Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ice + Slice - Newtown

After dinnering at Selah and finding it difficult to decide on an appetising dessert, our crew of four took ourselves to Ice + Slice in Newtown.

I had originally wanted to eat a Nutella Pizza ($9.80) but unfortunately, the oven was broken for the night. Hence, the dude was able to substitue a belgian waffle for my pizza. As they were the first to change thing, I felt as though I could change something too. Instead of bananas, I requested strawberries. As a result, this is what I ended up with - warm belgian waffle topped with nutella, covered with strawberries and finished with a vanilla bean gelato. The waffle wasn't quite warm or crunchy enough - but it did quench those dessert cravings.

Nutella Waffle

My friend ordered the Cinnamon Belgian Waffle ($9.80) with an added scoop of gelato ($2). It turned out to be a waffle swimming in maple syrup. A scoop of white chocolate and a scoop of strawberry and balsamic gelato was sitting ontop of the waffle and the whole thing was finished with whipped cream. My friends said that the gelato was pretty good. However, the maple syrup was all too much for them - way way way too sweet.

Cinnamon Belgian Waffle

Food - 6.5/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 6.5/10
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 27/40

Ice + Slice
135 King Street
NSW 2042
Tel: (02) 9516 4595

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Selah - Circular Quay

Selah - a relaxed modern Australian restaurant situated in Circular Quay area was where our crew of four decided to dine.

Dim-litted, warm and cozy, we quickly settled quickly into slightly hard wooden chairs and ordered our share of entrees and mains.

My two friends decided to share a pear and goats curd salad ($18). This was plated as layered filo wafers, sliced pears, dalops of goats curd, candied walnut and cress with lemon thyme and and aged balsamic dressing. My friends thoroughly enjoyed this dish. It was fresh and had an interesting varietied texture. Apparently the candied walnuts were slightly too much on the sweet side. However, it seemed to balance out the possible bitterness of some other ingredients in the pile. Nonetheless, my partner seemed to think pinenuts would be a better option here (but less novel I guess).

pear & goats curd salad - $18

My partner decided to share an entree of cured atlantic salmon ($19). This came topped with a heap of avocado, drops of yellow miso and wasabi dressing on the side, and topped with baby herbs and roasted nori. The cured atlantic salmon was refreshing and subtly salted and olive oily and the miso wasabi bought about a nice hit of flavour reminiscent of a mild mustard. The avocado, a natural companion to this fish, was nothing less of being awesomely complementary.

cured atlantic salmon - $19

Now onto the mains. My friend's rolled pork loin with prosciutto ($32) was labels as good but slightly bland and uninteresting. Topped with a super crunchy slab of crackling and lying atop a bed of caramelised apples, and a celery and fennel salad, caramelised apple, celery and fennel, my friend said that the pork was not untender but it was nothing more than just a slab of pork.

pork loin - $32

Two lots of marinated lamb back strap ($33) was ordered. Asthetically arranged with sliced fillets of lamb cooked medium rare and topped with a goats cheese stuffed pepper and drizzled with harissa mayo, my partner and friend seems to enjoy this dish much. Apparantely much more 'exciting' than the pork. Much more texture and more flavoursome. The quinoa was mildly curry/spicy-ish with the texture of couscous. Mmm... interesting.

lamb back strap - $33

Last but not least was my seared atlantic salmon ($32). The salmon was cooked okay-ish well. Not overcooked and not undercooked. However, the salmon skin was not crispy (which is a bit of a shame). A variety of asian mushrooms (including oyster and enoki mushrooms) were mixed with crab meat and shallots, and rolled inside a thin omelette. The salmon was sitting on top of a bed of chinese veges which were soaking in a soy and ginger dressing. Overall, this dish was appetising but not too wow~ The asian mushroom omelette got a little boring at the end, but I as I liked mushrooms, I persevered until it was all devoured.

seared atlantic salmon - $32

To round off all our mains, we got a bowl of hand cut chips with aioli ($8). Thick cut and soft and lightly dusted with salt, the only downfall was the crunchlessness (which personally, I didn't mind). The aioli was nice too - but not as awesome herbed mayo from Grill'd burgers LOL.

hand cut chips with aioli - $8

All up, Selah provided a chillaxy dining environment with good food and decent service. Their portions weren't huge and their dessert menu was not enticing enough for us to stay - but the mains and entrees were fitting to our appetites.

