Sunday, 27 July 2014

Sugarcane Restaurant (Surry Hills, Sydney)

Sugarcane has been in the food scene for a while now but I think since it recently went through a revamp of their menu and a fresh interior look, it has picked up interest in the Sydney food scene.

Recently I had an opportunity to check it out one Saturday night. It was a rather chilly night actually but quite warm in the restaurant. We were seated at one of the long communal tables.

Sugarcane is one of those restaurants with 2 seatings and since we had to vacate by 8.00 I decided to take the 6.00 pm option. KL and I had already checked the menu online so we had an idea of what we wanted.

The food came out thick and fast!

Sydney rock oyster with Sugarcane dressing - a few hmmm's from my table indicated these were good. I am not an oyster person so I skipped this one.

Prawn, rice cake and caramelised sugar cane. This piece of appetiser stood alone on its own as I was the only one who ordered it. I popped the whole thing in my mouth and was greeted with an explosion of flavours! Completely surprised but delighted by the tart and sweet flavours and the crunchy texture of the rice cake was spot on! I now wish I had ordered more of these! Super delicious!!!!
Sorry - not a great shot! :(
Crispy tortilla, crab, green apple, coconut and lime. Light, fresh and tangy flavours with a delightfully crispy tortilla.

Fried eggs, black vinegar and caramel. Better known as son-in-law eggs, these were so addictive. The egg was gooey on the inside and the black vinegar and caramel sauce was oh so deliciously sweet and slightly sharp. The sauce perfectly complemented the egg. Yum!

Pad Thai with a serve of chicken. Now, I thought we were going to get the normal chicken that comes with Pad Thai. You know, the chicken breast slivers we typically get when we order Pad Thai with chicken. Boy was I wrong! These were twice cooked chicken and came fried! There was a delicious caramelisation to the chicken which brought a nice complexity to an otherwise standard pad Thai. I liked the fact the bean sprouts were not fried and were fresh and still crunchy.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Bar Surry Hills and Italian Kitchen (Surry Hills, Sydney)

The story of how we came to be here is quite amusing. I hope my regular visitors will bear with me while I regale you with this snippet. My friends and I had been planning this catch up for a while now and we had decided on lunching at Tapavino.

But we had arranged this quite a while ago and Tapavino's website at that time did indicate it was open on Saturdays. Lo and behold, around 10 pm the night before the catch up, for some reason I was compelled to check the website and realised to my horror Tapavino was no longer open on the weekends! Aargh!

After some scrambling of text messages and some quick googling, I decided on checking out Bar Surry Hills and Italian Kitchen which recently launched a revamped refurbishment and menu.

At around 12.30 pm on a Saturday, I was the first to walk in and it felt quite strange to be the first one on the premise. But over the next few hours, it started to have more and more people coming in. Phew!

We chatted and chilled over drinks and some delicious food. I was very surprised at how good the food turned out.

Garlic Parmesan Crust - talk about super crusty. My friends said it was delicious! They finished the lot so that says something!

Salumi Misti Board of prosciutto, sopressa, mortadella with hand made grissini, Sicilian olives, grana and extra virgin olive oil. I shared with this my friend MA and we both loved the board. I even got to see the salumi being thinly shaved by the young cook. Loved the grissini and the salumi were so thinly sliced the shavings were practically melting in my mouth. More please!

Bianco Pizza which was a potato, rosemary, mozzarella, and garlic pizza drizzled with truffle oil. I did not expect the pizza to be as thin as it turned out. It was wonderfully crusty and the potatoes were thinly sliced yet had a nice bite. Yum!

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Chic Pea @ Plunge (Summer Hill, Sydney)

Having pop up restaurants is becoming quite common these days and this one popped up a few months ago. Chic Pea came into fruition when food blogger Fouad Kassab and business partner Hesham El Masry decided to join forces and create something special.

When I first read the article announcing the opening of Chic Pea I was immediately drawn to it and have been trying since then to dine here.

Well, I made it and together with some special friends, we decided to have the full set menu for only $60 per person. What a great price for the number of dishes we were served.

As I was not driving that night I decided to have a glass of white. It was the 2012 Krems Gruner Veltliner from Austria. I found it thoroughly lovely!

