REVIEW: Henri Toulouse-Lautrec Exhibition @ National Art Gallery, Canberra

Date of Visit:  January 14, 2013
Entrance: A$25
Time I took: 2hours
Verdict: 5 Stars

While in Canberra, I took time out to view Henri Toulouse-Lautrec Exhibition at the National Art Gallery. It was a good-call since it was excellently curated from the Master’s early works following the landscapes of Monet, Renoir and Cézanne (in the Impressionist genre) progressing to “La Goulue” of the famed Moulin-Rouge poster.

I was especially intrigued by Henri’s caricaturist style of figure drawing which brought to life the characters taken from brothels and seedy clubs in Montmartre and the infamous Moulin Rouge by narrating them in a melancoly of flat colours, marked silhouettes and unusual points of view.  The tilted upturned hoinky noses, simple strokes for feet, curvy strokes and empty spaces brought movement and undoubtedly draws the audience into the excitement of his caberet.  His broke ground by boldy decking his posters with logos, which pioneered today’s advertising mojo.

La Troupe De Mlle Eglantine

La Troupe De Mlle Eglantine

Before attending the exhibition, I had no idea what he looked like nor for that matter – a DWARF – the result of generations of inbreeding – his maternal and paternal grandmas were sisters!  So I guess the sharp pointy upturned noses of his subjects were the result of his perspective from looking up people’s noses. He used simple strokes for his subjects’ feet since his own legs were stunted and child-like.  Imagine a man with a full-grown torso with tiny arms and legs!  He must have been a very shrewd and self-confident man to be able to poke fun in himself in order to be accepted into the Parisian arts and cultural scene.


Henri being very a cheeky bugger in a Japanese costume

Henri showed real feelings towards his subjects through the tenderness he depicted on their faces by spending time detailing their features. His attention is turned to personages whereby “he focuses and analyses at close the human “type” that he meets (ala Flaubert) and he presents them under an ironic distorted light with new frames, new cut of scenes, new colours and new juxtapositions of colours.”

On a closer examination of his companions’ potraits, one can see his sense of humor and his cryptic messages, eg making fun of his man-around-town friend, Louis, below with a phalic-like walking-cane tucked under his arm.

Monsieur Louis Pascal (1891)

Monsieur Louis Pascal (1891)

Henri is very “Japonaised”. He was strongly influenced by Utamaro and the Japanese ukiyo-e woodprints.  Both artists emphasized the new connections between art and everyday life eg lives of the working-class women in brothels and even lived with them.

Note the slender neck, swish of hair and state of undress… very Geisha methinks!  Also, a bit of goss aside – he has a fetish for redheads!



Henri’s monogramed ukiyo-eish signature on his painting, so similar to Asian painters’ seal.


Toulouse-Lautrec monogram

In Henri’s posters, he extrapolated the theme of the Japanese’s graphic linearism, eg the profiles of the top-hat man and the black shadows behind the subject.  He also loved splattering, which is sprinkling his painting with diluted washes of paint (you need to sneak up close to the real thing to see it).

Moulin Rouge:  La Goulue 1891

Moulin Rouge: La Goulue (1891)

Henri’s posters are art masterpieces and documents of an age – they WIN public’s love.  What makes the poster so successful was that poster resonates with the grassroot people, since it is cheap to reproduce (lithography), thus everyone can have a piece of artwork to hang in their house.  This explained why his early posters were taken down (aka stolen by his admirers) as soon as they were put up.  Hear, hear, Posters = high artwork affordable by the common people.

On a personal note, he was estanged from his father because he was a commercial artist – which was a ‘no-no’ in aristocracy.  Fortunately, they reconciled shortly before his death aged 36 because he father came to realised that he was making oodles of money!


His commercial work

Similar to contemporary rockstars, an artist needs a promoter, and his promoter was his mom. She built him a museum after his death so his legacy lives on. Viva Mama!

