A Dieter Goes Lunching @ Bistro Moncur, Woollahra

Date of Visit: November 14 2013

Dining out when one is on a pseudo-diet is kinda hard. How do one choose what to eat from the long list of deliciousness? E-A-S-Y! That is, if one has a checklist of what one can and cannot eat – i.e. a limiting factor as a guidance to make choosing off the menu a breeze.

Today I am going high protein, so no carbs for me‚Ķ although I did cheat with a glass of buttery cold chard from Western Australia‚Ķ c’mon, it’s been quite a stressful day, a glass can do not harm, right? ūüėČ Nevertheless, this is my survival story…

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Crusty sourdough for my eyes to feast on…

Sitting through Starters, watching and smelling one’s dining companions’ foods can be a torture, but with the right mindset, watching people enjoying their food and being able to participate albeit only by watching is priceless (no weight gain!) One can play the part of the interviewer querying, “How’s the food? How’s the taste? You like?”

The French Onion souffl√© smelt very good, exactly like the french onion soup except in the pudding/ souffl√© form and surrounded by grilled cheese. Totally decadent‚Ķmmm‚Ķ but of course my mind started berating: “Do you want to jiggle like the souffl√©?” My strategy was to satisfy my inner cravings by inhaling deeply ‚Ķommm, namaste!

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French Onion Soufflé

Same goes for my strategy on my other dining companion who had Chicken Liver Pate with the accompaniments of melba toasts and 3 cherries. I used the visualisation cue – imagination.. And that’s what I did, I imagined myself in my companion’s shoes, spreading the thick malleable creamy chicken liver over the charred melbas‚Ķ

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Chicken Liver Pate

Finally, plates were cleared, our Mains arrived.

Sirloin steak and shoe string fries for the gentleman. Thank Heavens, I was busy with my own food that I did not even attempt to nick a fry! Good self-control by way of a pre-occupied mind! (See my dish below)

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Sirloin steak and shoe string fries

Salmon for the other lady companion. Now, remember, people are often very generous with their food and will offer you a tasting bite. Say: “NO! Thank You!”

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Salmon

Unfortunately, the translucent potato chip piqued my interest. Check out the ‘fossilised’ parsley! So, I let my guard down and took one‚Ķ Anyway, no point in beating oneself over the gluttony, as the saying goes, “start afresh, tomorrow is another day!”

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Potato Chip

My ‘pre-occupation’ was in the form of the delectable Pork Belly & Pork Loin paired with baked apple, walnuts and braised savoy cabbage. I practised mindful eating at this point – slowly devouring and savouring each mouthful of the perfectly cooked and very succulent pork. You know what? Baked apples is so much more filling than apple sauce, and it was nice to be cutting up the apple and spreading it on the meat!

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Pork Belly & Pork Loin

Since I took a rather long time to polish off my meal. We were not tempted by the desserts – the limiting factor here was the 2 hour car parking – we did not want a ticket from the parking ranger!

As you can see, strategic planning by arming oneself with limiting factors such as what one can or cannot eat, not wanting a parking ticket; the right mindset; cueing with visualisation and eating mindfully played an important role over my lunch today. Practise it often, and one can survive a darn good lunch!

(Past visit at Bistro Moncur here)

Hot and Cold… Frozen and Crumbed @ Tomislav, Darlinghurst

Date of Visit: November 1 2013

Like most ambitious young chefs, Chef Tomislav Martinovic went abroad and worked in many kitchens including the highly esteemed Heston Blumenthal’s. So when my friend, Side-Kick Chica (she writes a travel blog here), said that she missed out on dining at Fat Duck when she was in UK recently. I told her we have a Fat Duck alumni here! No need to travel all the way to Bray in Berkshire county – a 50 minutes journey from London’s Paddington Station and why bother figuring out the logistics and lodging simply for dinner?! Duh!!

So a Saturday lunch at Tomislav was settled…

The restaurant is a leisurely 10-minutes walk from Kings Cross Station – one can also trek up William Street, if one is up to it – like we were going to, except it was a 30C Saturday…

We had the 4-course set lunch at $95 (no other options). We parked ourselves at a table for 4 on the balcony, enjoying a partial view of the Bridge and a partial view of the Coca-Cola sign blocked by the trees and the magpie that swooped in for a visit…but mostly entertained by the sound of traffic…

As we waited for our 1st course, we snacked on rice crackers with sea salt (+$10) which we spritzed vinegar from an atomiser – so deft! The rice crackers were apparently “simply brushed with egg white and deep-fried for two to three seconds, resulting in paper-thin scrunches that look like dropped hankies. They stay crisper than crisp even when sprayed with the little atomiser of vinegar, a move nicked straight out of Heston Blumenthal’s kitchen/laboratory” (much quoted sentences from food blogs).