Food - 8/10
Service - 8/10
Ambiance - 8/10
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 31/40

12 Loftus Street
Circular Quay
Sydney 2000
tel: (02) 9247 0097

Monday, March 29, 2010

Sushi-ya (2) - Artarmon

In celebration of Earth Hour, Sushi-Ya plays it part by offering dinner by candle-light. What this meant was a homey casual Japanese dinner with an air of romance (and also slightly bad photos).

the atmosphere

As usual, we are greeted by an awesome little appetiser as we are seated. Tonight, it was a cold mix of vermicelli, jellyfish, chicken and edamame beans in a light soy ish vinegarish dressing. This was tasty, with slightly more chicken flavour than I would have liked, but my partner relished every moment of it.


We wanted to order lots and lots of food. However, we were stopped by a smart cluey waiter who told us - "no... too much". Hence, this is what we ended up with on the night.

The Special Sashimi ($30.50) comprised of a fresh plateful of approximately 22pcs of selected sashimi. There was salmon, tuna, kingfish, octopus, clams, squid, scampi, prawns, scallop, and jellyfish. All sashimi variety was very tasty and fresh. My favourite was the scallops - soooo cool and sweet and accompanied with the salty 'pop' of the salmon roe. What I also enjoyed very much was the scampi. This was refreshingly subtly sweet - much like my scallop - but a little mushier than my scallop. The salmon was also much freshness.

Special Sashimi - $30.50

The Sushiya Salad ($14.90) is a mix of sashimi and veges with a sesame mayo dressing. Again, this sashimi was refreshing. The serving was generous but no where near as huge as the one at Sushi Suma. However, my partner commented that it was much tastier and the veges were of much higher quality compared to the larger portion counterpart.

Sushiya Salad - $14.90

We also ordered the soft shell crab ($16.90). This comprised of 4 halfs of a crab, deep fried and served with a huge pool of special, very potent, brown sauce. The soft shell crab was hidden underneath a huge pile of greens - possibly to soak up the oil. The crab itself was tempura crunchy on the outside and had extremely soft and juicy and sweet meat on the inside. It was quite delicious and quenched my cravings for soft-shell crab.

Soft Shell Crab - $16.90

Last but not least, we ordered a spicy ginger pork set ($17.50). The thinly sliced pork belly which was slightly very fatty, stir fried with onions in a spicy ginger sauce and accompanied with a side cabbage salad and a egg-potato salad. The set also came with rice and miso soup. I don't know why, but I think the first time we ate this (possibly around 5-6 years ago), this dish tasted better than it did now. This time, the pork bought with it an extremely subtle (almost missable) ginger and chilli taste and the pork was less tender than it used to be.

Spicy Ginger Pork - $17.50

Overall, Sushi-Ya never disappoints. It's nice and cozy. The food is tasty and fresh. The prices are reasonable and it's casual. It's a good little place to keep around for those nights when were really can't think of where to eat.

Food - 8/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 8/10
Value for money - 7.5/10
Overall - 30.5/40

10 Wilke Ave
NSW 2064
tel: (02) 9411 1377

Friday, March 26, 2010

Emon - Surry Hills

After a busy day at work, I sped down to Surry Hills to have dinner with a few friends at Sushi Suma. Unfortunately, Sushi Suma was packed out with no tables for another half hour. Feeling extremely hungry, we decided to go to Emon, a nearby Japanese restaurant.

Emon is a very small cozy authentic Japanese restaurant. The waitresses and cook all spoke fluent Japanese and several customers conversed Japanese too. Hence, we knew that the quality of the food had to be pretty good.
We ordered green tea and this came out in an awesome glass tea pot. This tea was extremely strong. Bitter yet not overly so, it smelt like really good tea.