Some FYI additional reading:
Henri de Toulouse-L​autrec and Japanese ukiyo-e | Modern Tokyo Times
Japan Uki-yoe museum has the largest collection of Ukiyo-e collection in Japan, unfortunately the web is in Japanese.

This is my favourite painting of all – “Le Goulue with 2 women”.  Isn’t she the quintessential Grand Dame around town? Check out her style – lazy eyes, smirk on her face,  a ciggy dangling from her lips rocking the eff-the world attitudeGeez, only Henri can elevate vulgarism to classy!  LOL

James Turrell’s Skyspace @ National Gallery of Australia

Date of Visit: January 14, 2013

To be honest, I have never heard of James Turrell until I started compiling my daily itinerary for Naoshima Art Island and Kanazawa for my forthcoming trip to Japan.

The National Gallery of Australia, Canberra’s Within Without 2010 is part of a series of Skyspace art installations that James Turrell is doing across the world.  Personally, I find his idea of ‘Light as Art’ sitting a fine line between intuitively-sensitive people and time-sensitive people – since there is a time element involved to slow down in order to pontificate.

What is ‘Skyspace’?  ‘Skyspace is a viewing chamber that effects the way we perceive the sky’, it is a piece of on-site art that we enter via the footbridge into a sunken square pyramid (ie grass mound) surrounded by water.  There is a stupa inside where we take a seat, look up towards the sky and ponder or ‘meditate’.


Entrance to the art installation. A mound surrounded by water

The installation was sunken to muffle sound and reduce light pollution.  The grass mound is integral to the landscaping but being in the height of summer, the grass are drying up and dying…


An integral part of the garden’s landscaping

The colours were ethereal – turquoise water, terracotta-pink walls contrasting with the white-washed interior in the chamber inside the stupa.  It’s also rather cooling inside.


Basalt stupa inside the pyramid

Walk into the stupa via the bridge and take a seat.

What to look for?  The contrast between the artificial light within the installation and the changing external atmosphere affecting the appearance of the sky.  Watch for the changes in colour – dawn and dusk are said to be dramatic.  Sit, be patient and try to notice subtleties.  It’s an experience and takes time.


Moonstone echoing the opening (ie ‘cumulus) above

I find this remark of James Turrell very cute, whereby he was alluding the the slow-food movement that is very trendy right now to perhaps start a slow-art movement too!!


Look up towards the sky and contemplate the changing light conditions and shifthing climes


Back of Stupa – note the colours!

Needless to say, I am looking forward to see the art collaboration between an American cowboy and a Japanese ex-boxer (Tadao Ando) in Naoshima and how the cowboy manipulates light and colour in Kanazawa!

Update (August 2015):  I did not make it to Naoshima Art Island due to a grave family emergency, so Naoshima is still on my bucket list – however, I did manage to make a trip down to to Canberra to see James Turrell’s Retrospective at the NGA in April 2015 (here). ☺️

And for those of you who are interested in more of James Turrell’s works, please do check out Artsy’s James Turrell page which has his biography, over 50 of his works, exclusive articles, as well as an up-to-date  exhibition listings.


‘The’ Canberra Restaurant to Try…Aubergine or Courgette

So, you’re only in Canberra for a flying visit?  Which Hat-ed Restaurant to try? Let me help you… pictorially…

(Psst… As usual, before I embark onto a new destination, I will suss-out places to eat.  For Canberra, dinner for the first night was undoutedly – Aubergine – it’s Number 1 in both SMH Guide and Australian Gourmet Traveller – I mean, the moniker ‘A Chica Around Town’ must get some street cred by trying out THE Best Restaurant in Canberra 2013, right?  The 2nd night was a tough call – I  was deciding on CourgetteWaters Edge and Sage.  Coincidentally, Courgette and Waters Edge are owned by the same chap.  In the end, I decided to go for Courgette, which was the previous Best Restaurant in Canberra 2012.)

So, both the restaurants I chose are name after vegs – which veg came out TOPS?