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Rice crackers with sea salt and vinegar.

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Rice crackers

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Lemon, lime and bitters and Tap water

The affable Ann- Maree, looked after us well. We had house-churned butter and frozen chocolate presented on a granite plinth accompanies our complimentary sour dough. What a kooky idea to blend choc-ice with butter! Interesting chocolate bread idea, but I preferred picking and eating the choc-ice instead!

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Chocolate-ice and house-churned butter

Our Amuse Bouche was the triple cheeses onion toasties. The cheeses were marshmallow-ishly soft and tasted cheesey, accentuated with bits of caramelised onions and fragile crackers.

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Triple cheeses onion toasties

Course 1

My Choice (Kickass Chica): A light summery dish of thinly sliced Spanish mackerel carpaccio covered in finely chopped salad of burnett – the herbs tasted very fresh, reminiscent of cucumber – and when paired with celery sorbet makes a good transition to the crackers held in place by creamy mackerel mousse. Should I have broken the quail’s egg to mix with the carparccio? I am not sure since it is ALWAYS my habit to always eat the yolk whole without breaking it.

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Spanish mackerel carpaccio, salad burnette, mackerel mousse, prawn crackers

Side-kick Chica’s choice:

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Roast Kurobuta Pork Belly, anchovy juice, raw cauliflower, poached cuttlefish

Course 2

My Choice: A fan of offal and eggs, roast veal sweetbread with poached quail yolk – again? – foie gras was my ideal choice. I enjoyed the sweet caramelised sweetbread against the bitter charred pieces of spring onions. The frozen and crumbed foie gras was a novelty – creamy and smooth for me to smear over my sweetbread. The grilled mango was presented in the form of a streak on the plate – from my fading memory, I recalled popping candies of dehydrated cranberries and a couple of thinly sliced radishes as well, however, I may be proved wrong…

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Roast Veal Sweetbread, poached yolk, grilled mango, foie gras crumbs

Side-kick Chica’s choice:

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Butter poached scallops, peas shoots, broccoli cream, cyrstal bay prawns

Course 3

(Both Side-kick Chica and I had the same course).

The pairing of coconut pudding with the roasted Riverina lamb neck piqued my interest so I decided to order it to see how well they matches. Overly contrasting and perhaps mismatched, I can only describe the pairing as ‘interesting’. The lamb neck was faultless but I ate the coconut pudding – basically tapioca sago cooked in milky coconut – separately as dessert.

Hmm… we have another play of the ‘frozen and crumbed’, now in the form of frozen mustard.

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Roast Riverina Lamb neck, frozen mustard, pickled radishes, coconut pudding

Course 4

My Choice: I had the lemon cheesecake which Tomislav described as his perfected version of Wow Cow yoghurt. An interesting deconstructed cheesecake with lemon mousse studded with cheese on a sable base; a pink quenelle of strawberry sorbet sitting on the crumbed sable with salt; green frozen and crumbed mint on the yellow grilled pineapple – added a contrast of colours to the dish – oh, and not forgetting the 2 deep-ruby berry drops on the plate.

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Lemon cheesecake, mint crumbs, frozen yoghurt, grilled pineapple

Side-kick Chica’s choice:

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Chocolate and Caramel Cake, coconut ice, chocolate biscuit, roast apple ice cream

It was definitely a very technique-driven lunch of flavoured frozen crumbs on hot dishes. I am sure Chef Tomislav had made good use of his paco-jet machine to the delight of us all, his customers!

While browsing though my pictures, I was thinking how the choice of plates made for interesting and psychedelic plated dishes!

I also have to praise Ann-Maree for her fantastic hospitality which added to our luncheon enjoyment! ūüėė

At the time of posting, Tomislav scored 91% from 136 votes!

