Offal Nom Noms @ Bistrode CBD, Sydney

Date of Visits:  Too many times

I was looking through my collection of gastronomic escapades on my iPhone where I have stored over 4,000+ photos when I came across my album on Bistrode CBD and realised that I have yet made a post on Jeremy Strode who is my favourite chef in Sydney.  Bistrode CBD is a fine dining restaurant in Sydney and currently sits at No 65 on Australian Gourmet Traveller magazine’s Australian Top 100 Restaurant Guide 2014.   He  also manages The Fish Shop in Potts Point under the Merivale’s wing.

I first came across Jeremy’s cooking at MG Garage; and when he opened Bistrode in Surry Hills with his wife, Jane in 2005,  my family and I became their frequent diners and would receive a  pot of their delicious home-made chutney at Christmas. Now that they have moved to the City, we visit less often but still make a point to drop in  whenever we are in the vicinity.  His restaurant is always busy and reservations is advised, however, since we are regulars, we are always welcomed by the staffs and would usually get a table.

Jeremy is known for his classic English fare focusing on secondary cuts of meats and offal executed with French cooking techniques. Techniques he learnt while cooking for well known French masters including Chef Michel Roux at Waterside Inn at Bray in Berkshire, Roger Verge at Le Moulin de Mougins at theFrench Riviera and  legendary Chef Pierre Koffmann at La Tante Claire.   Black-and-white photos of his mentors adorn the walls in his monochromatic coloured restaurant.

As an offal enthusiast myself, I must-order is organ meats and there are always some kind of offal on the menu.  My favourite is Calves Livers, pictured below:

OFFAL
Calves Livers

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Calves Liver: With beef and caramelised onions

Do enjoy the rest of the photos from my iPhone photo collection – these are the dishes that I have thoroughly enjoyed and would recommend.

Tripes

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Tripe, Onions, Chilli & Black Vinegar

Pork trotters stuffed with Sweetbreads with a side of mash

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Stuffed Pigs Trotter

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Stuffed Pigs Trotter: Sweetbreads inside

Jeremy’s Signature:  Lamb’s ‘Hearts and Minds’

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Lamb’s ‘Hearts and Minds’: Crisp crumbed brains, grilled slices of heart with bitter leaves and almodns.

Bone marrows are cleverly matched with a meaty slab of steak or a fish with a side of greens

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Chestnut Fed Rump Steak (250g), Bone Marrow & English Condiments
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Blue eye and bone marrow

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Bone marrow

Grills

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Grass-fed Steak

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Grass-fed Steak

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Pink Snapper Fillet, Clams & Samphire

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Kubuta Pork Chop

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Thirlmere Duck Leg Confit, Bacon, Gizzards, Smoked Breast & Beetroot Salad

STARTERS

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Beetroot, Blood Orange, Hazelnut & Witloaf Salad

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Ham Hock & Lentil Soup Cup

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Blue-Eye Brandade, Boiled Egg & Asparagus

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Rock Oysters

SIDES

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Chips

Last but not least, DESSERTS created by Jane

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Ricotta Cheesecake, Crumble Crumb & Glazed Quince

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Warm Chocolate & Coconut Pudding

At the time of posting, Bistrode CBD received 81% out of 75 votes
Bistrode CBD on Urbanspoon

Que Volveré @ La Boca Latino Bar, Pavilion Kuala Lumpur

Date of Visit: July 2 2013

With the bright colours and funky murals evoking Bohemian vibes, one would expect La Boca Latino Bar to be easy to find. In my case, it was not. I had walked past it countless times without knowing the existence of a bar tucked away near the thoroughfare, hidden under the escalator on Level 3 of The Connection at Pavilion. It was a mere coincidence that I was in the vicinity one day and was led by the loud music to a crowd gathering in front of the bar. Apparently this is a popular bar for live singing and dancing, in particular tango and samba nights. I made a mental note to visit the bar when it is quieter, which happened to be on this particular Tuesday night.

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The essence of the rough-and-tumble shanty barrio of Carminito’, in the La Boca dockside district of Buenos Aires are recaptured by the brightly coloured hand-painted murals on the wall.   Together with colourful flags,  balloons and chairs, they added an eclectic ambience together with  little touches of novelties such as window-shutters to frame the portraitures, wrought-iron balconies and spiral stairs to further enliven the space with loud music.   My only hang-up was that it was not air-conditioned and a smoking restaurant.

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Welcome! Giant mural depicting Tango dancers

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Bar featuring flags from latino countries

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Stage for Live Music and Performances

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2-D Murals

With a mixologist hailing all the way from Brazil, an extensive drinks menu showcasing his skill is a must and only proper.  Alas, me being me, I still ordered our usual tipple – a Caipirinha – nothing more perfect to end a hectic day than a zesty alcoholic kick with mouth-puckering fresh limes.

