelly ($26.90). The lamb, 30 day Grain-Fed from Margaret River, WA, was awesome. The lamb was superbly cooked, pink on the inside and super tender while still retaining the meaty taste of lamb.

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350g Rib Eye Hereford Beef ($26.90) which was from the Special Menu. I love a good steak and this was very good. For me, a good steak starts with the taste of the meat. I've had a number of bland steaks where sauces are used to hide the blandness but the steak at Chophouse packed a punch taste wise. They were also cooked perfectly as the meat was pink and melt-in-your-mouth with an "almost" burnt aftertaste which I love.

By the time we finish our mains and two bottles of wine the room was hot! Some of the boys were sweating from the humidity in the room. The upstair hallway was also very smoky which I guess was due to poor ventilation. Due to the heat we decided not to stay for dessert although I was very tempted by the chocolate block!

Overall, I would go back to Chophouse because the food was so good. They do need to fix their air-conditioning and ventilation though.

Chophouse
25 Blight Street
Sydney NSW 2000


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Lemon @ Surry Hills

H and I had brunch at Lemon recently. It was our first time and I loved how they served each dish with a slice of lemon (per the name of the cafe). The walls were also covered with pictures of lemon and there was a petition to save the big lemon that was above the signage of the store. I guess the council won in taking the big lemon off the roof, OH&S you see..

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H's Skinny Flat White ($3.30). His verdict - good coffee.

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Lemon's version of Salmon Benedict ($14) - Poached eggs served on smoked salmon, wilted spinach, grilled tomato, avocado and a toasted bagel, topped with hollandaise sauce... and it came with a slice of lemon! H said the Hollandaise sauce tasted like it came from a packet and the smoked salmon rather fishy. I guess he won't be ordering this the next time round.

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Mango and Orange Smoothie ($5.50) - I detected only a hint of mango and overall it was pretty sour.

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I had Eggs on Toast - Scrambled ($6) w/ extra Mushrooms ($3.30) and Spanish Sausage ($3.30). I loved the mushrooms. It was cooked just right. The scrambled eggs was pretty good too; soft and milky.


Lemon
393 Crown Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010

(02) 9380 5242