Monday, October 31, 2011

Stitch @ Wynyard

As you walk in through the closet-like doors of the entrance, you cant help but feel like you've ventured into modern day Narnia. With dark wooden decorations and dim lighting, it exudes a magical mood that's sure to get you in the right place for a drink or two. It's past 10 pm on a Saturday night and this little basement bar is quite full. They had a reserved spot at the back for a birthday party so a lot of people were standing around. We were walking out, resolving to go to Balcony Bar and try their cocktail of the month instead, when a staff ushers us towards a just emptied seats. The seats we got were a cubicle, cozy and comfy. It's in the corner so it's a teeny bit quieter than the rest of the bar.

Sort of feels like a pub as well. A friendly waiter came to our table and asked us what we preferred in a cocktail. He then recommended us each a cocktail.

My Strawberry Sling. Vodka based and sweet. You can taste the crushed strawberries as well as the basil leaf. It's topped with a bubbly for that bit of pop.

Pineapple Head. Sweet and sour. This drink is Bacardi based.

Elegantly Wasted. What a name! That was what we were planning to do on this rare occasion but sadly one of our friends had to call it an early night. This one was quite strong and tasted strongly of tequila. You can really taste the ginger beer though so it masks the foulness of tequila.

Our other friend ordered Monkey Magic which was topped with apple juice so was sweet and easy to drink. I thought their cocktails were quite strong and unlike Cafe Sydney's juice-like drinks, you can actually taste the alcohol it's based from. Still, it was lovely and refreshing and I would definitely come back to try the other ones.

We got a bit peckish.. The Pork Burger. It came with chunks of grilled potatoes, with little fried potatoes. Not sure if that was deliberate but it was still nice and savoury. The burger itself was very juicy, thick and slightly spicy. I don't really like coleslaw so I brushed it off but the BBQ provided enough flavour. If you need more, then there's a bottle of ketchup and mustard on the side.

Huge patty!

For my sweet tooths <3

Chocolate Brownie Waffles. My dear friend Mina, being the crazy chocoholic she is, had to get this as soon as she saw this. It was sort of like that time when we were walking past Monkey Magic and she wouldn't stop talking about the guava sorbet that was on the menu. We went back and had it.

Anyways, these waffles were very chocolaty, topped with vanilla bean ice cream and fairy floss! That was quite a unique but cute finish! They give a lot and my friend couldn't finish it.

Carmalised banana split served with caramel fudge, vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce and toasted coconut and pecans. I didn't get to try this one but my friend loved the grilled bananas.

They also have ice cream sandwiches for dessert! They also do lunch now from 12 pm and although they don't have much on the food menu, by what I've tried, their food is worth trying as well. Next time I'm at Wynyard around the evening, I'll drop by for a cocktail or two :)

Stitch on Urbanspoon

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Cafe Sydney @ Circular Quay

After our dine and wine experience at Asti Restaurant, we came to Circular Quay to try the Cocktail of the Month at Cafe Sydney. We didn't know the restaurant was on top of Custom House and was wandering around the area, confused and frustrated. We weren't in a hurry but my stomach certainly was even after that massive meal and Chambord is my ultimately favourite liqueur.

The restaurant exudes a sexy vibe with a scary opening in the middle that looks down to the lobby.

Their cocktail was called the Rhurbarb and Berry Sour. It consists of Chambord, rhubarb bitters and fresh pressed lemon juice. Sweet and sour, it was like a berry juice! I could have had more of this if it wasn't for the price.

The cocktail is a pretty pink with a creamy froth top. It is served with a kingfish, blood orange, avocado and ocean trout roe tart.

Pretty! but a strange combination of flavours.

The Sydney Squash for the Man who accidentally spilled his cocktail :( This one was very zesty and was made so well it didn't taste like alcohol at all. Maybe it was the wine I had before but everything was like juice! .