Green Tea

We also ordered an appetiser of renkon chips ($4.40). This came out as super thinly cut slices of lotus roots, deep-fried and slightly salted. Very so slightly on the oily side, it was subtly tasty and oh so confusingly addictive.

renkon chips - $4.40

The spider roll ($11.50) came out as 8 sushi pieces with soft-shell crab, cucumber, lettuce, fish roe and wasabi mayo. It was tasty and the soft-shell crab was yummy but the rice was slighty on the soft, soggy and mushy side. Wasn't bad though.

Spider Roll - $11.50

We also ordered the Salmon Sashimi Salad ($18.50). This was a bed of green salad topped with several big thick slices of salmon sashi. In the mix was some avocado pieces, cherry tomato and a half-cooked onsen tamago ("hot spring egg"). There's also a vinegary dressing with wasabi mayo, and bits of crunchy gyoza paper strips sprinkled on top. It was a very nice, tasty and fresh salad - but I do miss the awesome sashimi salad at Sushi Suma.

Salmon Salad - $18.50

Last but not least, we ordered the Okonomiyaki Seafood ($16.50). This japanese pancake was filled with prawn, squid, and cabbage and topped with tasty bonito flakes, nori, mayo and okonomiyaki brown sauce. This egg/flour mixture was filling and tastes quite traditional.

Seafood Okonomiyaki - $16.50

Overall, the food here was not bad and came out nice and hot and fresh. The downfall is this - the food came out extremely extremely slow. The whole restaurant gave off a zen vibe - dimly lit, quiet and very relaxing. So if you're here looking for a fast feed - you'll be disappointed. But if you're here to enjoy authentic Japanese food at an authentic Japanese pace... well... this is your nice and cozy little restaurant.

Food - 8/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 8/10
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 30/40

432 Cleveland Street
Surry Hills
NSW 2010
tel: (02) 9698 0778

Monday, March 22, 2010

Palm Breeze Cafe (2) - Burwood

Don't come here if you want to be noticed and treated like a human!

This was my second time at Palm Breeze. As my first experience had been rather good, my partner and I rocked in huge ribs for a late dinner. We ended up getting a huge rack of ribs and a mediterranean grilled platter.... and the food was great! The downfall came in the drink - the chocolate thickshake - that my partner ordered.

Not coming as thick as it ought to be, we were ready to be quite forgiving. However, on sipping the thickshake, my partner found black thick hard plastic bits in his drink. What is that??? What was even more astounding is the waitress' reactions. We told the first one - she was like... "err... what?" she then walked away, chatted up the asian dude making the drink... and never ever returned... Yes - she walked past our table repeatedly and pretended to be busy each time... lingered more at the bar to chat up the dude making the drinks... but ignored us. We gave up waiting for the first waitress chick to come back and instead, told yet another waitress. She was like "are you sure it's not the straw?". Yes - we are damn sure it's not the straw. And even if it was the straw, why on earth is the straw falling apart??? She was about to just dismiss us and walk away until my partner suggested "maybe we could get a new one?". She walked away with the contaminated drink looking pissed off and returned a while later with a new one. No eye contact. No apology. No nothing. Ahh... Loving the attentive service~

chocolate thickshake
mystery black plastic bits in the shake
I think that if we weren't so hungry and if we weren't craving for ribs and if we weren't as cbb as we were, we would have done something - stood up and left for one. But we didn't. We stayed. And ate.

Our full rack of ribs ($32) came with salad and a choice of mash or chips. I chose mash in this case. The ribs were GIGANTIC. It was lathered in barbeque sauce, succulent, tender and juicy. Very deliciousness. The orangey sauce... liquidy tomatoey sauce was a bit strange though. However, the mash was very smooth and creamy and unhealthy tasting. To balance the meat and the carbs, the veges was a slightly healthy pile to make me feel good.

full rack of ribs - $32

The Mediterranean grilled platter ($26.50) comprised of a lamb fillet skewer, a chicken skewer and a beef kafta, served with chips, a mediterranean salad, lebanese bread and a variety of dipping sauces (hommus, tzatziki and garlic sauce). The chicken skewer was tender and tasty, and no complaints from my partner about the lamb. The beef was not very appetising (or so thought I) and hence, it was left virtually untouched. The salad was liberally doused with dressing which was vinegary and yum. The chips did manage to get cold very quickly... but were okay nonetheless. In terms of the sauces, our favourite was the garlic by far! The hommus and the tzatziki was just average. All up, this grilled platter combo was average - not spectacular, but not bad either.