Tomislav on Urbanspoon

Value Dega @ Bishop Sessa, Surry Hills

Date of Visit: November 1 2013

Ever thought of naming your restaurant after your favourite game?  Well, Chef Paul Cooper did.  His restaurant at 527 Crown Street, Surry Hills is named after Sessa, the inventor of the game of Chaturanga, an ancient Indian strategy game which is the common ancestor of the board game of chess which he is fond of.

Tonight’s night-out was a 6-course dega meal ($69). ¬† I did not opt for wine matching this time because I was on a ‘diet’. Nevertheless, dinner is not dinner unless there is a glass of wine, so lieu of 6 glasses of wines for wine matching (+$50), I ordered a Spanish white -Marques de Tezona Macabeo ($7.50) – which was¬†rather dry and quite minerally.

Bread was served while we waited for our meal to start. ¬†Since part of my diet was the minimise unnecessary grain and gluten intake, I only looked at it…

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Bread + Olive oil

Course 1

Albacore comes from the tuna family which has reached a fashionable status in regards to its¬†sustainable status. ¬†In Course 1, the delightful albacore tuna tartare was matched with¬†¬†sweet pea puree and creme fraiche in a cute mason jar. ¬†The pale pink tartare was sweet, clean and delicate on the palate. ¬†The addition of cracker and¬†crispy rice puffs added a crunchy mouthfeel – hmm…¬†rice puffs are called woba in Shanghainese which remind us to one of our course – Scallop – at BO Innovation in Hong Kong (review here)

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Mooloolaba Albacore tartare, peas, fennel, creme fraiche, lemon

Course 2

Course 2 mimicry the arrival of summer with its appetisingly refreshing smell of fresh cucumber juice.  Creamy scallops and creamy avocado paired with icy cold ginger sorbet hidden under the wispy rice cracker.  I particularly enjoyed the sorbet for its Japanese-pickled-gingers-taste served at the sushi bar.  A very refreshing and neat dish that I simply had to lap up the cold cucumber juice.

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Scallop ceviche, cucumber,avocado, ginger beer sorbet

Course 3

The pork belly has to be the best pork belly we had ever eaten!  A hot fatty piece of meat with perfect crackling that literally melted in our mouths!  The pickled calamari sliced thin like fettucine was a palate cleanser with its pleasant acidity. The sweetness of corn kernels rounded out the flavoursome combination.

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Corned pork & local calamari, barbecued corn, lemon verbena crackling

While waiting for Course 4, we saw The NSW Mounted Police on their horses.  By the way, do you know that The New South Wales Mounted Police Unit is the oldest continuous operational mounted unit in the world?  Fancy that!  Check out their website (here) for free tours and museum visits every Tuesdays and Thursdays.

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The New South Wales Mounted Police Unit

Let’s continue with dinner…

Course 4

We moved into the heavier French-inspired course 4 for our duck cooked 2 ways Рroasted duck breast and confit duck sausage roll.    Whilst I enjoyed the duck breast paired with the orange & onion marmalade jam with slivers of orange peels, I found the duck in the puff pastry too gamey for my liking.  The roasted carrot in balsamic was interesting.

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Roasted Ayelsbury duck breast, confit duck sausage roll, orange & onion marmalade

Course 5

The Wagyu course had the same accompaniment as the duck course, which are sauteed silverbeet (cooked in balsamic reduction?) and pumpkin puree. ¬†Unfortunately, very lackluster being overly sweet. ¬†The ‘steak’ came packaged in biscuit-like potato pastry, it was bits of pulled beef seasoned in herbs, but liven up by the¬†vinaigrette-y,¬†mushroom pate.

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Potato wrapped slow cooked Wagyu, pumpkin, mushroom vinaigrette, silverbeet

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Potato wrapped slow cooked Wagyu, pumpkin, mushroom vinaigrette, silverbeet

Course 6

Dessert was a course I could – and should – do without! ¬†But hey, it’s a Friday night – chillax – so I devoured chocolate mousse and brownie – ¬†cleaned the milky ice-cream and the works! ¬†I couldn’t recall anything special about this dessert except the marshmallow tasted weird in grainy sugary texture.

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Chocolate chip parfait, chocolate mousse, caramelised pop corn

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Chocolate chip parfait, chocolate mousse, caramelised pop corn

If you are looking for fine dining in the area, I will suggest Bishop Sessa.