Asti Restaurant @ Pyrmont

Date night! It's been a while since we've gone on a date with all our workload and 21sts so I was super excited about this night. We also planned on going to the Cocktail of the Month at Cafe Sydney so double the excitement :) I've never heard of this place until my boyfriend mentioned it to me one day. Apparently it's been named after the chef so it must be good right?

Pyrmont always had that old, rustic feeling that I've always liked but it wasn't until this night that I actually wanted to move here. The little waterfront park in front of the restaurant is beautiful at sunset and you can see the Harbour Bridge to the right. There's another restaurant called Sugaroom on the bottom floor of one of the apartment buildings that I've seen often on coupon deals. I'll have to try this one next time with outdoor seats to enjoy the lovely pink hue of the setting sun.

The entrance is a bit confusing with two doors. The one on the right is the real entrance that leads into the bar. The staff are friendly and smiling as we walk in and although there aren't that many costumers, we didn't feel too awkward because we were seated at a more private location in the hallway. We both liked the design of the cutlery and the menu is like an old parchment. We were given a glass of Prosecco, an Italian sparkling wine. It was sweet but I thought it was more of a dessert bubbly than for a meal.

Our house wines - me, white for the snapper, and the Man, red for his lamb.

Complimentary bread with salted olive oil and drops of balsamic.

Entree. The presentation for both was beautiful. With the soup, they brought out a bowl of proscuitto and chestnuts and poured the soup into it. Shame I couldn't capture that!

Silky smooth chestnut soup, toasted brioche, proscuitto di parma, espelette chili cream. Oh this soup was silky and smooth indeed. It was so creamy and savoury with sweet chestnuts at the bottom of the soup. The toasted brioche felt like it was deep fried than toasted but it was still nice when dipped into the soup. There are bits of herbs that adds a zesty pang between spoonfuls of the cream soup. It tasted strongly of chestnuts and I loved this dish even more because I loooooove and have bagfuls of roasted chestnuts in winter.

Carpaccio of kingfish, compressed watermelon and huile vierge. The red against the white, what a lovely contrast of colour. Raw fish by itself can be a bit bland but the sweet sauce that covered this dish was beautiful. The thin slices of onions on top balance out the sweetness and goes well with the kingfish. The compressed watermelon is just watermelon in the shape of a cylinder and we thought it was a bit random but watermelon is watermelon, it's still yummy :)

Mains. Snapper and lamb.

Pan fried local snapper fillet, butternut squash puree, swiss brown mushrooms and baby leeks. This restaurant tends to use a lot of honey. The brown doodle across the plate is honey based as well as the smear of the pistachio with the pear dessert. Honey and snapper, I'm not too sure about this combination but the butternut squash, with its sweet and softness, was lovely.

I loved this dish better than mine! Rack of lamb off the bone wellington style with fresh peas and baby carrots. The lamb is so succulent and tender. My eyes went wide when I had my first bite. It's wrapped in crispy pastry giving it a fun sausage roll type of feeling to the dish. It's also served with sweet butternut squash puree. Definitely a must when you try this place!


Chocolate fondant served with raspberry sorbet. Normally I'm not a sorbet person but this raspberry sorbet was sweet and just the right amount of tang. It's placed over a mat of crushed pistachios. The chocolate fondant was a bit of a disappointment as it didn't ooze out and wasn't really warm. I did like the decoration though with the crushed raspberries sprinkled on the plate like rose petals.

Poached pear filled with pistachio cream served with vanilla bean gelato. It also comes with a cute meringue bird sitting on top of the vanilla gelato. The gelato was smooth and creamy. It tasted strongly of vanilla beans and instantly I fell in love with it. We switched our sorbets and gelatos as I was a creamy ice cream type while the Man preferred tangy sorbets. The pear was spiced so along with the sweetness of the pear itself, you can taste a mixture of cinnamon and nutmeg. The pistachio crumbs in the middle are sprinkled over honey so you can't taste the pistachio much.

This day has been full of unexpected surprises. Contagion was surprisingly good, although it made us both paranoid about handwashing, and this lovely little restaurant more than satisfied our hunger. I had a happy food baby as I walked out and off we went to our fourth course of the day!