Mediterranean mixed grill - $26.50

Overall, the food was pretty good and the portions were huge - filled us til we could eat no more. The service was pretty much non-existant and the fact that they just wanted to ignore our complaint really pissed me off. There was no apology for the drink, no acknowledgement that they were wrong, no discount on our bill... *sigh* So... I guess this cafe should be purely visited for food and nothing more.

Food - 8/10
Service - 1/10
Ambiance - 6.5/10
Value for money - 6.5/10
Overall - 22/40

Palm Breeze Cafe
128 Burwood Road
NSW 2134
Tel: (02) 9715 7222

Friday, March 19, 2010

San Churro - Glebe

After the Taste of Sydney Festival (Yes - I'm still waiting on my partner to post up the photos), we decided to grab a drink with a few friends at San Churro in Glebe.

For a quick chilled sugar hit, I decided to opt for the Ice Choc Frappe whilst my partner grabbed a Spanish Coffee.

My Ice Choc Frappe was quite yummy. Nice and cold and refreshing and not too sweet. Very icey and nice :)

iced choc frappe

My partner's Spanish Coffee was also quite nice. Interestingly, there was the thick (I think possibly condensed milk?) on the bottom and dark black coffee on top with a slighty layer of froth on top. My partner was a bit confused about this to begin with ... do you just drink it? or do you stir up the milk into the coffee? A bit wierd at first- I thought this coffee was very yummy. The coffee was strong, and yet, the milk made it oh so very sweet. Similar to the Viet coffees - super strong, super sweet.

Spanish Coffee

This was a good finish to a day of yummy fine food.

Drinks - 8/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 29/40

San Churro
47 Glebe Point Road,
NSW 2037

Tel: (02) 9692 0119

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Yummy Seafood Chinese Restaurant (2) - Beverly Hills

I graduated again recently! YAY!

What it meant, however, was another boring ceremony which ended roughly around 8pm. By the time we get out - say goodbye, do some other random stuff, make it to a place to eat... it's 9pm! So late dinner it was.

My parents, partner and I decided to dine in Beverly Hills at the Yummy Seafood Chinese Restaurant. Ridiculous name - but fantastic food. The "midnight snack" menu is meant to start at 10pm, but the waiter said that if we ordered a seafood item (which also slashes price after 9pm), he can give us the "midnight snack" deals.

This is what we ended up getting on the night...

First to come up is scallop congee. Seeing that my mum was feeling a bit sick and that I love congee and scallops - this dish was pretty perfect. The congee was extremely tasty and was infused with that seafoody sweetness. The scallops was the frozen variety so how they managed to make the congee so yummy tasty and sweet was a mystery. If I had to guess - it probably had to do with some additives of the chemical nature... Nonetheless, it was still delicious.

Align CenterScallop Congee

Salt and pepper deep fried white-bait fish was also part of the package. This was slightly less crunchy than I would have liked, and slightly more chilli than I had anticipated. I've always found this dish rather fascinating to eat cos you're like eating A WHOLE FISH! it's head, eyes, brain and all, its bone and spine, all the way to the tail! It's amazing! And half the time, it doesn't even register in my head that I'm chomping down a whole fish.

Deep fried white bait

The green veges came out - just in time to relieve my chilli-burning mouth. These were very ordinary and slightly over oily. So oily, in fact, that I'm not even convinced greens are good for you anymore.