Date of Visit:  January 14, 2013

First up, Aubergine.  We decided on the A$95 degustation menu (in hindsight, we should have gone for the A$80, 3-course menu which many local diners ordered – they are bigger portioned!  Duh!)

Amuse Bouche:  A prawn cracker with wasabi mayo and bonito flakes.  (Betcha, one can get similar prawn crackers from any local Asian grocers *wink*)


Amuse Bouche


Amuse Bouche close-up

Wine:  Grey Sands Pinot Noir from Northern Tassie, A$60 for a half-bottle.  (Always happy with retaurants with half-bottles serves).  Pleased with my wine, 2009 with a bit of age.


Course 1:  Was curious in the black flakes, so enquired the waitress about them.  They were bonito-salted flakes.  Hmm..salty and ashy…kinda OK… I really enjoyed the smoked trout parfait though, creamy and smooth almost like creme fraiche


Confit of ocean trout, smoked trout parfait, shaved fennel, pickled cucumber

Course 2:  Pretty on the plate, but my tummy grumbles… 2 dainty bite-size pork bellies – fried in light batter – chef possibly experimenting tempura-style?  The spanner crab was not fresh – I should have known, since I could smell the ‘crustaceaness’ of it (if there is ever a word to describe it) – being allergic to crustaceans, I got a reaction.  Bummer!


Salad of crispy pork belly, hand-picked spanner crab, watermelon, rouille

Course 3:  Really?  Seriously?!  How can this be the ‘Best Restaurant in Canberra’, when I can get better cuts from my local deli (Norton Street, BJ) or David Jones?!  Still, some cred for the scoth egg – it had a runny yolk – as Heston said boil egg (for 3 mins, for the hen’s egg), soak in cold water, peel, deep fry then finally bake.


Quail breast, quail sausage, caramelised endive, scotch quail egg

Course 4:  Bonito Overkill!  This time I got the whole bonito! Yay!  What exactly is a ‘bonito‘?  I see it often in Japanese menus, never thought twice about it, but they are apparently sardines.  So, this sardine has been smoked and possibly dried over charcoal – if you have seen ‘Jiro’s Dreams of Sushi’, you’d have seen his son/ assistant sitting on a stool, outside their shop, patiently fanning the nori sheets over the charcoal pot.  So how was the taste?  Very tough and very salty (the white stuff on top were salt powders).  The beef was OK, done to my liking, which is medium rare, but salty, made even more salty with the horseradish crust


Cape Grim beef rib eye, horseradish crust, smoked potato mash, braised mushrooms, 1 whole BONITO

Intermission time:  So, how was the interior?  Check out the pic.  Now you know that this restaurant is ideal for dates and some larger parties.  Parking is fantastic since it’s in the suburban shopping strip of Griffith.


What the restaurant looks like

Palate cleanser:  I REALLY liked this!  Macerated cherries, ice cream and cherry sorbet!  It’s a close-up snapshot and was gone in 2 secs!


Course 5:  Nothing really rocked.  It’s a close-up snap again, on the actual plate, it looked a pittance.  But, then again, I enjoyed the liquorice custard


Dark chocolate ganache, liquorice custard, strawberries

So there you have it, my tapas-style European 5-course degustation dinner.  I guess this wasn’t the restaurant’s best effort since I found out later on their FB page that they were looking for a sous chef and a pastry chef.


Date of Visit:  January 15, 2013

The next night, we tried Courgette’s offerings.  Their 4-course dinner menu at A$75 is CHEAP – for a French fine-dining restaurant, that is.

Course 1:  I really like the presentation (my iPhone 4s didn’t do justice).  I can almost feel the jelly melting in my mouth.  Anyway, my companion who had this said that the crab was very fresh and she liked it!


■Blue swimmer crab, avocado, tomato and jelly raviolo, lime mayonaisse, baby celery

I chose this dish in honour of the name of the restaurant – Courgette!  And I’m happy with my choice!  The pumpkin ginger mash was perfectly fried and still crispy and warm when it came to me.


