Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Fuhong Barbeque Restaurant - Burwood

In Burwood and sporting a chinese style bbq meat craving? Add to that equation pouring rain and a tight schedule? That was us one busy Sunday afternoon.

Due to the rain (and being slightly noob without umbrellas), my hubby and I dashed into the first Chinese BBQ restaurant we spotted - Fuhong BBQ. My hubby ordered the soya chicken, bbq pork noodle soup ($9.50) and I the soya chicken, roast duck stir noodles ($9.50) and we were flaberghasted by the size of the portion. Yes we were both famished but we still couldn't conquer the mountain of meat and noodles.

The chicken was super succulent and tasty - crazily awesome with the ginger and shallot mixture. The pork was nice and the duck was pretty good also. My stir noodles was amazingly YUM (but I love stir noodles so I could be biased).

BBQ meats with noodles

Undoubtedly, we left the place clutching our stomachs but with full smiles on our faces. Luckily for us, the rain stopped also :)

Food - 8.5/10
Service - 6.5/10
Ambiance - 6.5/10
Value for money - 8.5/10
Overall - 30/40

Fuhong Barbeque Restaurant
163 Burwood Road
NSW 2134
Tel: (02) 9715 2522

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Awafi - Granville

What do you do when your in Granville and in want of charcoal chicken and the El Jannah line is too long? You walk a little up the road until you hit another charcoal chicken shop. It always puzzled me how two shops, serving pretty much exactly the same thing, can have such differing numbers in clientele. Was one shop actually better than the other?


Because we were too lazy to wait for El Jannah, my hubby and I decided to eat charcoal chicken at Awafi instead. We ordered the same thing we normally do - chicken and chips. The prices here are pretty similar to El Jannah (maybe like 50c cheaper) and you get all your usual stuff - bread, pickles, garlic sauce and chicken.

The garlic sauce here tasted pretty much just as good as El Jannah and the pickles were longer but again, similar taste-wise. The chicken itself was also very very similar such that based on these three things alone - I would not be able to know the difference in a blind taste-test (or an opened-eye one for that matter). The only difference seems to lie in the bread. The bread here was relatively dry... a lot drier than the yummy moist bread from El Jannah. Is it the bread that makes all the difference between the two competing chicken shops? Maybe...

charcoal chicken, garlic sauce, pickles and bread

There's also an extra size of chips here at Awafi - small, medium and large. The small chips here are relatively smaller in portion compared to the small chips at El Jannah - but it's tasty all the same.


So if I were in Granville and wanting Charcoal chicken, which shop would I go to? We are creatures of habit so I think my first choice would still be El Jannah.

Food - 7/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 28/40

Awafi Charcoal Chicken
1/43 South Street
NSW 2142
Tel: (02) 9637 3111

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Altitude Restaurant - The Rocks

Having not fine-dined in a little while, I was super looking forward to our dinner reservation at Altitude in Shangri-la hotel. I booked last minute so was not surprised to be left with either a crazily early 6.30pm spot or a 9pm spot. For the views, I went for 6.30pm and was not disappointed - the view was an amazing spectacle~

Altitude Restaurant view

For the night, my partner and I opted for the $135 Epicurious menu with 7 courses. For starts, freshly baked bread - white ciabatta, wholemeal or sourdough. All three options were wonderfully warm and soft. I particularly adored the ciabatta which had a crunch top with fluffy insides which the butter just melded with.

freshly baked bread

Course one was cured hiramasa kingfish. The fish tasted awesome. Fresh with a vanilla-lime vinaigrette. On top of the rounded kingfish pile was creamy avocado mousse and baby celery leaves. Quite a delicious start.

Cured Hiramasa Kingfish

The next course was quite interesting. There were flathead fillets rolled in savoy cabbage. I think these were then steamed and accompanied with clams, sauteed chanterelles which appeared to soak in the buttery sauce, and spotted with tarragon and peas.

flathead rolled in savoy cabbage, sauteed chanterelles, clams and tarragon

There was also a roasted and braised chicken terrine. I think that there was foie gras in the terrine but it wasn't too overpowering. The chicken chunks were nice, but not spectacular. With the terrine was a curried cauliflower beignet which was interestingly deep-fried yet mushy and crunchy little bits of apple was... umm... OK?