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Bishop Sessa – more tables upstairs

At the time of posting, Bishop Sessa scored 90% out of  108 votes

Bishop Sessa on Urbanspoon

Burnt and Charred @ The Woods, Four Seasons Hotel, Sydney

Date of Visit: October 26 2013

Destination dining in hotel restaurants is very popular in Asia and  I am perplexed as to why it is not catching on in Sydney.  Perhaps, it has to do with the perception that hotels often overcharge Рthink bottled water.  I love good food, and do not mind paying extra for restaurant interiors (e.g. ambience).  My rationale is that, since I am already forking out for a grand night-out, I might as well get a great all-round experience which includes atmosphere and service.

Much has been written about the¬†‘new adventurous destination¬†restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel‘ and its¬†interior. ¬†Moreover as a fan of the now defunct, very posh¬†Kable’s, with fond memories,¬†¬†I am eager to appraise whether The Woods matches the Four Seasons’ fine dining experience.

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The Woods located on the ground floor lobby.

INTERIOR

Described¬†a festival of wood, there¬†is a lot of¬†Australian hardwoods in rich caramel and dark chocolate colours¬†at work in its interior. ¬†¬†A beautiful space with a lot going on – wood-fired oven, open kitchen, ‘vertical herb gardens’, timber racks stocked with bottles and a ceiling with mural of recipes and diagrams to boot! ¬†Unfortunately, the¬†lightings were very dim and monotonous, thus made my eyes very tired.

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Flos Lighting

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Long tables to cater for large parties

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The quirky pots are actually assemblages of a ‘vertical herb garden’!

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Another section off from the main restaurant – for semi-private functions

Decor was nice but why seat our party of 3 to a table at the top of the disabled ramp away from the main restaurant? There were PLENTY of tables in the ‘main restaurant’ – PLUS I made my booking a week in advance!

Nevertheless, despite the lack of white tablecloths,¬†I was anticipating a ¬†Morton’s style of experience – not sure why, but to me, grills make uncanny references to American steaks. ¬†I have made a point of dining at a Morton’s at any cities that has a Morton’s, much like Planet Hollywood in my younger days! ¬†My menu was always ¬†their pulled porked sandwich – call me silly!¬†ūüėõ

I digress…

Back to The Woods, this restaurant is helmed by rising Australian Chef Hamish Ingham of one chef-hatted Bar H fame.

Although The Woods made references to wood-fired oven, it was puzzling that the breads arrived stone-cold.

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Stone-cold bread ($3 pp)

Melted blob of house-churned butter Рbut no flaked salt in sight!  What about a candle for the table?

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Melting blob of butter

I am actually pretty impressed with the wine list. ¬†We had an Italian Sangiovese – I seldom order Aussie nowadays when I dine out, I prefer to be ‘adventurous‘.

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I am uncertain as to where to put the menu at The Woods, whether a fine dining menu or a hotel menu. ¬†It seems to me neither here nor there…

To kick off the lackluster night…

A plate of Oysters comprising of Petit Clair, Clair de Lune, Moonlight en Surface, Moonlight Kisses and Rusty wire.  I was advised to eat from the smallest oyster to the largest Рdelicate to the strongest.  My favourite in the assorted oysters was Moonlight Kisses, overall the oysters were very briney and had strong smells Рmight be off?

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Assorted Oysters ($4.50 each)

Duck and pork terrine accompanied by radicchio¬†salad came across as dry…

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Duck and pork terrine ($19)

Hmmm… never encountered a sirloin steak with bone before… burnt and charred…

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Aged sirloin, cafe de paris & hand cup chips ($44)

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Bowl of Chips

Whole line caught John Dory Fish¬†grilled over apple wood ¬≠‚Äď serves 2… burnt and charred… (Can’t smell apple wood)

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Whole line caught John Dory Fish grilled over apple wood ­($49)

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John Dory

The waitress had to be reminded of our salad…

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Green Salad ($8)

Since October was¬†Good Food Month, with a special Let’s Do Dessert segment, The Woods’ featured dessert was Wood-fire pear tart tartin with smoked vanilla ice-cream and verjuice caramel with a glass of Brown Brothers dessert wine, all for $20. ¬†Whilst I enjoyed the caramelised pear segments, but I couldn’t detect any smokiness nor vanilla flavour of the smoked vanilla ice-cream – only milkiness… The thin base was akin to the¬†flaky croissant.