■Pumpkin and ginger filled courgette flower, globe artichoke, ratatouille

Course 2:  The chef is very surf-and-turf for the 2nd Course.  My companion had squail and scampi.  I tried a bit of the sesame seed wafer, it’s like lavash and smells very sesame – so that is good!


■Pan seared quail breast, butter poached scampi tail on corn mousse, split peas, sesame seed wafer, shaved black truffle

Mine was lamb with octopus.  It was an interesting pairing, but took off!  The gamey lamb with usually ‘tasteless’ octopus pulled off with the rich sticky caramelised sauce


■Double lamb cutlet with aubergine caviar, slow cooked octopus, bell pepper and olive cannelloni

Course 3:  My companion remarked that the gnocchi were ‘al dente’.  So game on, Courgette!


■Potato and parmesan gnocchi, asparagus tips, truffle, wild mushroom ragout, petite herbs

Mine was a heavy dish, very satisfying… *burp*…I was interested in the ‘ox-tail cigar’ and was not dissapointed.


■Grainge grainfed angus beef, oxtail cigar, glazed eschalot, sugar snap salad

Course 4:  My companion had this.  The trick was to dip the choc spoon into the souffle to let it melt (psst…a cheeky trick from the chef, so you won’t know whether the souffle is cooked)  The expresso jelly was good too – like roll-ups!


■Coffee soufflé with chocolate and hazelnut parfait, toasted marsmallow and espresso jelly

This is my plate.  I liked the popping candy (aka pralines) and the little jelly cubes, otherwise, not memorable.


■Assorted textures of chocolate with fresh raspberries, salted pistachio nuts and popping candy

Nightcap:  We order tea, and they came with honey and lemon!  Little touches but fantastic!


I guess you’d know my verdict by now.  Definitely Courgette!!

Courgette on Urbanspoon

Ferrython on Australia Day 2013

It’s 26th January today – and Happy Australia Day peeps!!  One of the activities that I look forward to is the Ferrython.  If you have ever watched a Sydney ferry speeding across the Harbour, it’s because they are in training for the Ferrython (as in perpetually)!  It only takes about 7 minutes from Milsons Point to Circular Quay – Godspeed, methinks!  (And accidents do happen, be warned!)

Eventhough the race starts at 11am, the harbour was abuzz with acitivities since early morning with helicopters hovering above securing the area.  The ferries race from Circular Quay to Shark island then back to the finishing post under the Harbour Bridge.


10:30am – Harbour is buzzing!


This is what a Sydney Ferry looks like if you’ve not been to Sydney

It was an ideal day to be out at the foreshore – sunny and hot.


Ferries and entourage of boats, sailboats, helicopter heading to Milsons Point


Sydney Harbour Patrol Boat with water display- ‘Get Out of the way!’

Wow!  What a sight!  What a speed!  (I even saw a couple kayaking in the turbulent water – talk about dare-devils or workout fanatics?!)


Looks like the Red Ferry is leading


Check out Koala Blue! Dig that!


Red Ferry is definitely leading


Full speed ahead – bite the dust man!

There are also a prize for the best dressed boat. I guess this one looks good


Entourage with colourful flags

Yup, cocky little red Honda is the winner!



Another thing of note is that one of the world’s favourite fast-food chain, McDonald’s is changing their signage to ‘Macca’s’ – our Aussie nickname for McDonald’s – in some selected stores around the country for our Australia Day campagin.   The company is also submiting to Macquarie Dictionary to recognise ‘Macca’ in their dictionary.

Mango Passionfruit Pavlova McFlurry from Macca’s – how  Aussie can you get – besides the shrimps on the barbie and sausage sizzles??  G’Day mates!


Macca’s Pavlova McFlurry




Quay Restaurant

Wow! After 3 years of dreaming the famous Snow Egg from MasterChef, I finally got to savour it! Did Peter Gilmore float my boat? Read on!