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The menu is another extensive list of Latino cuisine detailing foods from Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Mexico and Peru (a reference to the colourful flags at the bar).   It was hard to pick, but we settled for the ‘Argentinian theme’.  We were looking forward to sample Argentinian rotisserie steak (which comes in skewer) but advised by the server that it will be a slab of steak instead.

Striploin (RM68) was cooked medium-rare as requested.  Charred on the outside, still juicy with a bit of red on the inside.  Served ‘gaucho-style’ with chimichurri sauce, and a side of   mixed green salad and chips.  It would be wonderful if the cut originates from Argentina, but then again happy with the Aussie alternative.

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Pizza Rellena (RM30) is Argentinian folded pizza, similar to the Italian calzone.  I had a mild shock when it arrived, for it was a huge thing!   Relief came after cutting it open to find  that it was puffed up by  hot steam.  I  was delighted  with the generous stuffing of ham, salami, mozzarella, basil and olives.  A tomato sauce came with it, but did nothing to enhance the already delish pie/pizza.

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Overly-stuffed, we did not opt for dessert although we were looking forward for the Churros when we first sat down.  This and also the very rowdy group of red-neck expats just seated at our next table made for quick exit.

All-in, service was affable and smooth (quick) and I believe we met the proprietor as well.  Judging from his friendliness and his overly familiar use of the word ‘tapow, tapow‘ (take away), I am sure he uses it often on his customers for the huge serves he serves in his bar.

Que volveré !  I will be back for Peruvian next, for Creviche and Pisco Sour.

Thirty8 @Grand Hyatt Hotel, Kuala Lumpur

Date of Visit: February 4, 2013

Grand Hyatt Hotel Kuala Lumpur only opened late last year. The original site was supposed to be in another part of the city, but the developer went out of money during the construction phase, so Grand Hyatt has to relocate to a new site, atop a new office building. Thus the Lobby on Level 39! Hear, hear…

To get to the hotel cafe, you can either walk down the perspex glass stairs or catch another special purpose lift from the Lobby.

We were seated in front of the open kitchen. Ventilation was good, no food smell – but perhaps because we were seated in the pastry section of the kitchen and the kitchen is not running at full-capacity?

Views of Kuala Lumpur with the KLCC park

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The menu was a mish-mash of Western and Japanese food, none appealing. I was thinking of ordering a light dinner, perhaps a salad but remembering how disappointing salads can be in Asia, it took me quite a while to settle on my dinner choice. I noted that there was only 1 pasta dish (linguine with chicken); lots of steak choices with different assortment of dressings; choices of fish (snapper, salmon or trout) cooked either steamed, grilled or fried, but no fish and chips, however, I am sure I can always request if I really wanted to. Chicken kiev and steamed scallops with black beans seemed to be popular among the other diners.

First to arrive, pita bread fresh from the oven and chicken liver pâté.

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The liver was really fresh but a bit too salty. Still… Yums!

In the end I opted for Assorted Sashimi with Shellfish (RM$180). It came in the huge ceramic bowl – almost like a flower pot. Some weight lifting for the waitress!

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Fresh sashimi. Freshly grated wasabi horseradish scored top marks from me!

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Sirloin Steak from Oz (RM$100)

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Ordered a side of chips too. Did not take a picture, but it was good (ie double-fried)

The open-kitchen concept does not go well with everybody especially for a fine-dining establishment that has a dress-code. The high expectation turned to shock with the casual cafe style layout (comment from an acquaintance)!

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Dessert was a HIT.

Banana, pineapple, coconut crumble (RM$18)

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It came with a soft-serve ice-cream and midget bananas. This dessert went down well.

Mille feille (RM$25)

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This is a new dessert specially recommended by the very chirpy personable waitress. No disappointment here!

Grand Hyatt’s Signature Dessert – Thirty8 Signature Cake
The cake arrived on a covered glass cake stand with much pomp. Inside was fumed with smoke (from dry ice) and I only got to see the cake when the glass cover was removed. The waiter then proceeded to pour hot caramel onto the cake.

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The cake seemingly melted leaving a ‘hole’ (hang on, I’ve seen this theatrics with the 8 layer chocolate cake at the Quay in Sydney recently!)

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How was it? Excellent! A rich chocolate dessert verging on the lighter style. Chocolate mousse, cake and praline with banana ice-cream and nuts crumbles works well.

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On my way out, on the other side, I saw amazing night time views of the Petronas Twin Towers. There was also a band playing, possibly because it was a Monday night, there wasn’t much patrons around. I am sure the Lounge Bar will be fantastic spot for romantic rendezvous with candle lights and booth seatings (if privacy is required *wink*)