Asti Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Abhi's Indian @ Concord

Whew what a busy month! I finally had the time to eat out somewhere different so I can make my post!

After work, me and the Man were on our way to have dinner at Strathfield. Choosing what to eat has always been a dilemma because I usually get multiple cravings and start throwing out every option possible. Even as we were driving, we were having discussions. The Man rejected every one of my suggestions :( so we just decided to stop by at this place on Concord Road.

This place has actually been on my wishlists for quite some time now. Indian food is quite heavy so it's hard to eat often but every now and then, I crave the butter chicken from the uni food court or a garlic naan wrap with the curried chicken inside.

The average age of the customers is quite high up there and it certainly doesn't seem like a place to just pop in for a quite bite. The Man was dressed smartly in his hospital clothes but I was in leggings and was feeling quite out of place. The overall ambiance is nice and somewhat exotic with the dim lighting and the cultural music playing in the background. People are chattering away with friends and we excitedly open the menu.

The price range is quite high for Indian food ($20+). We opt for the Chicken Mahkni, the mixed Tandoori Platter, some garlic naan and rice.

The lighting wasn't that great so the pictures are a bit hard to see :(

The mixed Tandoori Platter. It's not much but I highly recommend it as an entree between two! The lamb sausages were fresh and succulent, having none of the pungent lamb smell. They're almost oily but just the right amount to make the juice squelch between your teeth. The chicken tikka masala is tender and not too strong in flavour. With their fresh mint sauce, which also isn't too strong in flavour, the flavours balance out perfectly for that sufficient spiciness. The lamb cutlets were my favourite. Well seasoned and very tender. The fatty bit was the best as it wasn't too tough.

The Chicken Mahkni. Looks like butter chicken but much less creamier and more spicier. I loved the burst of Indian spices and the generous amounts of tender chicken fillets. The curry is not too watery, not too thick.

Garlic naan. It was a bit cold and didn't seem fresh. It didn't rip off as easily as I wanted it to.

The rice. Normally I prefer the naan over rice with my curries but today, rice > naan.

Yay, another off the wishlist! And a success as well ;) I love good food...

Abhi's Indian on Urbanspoon

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Chat Thai @ Westfield Sydney

The famous Chat Thai with its cheap but delicious Thai food and humongous lines even at 11 pm. I didn't know there was a second floor to the food court/restaurant area until last Tuesday when I passed by a sign. Chat Thai? Definitely had to try it and a good excuse to meet up with my friends!

The decor is chic like the whole of Westfield and because it was lunch time, it was packed and there was already a long line. Many of the tables were sharing tables and even then there was no space. We didn't have to wait too long though and chose our dishes after salivating over the delectable pictures on the menu.

Khao na gai yaang - grilled tumeric and lemongrass marinated chicken with smoked chili and tamarind relish on rice. Grilled chicken, I didn't think much of it. Let's just say the first bite blew me away. The smoked chili and tamarind relish was so good. It was sweet and slightly chili, tasting a bit like plum sauce. The chicken was grilled perfectly so it was still juicy and tender but crispy on the outside. It has a subtle tumeric flavour.

That sauce was so addictive. I basically drowned my chicken in it before popping it in my mouth.

Mhu grob padt prik khing - stir fried crisp pork belly and wild ginger in red curry paste. The first impression of this dish isn't really appetizing because the pork looks overly coated with the red curry paste. The pork was chewy and the sauce was really nice but a bit spicy. Never underestimate Thai spicy or you'll suffer from ring burn the next day. It would be the dish to have if you're craving something saucy or full of flavour.

Yum yum.

Ba mee nahm bped - roasted duck and egg noodles in five spice broth. I am so craving this so much right now!!! The noodles are marinaded in the five spice broth, which has a slight soy sauce flavour but in a nice way. It's served in a huge chunky bowl and I realized again how important the dishes are when presenting food.