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Wood-fire pear tart tartin

The Woods definitely does not fit into the ¬†profile of a 5-star property such as Four Seasons. ¬†It didn’t come a surprise to me that the contract is not being renewed (here). ¬†This is more a tapas/ bistro joint – we quickly vacated when the boisterous private party crowd came at 8pm to be seated at the large tables near us. ¬†To its cred, it IS an impressive place to hold parties!

At the time of writing, The Woods scored 86% out of 51 votes

The Woods on Urbanspoon

Value Dega Deal @ WaQu, Crows Nest

Date of Visit: October 28 2013

I have driven past WaQu along Pacific Highway, maybe a zillion times.  I had wanted to try out the Japanese cuisine there but had never got around to checking it out until last Sunday evening.  Perhaps due to stiff competitions along the numerous Japanese eateries along the strip, the  establishment is currently offering a 6-course degustation meal at $58, which is $10 off Рperfect to spend on a glass of wine to accompany the meal!

For the wine aficionado, an additional $45 will get you 6 different wines to match with your meal which I went for. ¬†Otherwise, a glass of 2009 Dourthe ¬†‘Terrasse de la Jalle’, a Cabernet Savignon from Medoc, France ($12) ¬†comes highly recommended by my Mom who appreciates robust red wines. ¬†I had a sip, and found the wine to be pleasant with soft¬†tanins (e.g. not bitter and dry).

First up, was my sake РToyo Bijin, a sake in DaiGinjo-style from Yamaguchi Perfecture, west of Japan. This style of sake is made of highly polished rice Рup to 50% Рand added with additional alcohol.  It is a light, crisp and fruity varietal that paired well with my amuse bouche and first course to come.

Amuse¬†Bouche for the table was sushi rice wrapped in charred zuchini and¬†Japanese basil. The inclusion of the herbaceous Japanese¬†basil or shiso – as it is commonly known –¬†together with the chopped up hazelnuts gave a unique and¬†vibrant taste that I can only describe as citrusy and nutty.

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Zucchini Sushi

Course 1

Soup of the day is chilled pumpkin soup infused in coconut milk and onion with a generous douze of lemon oil on top.  A truly delectable milky sweet soup, with barely a hint of onion.  Paired with the acidity of the fruity fragrant Toyo Bijin sake, the umaminess of the soup is extenuated, thus making this combo akin to an aperitif.

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Chilled pumpkin
soup

Course 2

The sommelier, now wearing his waiter-hat, explained the cooking method of Su-Jime Salmon Sashimi which came beautifully plated in a glazed stone bowl with mango sauce, myoga salad, lightly fried wild rice, green tea salt. The raw salmon has been macerated in Japanese rice vinegar to cook and it is akin to Peruvian cerviche without the sourness.  Mango sauce went well with the sashimi . The myoga salad was basically spring onions if I recall correctly.

To drink: 2008 Frogmore Creek, Cuvee Evermore from Coal River Valley, Tasmania

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Su-Jime Salmon
Sashimi

Course 3:

Scallops + Beans is a platter of 2 big juicy scallops accompanied by peas of sorts. There was a big broadbean hidden under the prociutto crisp. Light-flavoured peas puree together with peas and yoghurt mousse provided additional richness to the scallops, but I prefered the robust crunchy sweet peas instead.  Not sure about the macadamia nuts dusting though as it rendered itself quite tasteless, but quite made a pretty heap.

To Drink: 2013 Brindabella Hills, Rieslings, Canberra ACT.   Canberra is an emerging wine district, and this riesling is akin to the floral minerally Austrian riesling with good acidity.

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Scallops + Beans

Course 4  (2 choices to choose from)

My Bro had the Pan-fried Barramundi which came accompanied with grilled eggplant nibitashi (that means eggplants that have been grilled, then stewed in soy and mirin sauce), cucumber and zuchini puree.

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Pan-fried Barramundi

While my Mom and I had the Pan-fried Kingfish. ¬†True to the Sommelier-waiter explanation, the skin was indeed the best part of the fish. ¬†I also enjoyed the salty bacon foam which¬†contrasted well with the bitter watercress puree. ¬†The steamed white asparagus were lightly charred and were delectable to help cut the flavoursome taste of the fish ¬†off my palate. ¬†Not sure about the roasted soba seeds though – but interesting to see they looked like rice!¬†ūüėú

To Drink: A dry-medium bodied  2012 Hamelin Bay Chardonnay from Margaret River, WA.  A nose of bitter almond and sweet pineapple, it has a hint of cashew nut, clean and crisp without any butteriness.