Next came the one dish that wasn't part of the deal - the "four treasures of the sea". This comprised of a scallop, an oyster, an abalone, and a clam/shell-fish variety. We ordered two portions of these. Unfortunately, my partner gobbled up the clam/shell-fish thing before I could take a close up of it. In general, the seafood was fresh - tastily steamed in shallots, ginger and sweet soy sauce. The scallop had an extra dallop of crushed garlic on it to add more flavour and oyster, though not huge, was still plump and juicy.

Four treasures of the sea

The deep fried prawns and deep fried rice noodle base came out next. This dish was HUGE and soaked in a super rich, slightly overwhelmingly tasty tomatoey sweet-chilli ish sauce. Because of the sauce, the prawns lost a bit of it's crunch. As I was lazy, I was able to chomp down one prawn - shell and all, but for the next one, the shell was too soggy and normal-fied that I had to actually peel it off before ingesting the prawn meat. The rice noodle base had it's crunchy bits and also it's nice soft and soggy bits (which I love). However, as the whole sauce this was slightly overwhelming, it was a bit of a rude shock to have a bowl full of oily sauce and bits of rice noodles swimming in it. Ahhh... so unhealthy but extremely tasty.

deep fried prawns and rice noodles

Last came what probably ought to have been the cold-cut entree. Cold cuts of marinated beef, pork and jellyfish. This dish was probably one of the least oilified and hence, gave a good fresh finish to the evening.

cold-cut plate (beef, pork and jellyfish)

All up, the service here isn't the best (unless you are a regular ... and then the waiters get chummy with you). The food is tasty and yummy but slightly on the over-oily side. And price-wise, we got away with paying just slightly over $80 for this much food (and much food was taken away in take-away boxes).

Food - 8/10
Service - 6.5/10
Ambiance - 6.5/10
Value for money - 8/10
Overall - 29/40

Yummy Seafood Chinese Restaurant
503/505 King Georges Rd
Beverly Hills
NSW 2209
tel: (02) 9580 0788

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Max Brenner (2) - Sydney

Every visit to Max Brenner brings back memories. Memories of how my partner and I used to drive up and down the streets of Paddington and in and out of Chatswood looking for this weird amazing chocolate shop which offers a 'make-it-yourself' 'melt-chocolate-in-milk-over-candle' hot chocolate - ie. the Suckao. We use to drive so much in search of this - and the first time we found the (what used to be) little shop in Paddington, we were over the moon!

Over the years, more and more Max Brenners have popped up everywhere. It seems so common that the excitment and intrigue is almost lost. Nonetheless, I always enjoy a good chocolate hit every now and then :)

This particular night, we popped into Max Brenner and pretty much ordered our "usuals". Light snack before dinner consisting of my awesome dark chocolate lick ($2.50). I still remember the times when this was $2! Every time I order this, I think to myself, should I tell the dude to not put those white chocolate buttons in? Then I think - nah... he looks smart enough to not contaminate dark chocolate with white (coz that just makes it milk chocolate) and EVERYTIME I'm wrong. Next time I shall tell them to put dark choc drops into my dark choc lick. Still awesome though~ I think that the chocolate lick is the cheapest was to get an good portion of decent chocolate.

dark chocolate lick - $2.50

My partner ordered the dark chocolate Suckao ($6.50). I swear that these things have shrunk! The milk/candle portion used to be much bigger. But I could be wrong. I still really like the idea of heating up your own milk and melting real chocolate in it to make chocolate milk. The metal straw does make everything a bit hot and untouchable though. Most of the time, when my partner orders this, I tax quite a few of his chocolate bits :) Mmm... YUM.

dark chocolate suckao - $6.50

Food - 8.5/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 29.5/40

Max Brenner
Shop MG 24,
273 George Street
NSW 2000
Tel: (02) 9251 7788

Monday, March 15, 2010

Nirello's - Blacktown

After tennising at a free court in Blacktown, my friends and I decided to grab a bite to eat a Nirello's. Situated on the outskirts of Westpoint, this little Italian restaurant is situated in quite a quiet (and slightly dim-litted) environment. The first thing you can't miss is the menu - it's plastered all over the wall overlapping one another - a bit overwhelming and confusing so luckily, we each get a regular-sized menu to look at.