Note: Apologies in advance for my grainy photos. It was quite dark in the restaurant and I resisted the use of flash and tried to use the natural light from a candle. :)

We started with a complimentary plate of pickles - nice crunch and nice tang! Great start!

Almond and potato bread with Pepe Saya dukkah butter. What a great idea to coat the delicious butter with dukkah! Loved the concept and I intend to replicate this when I serve my PS butter in the future. :) But the star was the bread. A beautifully dense, nicely warm bread that I could have kept eating and eating and forsaken the rest of the meal. So good!

Hummus with Turkish chilli and smoke red pepper. I wanted more of this dish and would have loved some Lebanese bread to slather this gorgeous dip in.

Roasted beetroot with labnah, maple and black sesame. Another great side dish and the beetroots were sweet, and still had a nice bite.

Stuffed cabbage, with mushrooms, pine nuts and yoghurt. This dish reminded me of the Greek dish Dolmades. Except there was no vine leaves. I could taste the lovely middle eastern spices. Yum!

Purple cabbage salad with shanklish and Iranian raisins. A yummy, crunchy, full of flavour salad. It was quite light and the bits of crumbed cheese provided a slight saltiness to the salad.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Devon Cafe By Day (Surry Hills, Sydney)

I finally found the opportunity to check out Devon Cafe, not just once but twice! This cafe has been opened since 2013 and has been pulling in the crowds ever since. What is it about this cafe that attracts the hordes? Is it the coffee, is the the food, or is it the quirky dish names on the menu? Better still, is it the friendly service? Let's find out, shall we? :)

My first visit was on a Saturday morning and I came with my friend CW. We arrived around 11.15 am and were told it would be around a 15 minute wait before we could get a table. When we did get our seats, it was at the communal table sharing with other diners. Did I ever mention I love communal tables? I get to be a sticky beak and see what others have ordered!

After poring over the menu which had some interesting dish names, we decided on sharing all our dishes.
Watermelon, apple and mint juice
Kaya Toast - coconut jam, with 63' eggs served in light soy sauce,  and brioche toast lightly buttered. I ordered this dish because kaya toast is such a typical breakfast dish in Malaysia. It brought back memories of my childhood when I was living in the small town of Klang. But back then I would have had the kaya toast on its own and the soft boiled eggs on its own slathered with white pepper, light soy with dark caramel sauce and dipped with soft white bread! At Devon Cafe, you are encouraged to venture into dipping the toast into the eggs and have gooey soft eggs which are slightly salted with the sweet caramelly kaya toast. Nice!

Breakfast with the Sakuma's - I absolutely love the name of this dish! I wonder who the Sakuma's were? It was Miso grilled salmon, smoked eel croquette, 63' egg, radish petit salad and kewpie mayonnaise. Firstly, before I describe the flavours I would like to state how excited I was to see the dish was back on the menu. The menu had gone through a change recently and the Sakuma dish was off the menu. And I had heard how good it was!

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Subsolo (Sydney CBD)

I first heard of Subsolo about a year ago. Someone I knew had dined there and was enjoying telling me about the great Creme brûlée she had that night. So it went on my 'to dine' list!

Subsolo is located a block away from my workplace. Recently on one weeknight I took the opportunity to check it out when a good friend was in town on a work trip.

It is a Spanish restaurant and had a cavernous look and feel to the surrounds. It was quite dark and felt quite spacious. After thoroughly perusing the menu, we decided on sharing all the plates.

Sardinas Fritas - fresh fillets of flash-fried sardines with saffron aioli. Normally I wouldn't have even looked at ordering this dish but AK was keen and I thought why not! Well, I am glad I did agree to it. It was a lovely dish, the sardines were lightly fried and lightly salted and went well with the aioli.

Croquetas de Manchego - cheesy Manchego croquettes. These croquettes are not for the faint hearted. If you are not into strong cheese, I would suggest staying away from it. But we love good cheese and I really enjoyed how cheesy it was. Yum!

Filete de Cadera con Pimenton - paprika rubbed sliced rump with chimichurri butter. There was a slight theatre when the dish was about to be served to us. The young waiter flamed grilled the rump right in front of us with a small blow torch. Sorry, I wasn't quick enough with my camera. But all I can say is that the meat was perfectly cooked, slightly pink and oh so tender.