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Pan-fried Kingfish

Course 5  (3 choices to choose)

Bro chose Tajima Wagyu Sirloin Steak, this incurred a surcharge of $8.  The accompaniments were  celeriac puree, rocket puree, apple sauce, potato gratine, mustard seeds.

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Tajima Wagyu Sirloin Steak

My Mom chose Roast Rack of Lamb which is accompanied  by purple carrot and almond  puree, mung bean sprout salad, potato confit.

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Roast Rack of Lamb

I chose the Thirlmere Corn Fed Chicken Two Way. ¬†The roasted chicken breast was not as¬†tender as I liked, but the skin was fantastically thin and¬†perfectly crispy. ¬†I used the parsnip ginger puree as ‘lubricant’. ¬†The chicken thigh was juicier and stuffed with a¬†roulade with cauliflower and black truffle which smelt heavenly.

To Drink: 2010 Shadowfax ‘Minnow‘, a Cinsault¬†Mataro Carignan from Mornington, VIC which is ¬†herbaceous with a nose of lavender and rose berry.

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Thirlmere Corn Fed Chicken Two Way

 Course 6

My final wine pairing for the night was the Ume-no-yado, a plum sake from Nara Japan.  This is an unfliltered sake thus the cloudy look.  It has the honey plum nose as well as taste.  Sweet!

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Ume-no-yado

Strawberry x Strawberry x¬†Strawberry signalled the end of our meal. ¬†This is a deconstructed strawberry cheesecake… Strawberry cheese cubes, strawberry mousse, sweet macerated strawberries, sable crumbs, nougat pieces and cream sauce… I¬†especially liked the herb-infused strawberry sorbet which is utterly¬†refreshing, adding a summeriness to the mouthfeel – so let’s not about the unpredictable¬†weather in Sydney now – blowing hot and cold – making me take a lot of guesswork in my ward-robing!

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Strawberry x Strawberry x Strawberry

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Strawberry x Strawberry x Strawberry

A swig of coffee, a moment to digest, then we are off!

Service was pretty good in general, although there was a hiccup in our reservation.  I booked through Dimmi and received a couple of reminders and even a text inquiring dietary requirements, yet we arrived at the restaurant, our booking was not on the clapboard and raised a pair of well-groomed Japanese meterosexual male eyebrows.  Otherwise, service was attentive whereby the waiters took great pains to explain each dish Рin this instance the sommelier was the star!

This is truly an upscale modern Japanese -Australian fusion dining sans the price.

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Quick iPhone shot of the moody timber interior.

WaQu scored 84% out of 204 votes at the time of posting

Waqu on Urbanspoon

Breakfast With Ashton Kutcher… @ Three Blue Ducks, Bronte

Date of Visit: August 17 2013

If you are reading this post, because I mentioned ‘Breakfast with Ashton Kutcher’, then I’m sorry – I lied, I didn’t. ¬†I went there because I read that many¬†Hollywood stars had dined here, including Aston Kutcher (goss¬†here)

But if you insist, I did see a well-know chef there – she’s Asian and there’s only a couple of famous Asian female chefs in Sydney, so go figure!

But if you insist still, I have done a few spin sessions at the gym with Nicole Kidman… dined with a movie star (here) and royalties (here)…

Alright, I sound though I’m gearing up for a bragging contest, but I’m really, really not. ¬†The reason, I’m doing this way-overdued post on Three Blue Ducks¬†was my craving for something hot, sweet and filling. ¬†*Blinkers on* I remembered the awesome dessert-ish breakfast porridge I had there.

The black rice, tapioca and quinoa porridge is something very Asian (reminiscent of Thai) ¬†that I can replicate here in Borneo – black rice and tapioca are ¬†easily accessible here and I have brought with me a pack of quinoa from Sydney. Although the TBDs’ recipe called for¬†poached fruit, yoghurt and honey, in my version, I can use fresh tropical fruits, coconut milk and palm sugar! ¬†Likewise, I can also toast some nuts and coconut flakes to make my dessert smelling as sublime!

This is a picture of the Thai-ish, dessert-ish, warm winter breakfast porridge I had – gosh – 3 months back!