We decided to order a serving of garlic bread to share ($3.50). This smelt awesome when it came out and was also nice and cruchy and tasty. However, I don't know if it was styles or because they don't know how to cut bread in half, but the two slices were cut soooo unevenly. Luckily, there was four of us and all four of us didn't really care how big or small our garlic bread portions were.

Garlic bread - $3.50

One of my friends decided to order the Nirello Special pizza. She had wanted to small size. After consulting with a friendly looking waiter who said that the small pizza was tiny and she pretty much definately ought to get the large one (large $17.50), my friend decided to heed to the waiters advice and get the large one. I have to say, however, that my friend is actually quite small, very skinny and very very very skinny. To think that she could finish a large pizza on her own... what was the waiter thinking??? Lo and behold, the large pizza came out - very large and round and on slightly thick and hefty crust, topped with sliced italian sausage, mushrooms, capsicum, onion, garlic and mozarella cheese and lo and behold, she actually couldn't finish it! In fact, she ate 4 pieces (exactly the number of slices the small pizza would have been). When my friends bit into the pizza, she was saying that it was a bit spicy and wondered why. We hypothesised that it the was the sausage which was a bit spicy. In fact, there was actually a bit of chilli in the sauce. Mystery solved! :)

Nirello special - $17.50 (large)

My other friend decided to order the linguine pesto (entree size - $16.90). Interesting enough, when we asked the waiter if we ought to order the entree size or the main size for the pasta, he described the main size as really really really big and the entree size as really really big. Hence, he talked both my friend and I into ordering the entree size. It turned out that the pasta was big - the size of a main from most decent restaurants... but it wasn't as HUGE as he'd made it out to be. My friend's linguine pesto comprised of linguine, chicken, and lots of basil pesto. He thought it tasted alright - not bad. But halfway through the meal - the swamp occurred. Yes - a swamp of oil (hopefully olive oil) started to freak us out. He still perservered with finishing his pasta though :)

linguine pesto - $16.90 (entree size)

Unfortunately, my linguine al salmone (entree size - $17.90) suffered the same swamp fate. It was still tasty though. Nicely cooked linguine with smoked salmon and asparagus bits tossed in super creamy garlic sauce. Mmm... yummy... but the swamp made it feel super super super unhealthy.

linguine al salmone - $17.90 (entree size)

My partner ordered a non-pizza non-pasta item. He opted instead, for the chicken parmigiana ($22.90). This was two crumbed chicken breasts topped with eggplant and melted mozarella cheese and doused with napoli sauce with bits of overcooked broccoli on the side. The napoli sauce was rich and aromatic and very tomatoey. My partner rated this so-so.

chicken parmigiana - $22.90

Last but not least - onto dessert. We decided to order a nutella pizza to share (small - $10.90). As we were people who learnt very quickly from past mistakes, we told the waiter that we wanted a small one - yes - even after he gave us a "are you sure?" look, we stuck to our decision of a small nutella pizza. And rightfully so. We were so sure that the description of this said "...topped with strawberries..." so when we saw this, we all had a good laugh. We thought- really??? only 3 lone strawberries chopped in half? It was only after a more close inspection that we found out - it was TWO strawberries chopped in thirds! Surely it would have looked asthetically better to cross-sectionally cut the straweberry and spread it out. Anyway - strawberries aside, the pizza was pretty decent. Warm, thick but not too thick crust topped with nutella. I would have preferred a bit more nutella - but it was still okay.

Nutella Pizza - $10.90 (small)

In all, Nirello's was an OK Italian restaurant out west. Having an awesome 25% off voucher thanks to the E-book meant that we each paid no more than $18. Nice and cheap and tasty.

Food - 7.5/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Value for money - 7.5/10
Overall - 29/40

Westpoint Blacktown
Level 3, Flushcombe Rd
(Opp. Blacktown Council)
NSW 2148
Tel: (02) 9622 8050