Date of Visit: January 23, 2013

The Quay Restaurant at Circular Quay is No.29th in S.Pellegrino’s World Top 50 Restaurant (2012). It is the only Australasian restaurant included in the ranking. To get a table at Quay for a party of 2 to 4 would need at least 3 months reservation, however, because we are a party of over 5 people, we got a table with relative ease.

Since we entertaining guests from overseas, we look for location and accolades. What is a more iconic setting than the night time views over the waters of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge? Fret not, the cruise liner parked at the Overseas Terminal usually sets sail around 6:30pm – but do enquire when you make reservation.

The decor of the restaurant is nothing to gush home. Blue carpet, mirrors on the ceiling and walls. The bar looked rather nice, except when I looked closer, it’s just a drinks prep area. AnywaZ, I was given the honour to choose the wine for the table. Since I’m an adventurous drinker, I chose a white and a red varietal from Portugal:
2010 Dona Paterna (Alvarinho), Vinho Verde A$80 – floral varietal akin to sav blanc but with more weight
2006 Niepoort Vertente (D.O.C Douro), Douro Valley A$128 – light chocolate cherry, smooth with some age

I am very pleased with my choosing. I must say that the wine list is very good and easy to navigate, perfectly structured with international selections in magnums and half bottles too.

Our table decided on the 4-course dinner menu (A$165).


Amuse bouche was goat’s curd, tomato, crunchy fennel seed – my taste bud is getting tickled… loving the texture…mmm… looks like the stage is set for a rather fine meal.


Amuse Bouche

Just being a country bumpkin here, got to take pics of everything including butter and salt for the bread! LOL



My choice of salad did not disappoint. See how beautifully it was presented? Sweet juicy cherries, tangy beets and smooth creaminess of the creme fraiche are beautifully balanced with savoury ‘toffeeish’ crunchy croutons


Salad of preserved wild cherries,
albino and chioggia beetroots, radish, crème fraîche, violets

Beautiful presentation


Fragrant poached chicken,
white radish, sea scallops, smoked eggplant cream, pea blossoms

Bugs Bunny’s Delight


Carrot seedlings, white lentils,
almonds, Reggiano emulsion, cumin, daylilies, Job’s tears, coriander flowers


This is where service falls short… 3 persons at our table (including me) ordered squid without thinking that the squid will be replaced by scampi tonight. We thought that it was only for the tasting menu. So a mistake was made when the waiter who took the order did not clarify with us again that squid is also off the 4-course menu when we ordered ‘squid’ (and I had also informed the waiter than I am allergic to shellfish!). In my opinion, a restaurant of this calibre, should simply reprint the menu. How much does an A6 reflex paper cost?

Back to the story…When the replacement scampi arrived, I could immediately smell that it’s crustacean which I am highly allergic to. (And if I can smell crustacean, it only means that it is not fresh, that’s how sensitive my nose is!) A little disagreement ensued with the waiter who brought out the dishes…yadda..yadda… to cut the story short, the waiter should have just removed the plate and not argue with the client! Duh?!

Picture of the wrong order: My source told me that the scampi was ‘mushy’ no ‘crunchy freshness’


Scampi, squid ink custard, society garlic, pink turnips

I’m happy with my replacement. It looks fancy. Puffed quinoa and nuts on the thinly sliced squail (master knife-work here). The brioche came across as dry. Since I can never ever taste truffles no many how many times I have tried, it is perplexing to me why truffles are so highly regarded.


Coturnix quail, farro, hazelnuts, quinoa,
steamed truffle brioche, egg yolk confit, Vin Jaune cream


Look at the tiny onions! Too cute to eat. But the rice in broth was a tad too salty for me


Korean green rice,
mountain spinach, barletta onions, green radish
asparagus, chestnut mushrooms

Dining source’s comment on the lamb was that it was sinewy and not ‘that great’


Suffolk lamb loin,
eggplant skin and olive purée, sheeps milk crème fraîche,
fresh and preserved flowers

Looks like a chocolate cake. Dining source’s comment was that the beef was bland. Oh well… course THREE was only so-so.