The noodles are chewy and just lovely. Normally you would expect stir fried noodles with thai food or in a noodle soup so this was a delicious change to my expectations.

I craved Chat Thai since this day. I'll be returning asap.

Chat Thai Westfield Sydney on Urbanspoon

Charlie & Co. @ Westfield Sydney

I regularly surf the net for new eateries and put them into my wishlist. Slowly they're getting checked off and Charlie & Co. was one of the recent places to be crossed off the list. When this place first opened, it was welcomed for a few reasons: the opening of the new Sydney Westfield (I LOVE THE FOODCOURT) and that it's owned by none other than Justin North, Mr Becasse.

As soon as this place opened, there were countless blog reviews within the first few weeks of opening but what puzzles me is the rating on Urbanspoon. 50% is way too low for an eatery owned by Justin North. Still, I had my hopes so when my mom decided to come out to the city for lunch, we decided to give Charlie & Co a try.

I got the Charlie Chili Dog, my mom the Southern Federation (?) burger. It's new on the menu so I couldn't find the name on the menu on their website. We shared the infamous truffle and parmesan fries.

The Charlie Chili dog. Visually, it was quite pretty but I expected the chili to be served as a relish or sauce. The sweet tomato and mustard relish was nice and the sausage was juicy. I loved the brioche hot dog bun and nibbled on it even when the fillings were gone.

Again, it would have been better with the chili served as a relish or sauce. I had to squeeze it in with my fork but it kept popping out as I bit into it.

Mom's meal. The colour of the toasted bun makes you salivate but the plate looks empty with just the burger on it. The burger itself wasn't that nice. It was dry and bland. You can't really taste the jalepeno and it really would have added that much needed flavour. I took two bites and didn't eat my share.

So the burgers didn't wow us. BUT! these truffle fries sure did. Crunchy and well seasoned. It also had a garlicy flavour that really worked well with the oiliness of the fries and they were fried to crunchy perfection. I should have just gotten two bowls of these.

My mom was definitely not pleased. As a chef, she holds high expectations especially at a famous restaurant. She criticized the burger for its size, cost and lack of flavour. Sadly, I had to agree and I sadly walked away with a dissatisfied mother and stomach.

Charlie & Co Burgers on Urbanspoon

Friday, October 14, 2011

Cafe Centro @ Eastwood

Brunch, my favourite meal of the day! Me and the Man often have brunch dates but when it comes to choosing a place to go to, it's always difficult as there aren't that many nice places around my neighbourhood. Eastwood especially is the last place I'd venture out for western food so it came to quite a surprise when we tried out this busy cafe. Cafe Centro is a relaxing hangout for quality breakfast and coffee located next to Commonwealth Bank.

This place is always busy with friends and family catching up over a cup of coffee or enjoying a relaxing morning with a paper. They have their daily specials written across the walls in chalk and have cheaper deals on some days than on the menu. It was quite a warm day so I had watermelon juice and the french toast and the Man chose the big brekky and a latte.

The coffee came out after the food so we sat there quite thirstily as we chatted. They only have one or two waiters running around so expect a bit of a wait.

The big brekky (Centro brekky I think it was). The Man does love his big brekky. It comes out with a sprinkle of parsley to add that extra colour. Beneath that mountain of breakfast is a wholemeal ciabatta bread.

French toast with bacon and maple syrup. The bread was well soaked in egg so I didn't need that much maple syrup for more flavour. The bacon could have been crispier and they only gave two small slices so it was hard to ration it out with all that bread.

It's sprinkled with icing sugar on top but you can't really taste it. The bread itself isn't that thick but I was full after one slice. Along with my sweet and refreshing watermelon juice, the breakfast was quite satisfying. The freshly squeezed watermelon juice was so cool and nice that I just managed to resist myself from drinking it all before the food came out.

The menu may be ordinary but if I wanted a simple meal then Cafe Centro would be my choice. Speaking of french toast, I really need to try out the Kazbah one!

Cafe Centro on Urbanspoon