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Black rice- tapioca and quinoa porridge with poached fruit-yoghurt and honey (A$16)

Since, it’s a Friday today, this is my plan hatched for the weekend – watch this space for my version!

**********

But before I sign off for my grocery-run, let me give a brief intro of Three Blue Ducks which opened its doors in 2010.

A super busy cafe – a businessman thinks and a businessman does – expand and acquire the adjoining shop! ¬†So, on this morning, when we dropped in for breakfast, ¬†we sat in ‘quieter’ room which I assume to be the dining room of the cafe with a corner wall heaving with booze. ¬† Now, isn’t this a clever ¬†and versatile restaurant idea? ¬†Caffeine to work through the day and ample of spirits to propagate a jolly night?

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A very hardworking young apprentice (next MasterChef contestant?) busy at the Bar

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Liquours

I especially like the funky rustic vibe in combination with colourful wall murals and raw materials such as timber and bricks.  I was extremely impressed by the colourful duck in flight, but unfortunately, my iPhone could not capture the colours properly.  Well, to be fair, the duck was in full flight and was in a hurry Рno time to stop to pose for me!

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Interior: Wall-mural

So instead, I focussed on a more sombre drawing of a man reflecting in black-and-white – who had his attention totally focused at the bar – betcha he’s waiting for nightfall!

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B&W Wall Mural

The other side of the room was lined with timber planks and had bric-and-bracs of household stuff.  The one below had bottles, wooden ruler, box and spindles.

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Bric-a-bracs

Since breakfast is served until 11:30am, we better hurry along to order our brekkie…

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Logo Design on cover of Menu

My 2 sidekicks, Mom and Bro chose Paleo to power up their day…

Bro had  Scrambled eggs with black sausage, dill cucumber yoghurt salad and red currant jam ($21.50).  The black sausage is supposed to be the stand-out dish there.

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Scrambled eggs with black sausage, dill cucumber yoghurt salad and red currant jam

Mom had Coddled eggs with chorizo, pulled pork and cannellini baked beans.  The eggs were awesome,  you can ask for gluten-free sprouted bread here.  Pulled pork and baked beans were rich and sweet to kickstart a perfect weekend!

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Coddled eggs with chorizo, pulled pork and cannellini baked beans

Needless to say, coffee was good – we ordered 2 cups each.

For those interested in sustainable living, TBD has a veggie patch at the back of their cafe, so feel free to take a look.

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Graffiti Alley

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Way out/ way in: Alley between the 2 shops/ rooms

Seeing how gullible I can be, on our way back home ¬†at Bondi Road, in front of Kemeny’s , my Bro shouted “Hey, that’s Russell Crowe!”, he got me all excited, but nah, that fat man can’t be him!

At the time of review, Three Blue Ducks scored 79% out of 282 votes

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Dining with The Silver-Haired Set @ Georges at Piccadilly, Sydney

Date of Visit: August 20 2013

Today I was introduced to Georges at Piccadilly in Sydney CBD by my family auditor (called George). One doesn’t get taken out to lunch by an accountant often, so I was curious to see where an accountant eats.   Georges sits on the ground floor of a shopping centre, doing brisk business with silver-haired patrons.  The hearty traditional menu is similar to the menu at Cosmopolitan Cafe in Double Bay I was told and they used to belong to the same owner.  (FYI, Cosmopolitan is a rather posh  cafe for the Double Bay set to rub shoulders when I was still at school, ‘whoever was anybody’ dines there).

Owner Leo, ever hard-working was  on his feet making sure everything is in order.

Georges menu are traditional casual lunchtime fares consisting of  sandwiches, melts, salads, steaks and seafood. Sandwiches and toasties are popular for the older ladies whereas the gentlemen preferred their heartier steaks or huge plates of fish and chips to go with a glass of vino.

I ordered Moussaka with a side salad. It was huge slab of minced meat and eggplants sandwiched between a potato base and the creamiest, thickest layer of belchamel cheese. It was slightly spiced, however leaning to sweet which I assume to cater for the older tastebuds.   It was lovely nonetheless.   With the temperature taking a sudden nose-dive today,  the pipping hot moussaka was  moreish, I guiltily finished it all.

Coffee, though was a tad weak and very milky to cater for its set of clientele.

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Moussaka

At the time of review, Georges Cafe Piccadilly scored 55% out of 9 votes!
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