Poached Rangers Valley beef,
bitter chocolate black pudding,
morel, ezekiel crumbs, shaved mushrooms


Dessert time! This is THE moment!

Eight texture chocolate cake is the latest signature dessert of Quay. The 8th texture was actually the hot choc sauce served at the table. (Note it melting in the middle). It was a very rich and powerful – me likey!


Eight texture chocolate cake

What it looks like in cross-section. Check out the DIY video here.


Eight texture chocolate cake

This is the moment I have been waiting for! MY Snow Egg arriveth! Apparently, they change the flavours seasonally. They have done jackfruit and guava previously. The process of making the Snow Egg is highly technical. Ice-cream inside lightly poached meringue and encrusted with very thin caramel, resting on cherry granita with bits of dehydrated coconut. Check out the DIY video here


Cherry and coconut snow egg

What was my verdict of the Snow Egg? I liked the presentation but apart from the cherry and coconut granita, I couldn’t remember what was the flavour of the supposed yolk, and whether it should be ice-cream or cream since it was a sludge when I cracked open the egg.


Cherry and coconut snow egg

I saw people from the next table having the ‘Jersey cream, salted caramel, prunes, walnuts, ethereal sheets’, also on the dessert menu. The presentation looked ‘deconstructive’ with the sheets wedging into the cream and sorts. I’m sure it must be delish too!

Finally, some chocky with our nightcap


Petit Fours – extra A$10 with coffee/ tea

So, did Peter Gilmore float my boat? Needless to say, the presentations rocked and the techniques involved in the desserts could not be faulted. Unfortunately, for the main meals, there are other places that offers better. If I am coming back, it will definitely be for the desserts.

Degustation menu (updated)

Degustation menu

Degustation menu

FYI and comparison sake, do check out Andy Hayler’s review here.

Quay on Urbanspoon

Four In Hand

Date of Visit:  January 20 2013

When it comes to restaurant recommendations, who’s a better person to turn to than yours truly?  I eat out a lot, and I mean A LOT!  I should moonlight as a Concierge in some posh 5 star hotels.  However, since I had worked (albeit only part-time in hotels when I was in Uni – I can honestly tell you that hospitality is nothing glam, sipping champers and mingling with guests at cocktails – it’s backarchingly exhausting with long arduous hours and occasional dealings with incredible hard-to-please guests!)

Enough said, with a couple of guests flying in from New York for the work week ahead, I have been delegated to find a couple of wonderful places to entertain. Since this is our first meeting, I decided to dine at one of the locals that I frequented. Four in Hand is a small comfortable restaurant housed in a heritagey building in the leafy suburb of Paddington – where I can easily find a spot to park my car for a Sunday lunch. The chef is an Irishman by the name of Colin Fassnidge and he cooks the food that I like to eat, namely traditional slow-cooked foods that are big in natural flavours and presented with a contemporary twist. It also offer a good selection of international wines.  The restaurant has a slightly formal vibe with  white linen table-cloths and napkins, however, the maitre-d and waiters are friendly enough to welcome guests in flip-flops for lunch too.

First up, the amuse bouche – the usual ‘fish and citrus soup’. Very powerful and zesty – not unlike the lobster bique with tangy lemon and herbs –  I’d say ‘wake up taste buds’!


Amuse Bouche compliments of the Chef

Entree (A$28): 

My guest had a crab tart, which is curry mixed with potato and fennel.  I am not sure of the exact ingredients, but the marron looks big and juicy.


Guest’s Entree: Crab ‘tart’

Mine was warm trevally (a white fish).  The mash potatoes accompaniment come heavily mixed with miso.  The vinegared cucmber was very appetising and best of all was the crunchy wafer-thin pork crackling, which I absolutely loved.  A Japanese-influenced dish, I reckon with miso, soy sauce and pickled cucmbers.  Never a food waster, I used the sourdough (from Iggy’s) to mop up all the sauces!


My Entree: Warm trevally with crackling and miso prickled cucumbers

Next up:  The Main (A$39)

My guest had the lamb with the seasonal tomatoes.  The menu changes regularly, but the basic key ingredient of of lambs, pork and beef are always there, be it slow-braised or roasted.  What changes are the seasonal vegetables.


Guest’s Main: Lamb 4 Ways

My main was absolutely divine!  Look at the fat on the pork!  I ate all the fat and left most of the meat on the plate (it was a huge serve – the one other thing I love about 4 in Hand is, they feed you very generously!)  Seriously, if you want to stay looking young and healthy, you have to eat some Omega 3… eg Fat!  Cooked fat is not fattening because the fatty oils have been released in the process of cooking, and what is left is the colleagen and fat molecules.  Seen any good looking vegetarians in their 60s?  Betcha they have wiry hair, bad teeth and parchment skin.  Reason is:  While being on a raw food or vegetable diet is fantastic, the nutrients that you have in the beginning will be used up in 10 years if you don’t replenish your body with healthy fats and vitamins found in traditional food.  Anway, without regressing further, the fried ‘cube’ you see on the plate has some sweetmeats, more fat and pigs tail YUMMO!  The roasted nectarines and radicchio gave a terrifc balance of tarty sweet and bitterness to the dish!  COMPLEX SIMPLICITY INDEED!


My Main: Roast Suckling Pig, Tail, Nectarines and Prosciutto

Oh, I nearly forgot my main came with smooth mashed potatoes with celeriac and eschallots – to ease my eusophagus!  LOL


My Main #2: Mash accompanying Roast Suckling Pig, Tail, Nectarines and Prosciutto

Finale:  The Dessert (A$16)

Pictures speak for themselves… Nom Nom


Chocolate Nutrigrain with Macerated Cherry Salad


Cinnamon Cream, Nuts, Apple Popsicle

I was interested to know what Hoegaarden snow was.  It was simply lime granita


Roast Peach, Basil Cream Hoegaarden Snow

Here are the iPhone food porn that I have from my other lunch on December 8 2012. Lucky that I took snaps of the menu too.  Otherwise, I won’t know what is hiding under the foliage.  There are some key changes in the menu, good thing too, as I can always expect something new when I visit.


Duck Salad


Tuna Sashimi with Smoked Eel, Lemon Curd and Sea Herbs


Chicken Liver Parfait and Prosciutto


Miso Braised Beef with Barley, Smoked Carrot, and Local Sea Green


Spring Lamb; 4 ways with Peas, Beans and Baked Tomato


Roast Spanish Mackerel with Brassica, celery and Vanilla Puree (not on new menu)


Peanut and Jelly Sundae (not on new menu)

Well, if the restaurant menu looks steep, then the pub next-door will be more your thing.  The food is a ‘fraction’ of the price you pay in the restaurant and they come from the same kitchen!


Onion Rings with Coleslaw


Slow-cooked Beef

Steak and Chips

Steak and Chips

All in all, I do recommend Four In Hand for your out-of-town visitors.  Next up dinner at Quays before my visitors head back to NYC!

Four in Hand on Urbanspoon

Perfect Summer Salad

Another super hot day! Although, it didn’t hit 45C like the other day, but boy, it was still a scorcher!

Salads are always the best choice for a light summer fare – light enough to fill up but not as heavy to induce a coma afterwards. I had a wonderful entree lunch of ‘warm ocean trout with quail eggs and kipfler potatoes’ at North Sydney Harbourview Hotel.


The ocean trout came lightly seared and served with fresh dills and tarragons. In my opinion, dills, tarragons and ocean trout make the perfect combo. The salad was lightly seasoned in fresh lemon juice resting on a bed of crisp kipfler potatoes wedges. I thought about ordering chips with my meal, but a couple of these potatoes really made my day (minus the extra calories). The quail eggs dressed with 2 types of fish roes not only please the eye, but lift my palate with its fishy saltiness.

Did I mention that this hotel has one big secret – it has some serious breathe-taking water views without the price tag! The NYE fireworks must be spectacular from the hotel.