Chicken terrine

The next course went back to the seafood arena. There was a decent chunk of suzuki mulloway with crispy skin (or mostly crispy skin). This came with a beetroot puree, beetroot noodles and kohirabi noodles. I didn't touch the beetroot (and amazingly, my hubby didn't touch it much either). But the fish was cooked relatively well :)

crispy skin suzuki mulloway

In terms of the main, there was a choice of either duck or lamb. I opted for duck, my hubby - the lamb. My confit duck leg was sauced with a fennel and pedro ximenez-sultana jus and sat on a black pepper spatzle. The duck was tasty and the meat was tender. Unfortunately, the skin wasn't crispy... which is something I would have rathered. But notwithstanding, it was still quite yummy.

confit duck leg, black pepper spatzle

My hubby requested his lamb to be cooked medium. Unfortunately, it came out pretty much well down. I was disappointed at how un-pink the whole thing was. My partner didn't seem to care too much...either the lamb was seasoned well anyway, or he was just too busy messaging his friends to care. The lamb was accompanied with savoy cabbage, braised chestnuts and potato fondant.

roasted murraylands lamb loin

Next was the pre-dessert of bethonga pineapple jelly with a malibu sabayon sorbet. The pineapple jelly was really flavoursome and to my liking. The slimy cold jelly-like texture was nicely complimentary to the sorbet and the white fluffy egg-whitey substance. YUM.

Pineapple jelly with malibu sabayon sorbet

Last but not least, there was a dessert of warm dark chocolate fondant. My fondant, unfortunately was not gooey enough to leak out. However, it did meet my chocolate cravings :) There was also a chocolate mousse which was yummy, rich and smooth and a prune and armagnac ice-cream (which was not to my liking).

warm dark chocolate fondant, milk chocolate mousse, prune and armagnac ice cream

We ordered coffee to finish. The coffee was good - both my cappuccino and my hubby's long black. Disappointingly, no petit-fours came to bid us goodbye.


All up, views and ambiance was magnificent. Food was good. Service was average but not lacking.

Food - 8/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 9/10
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 31/40

Altitude Restaurant
176 Cumberland Street
The Rocks
NSW 2000
Tel: (02) 9250 6123

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Coffee Warehouse Cafe & Deli - Homebush

There's this cafe/deli on Parra Rd that I drive past quite often and every time, I drive past amazed. It could be a weeknight or a weekend... no matter what it is, and up to relatively late, there's always quite a crowd. So one night, I just had to drag my hubby to check it out.

This Cafe/Deli not only serves Di Stefano coffee, it also offers barista classes. There's screens on top of all the coffee machines that lets you eye how your coffee is made (usually to perfection). And though their coffee seems popular here, their pizza seems even more so.

Hence, for this night, we ordered a Chargrilled Baby Octopus ($12.50) and a Gamberi pizza ($25) to share. The chargrilled baby octopus was marinated with lemon & lime, parsley and a bit of chilli. Tossed well and chargrilled to be super tasty and tender. The octopus sat on top of fresh rocket and the whole this was doused with extra virgin olive oil. Was quite delicious.

Chargrilled Baby Octopus - $12.90

But the highlight was definitely the pizza. It smelled AMAZING! The pizza base was the perfect thickness. Crispy yet chewy at the same time. Smothered with rich tomato sauce, the perfect pizza base was topped with king prawns, bits of anchovy, fresh parsley and cheese. It was ZOMG deliciousness!!! One of the best pizza's I've had so far. The puzzle of why so many people ordered pizza here (even though it was all-you-can-eat ribs night) was finally solved :)

Gamberi pizza - $25

Looking around at the customers eating amazing looking desserts, my hubby and I just couldn't pass. I tested their gelato and chose pistachio and chocolate. The chocolate flavour was super super dark and rich. It wasn't too sweet and the cocoa flavours lingered in your mouth. It was yum. The pistachio, however, was a little bit of a let down. Maybe it was simply outshone by the chocolate.

Gelato (2 scoops) - $5

My partner's creme brulee ($8) sat temptingly on our table. Super thick caramelised sugar top was smooth rich coffee vanilla bean brulee. I'm not a creme brulee person and yet, I had the urge to gobble his dessert all up. I didn't need the biscotti which came with it though... the brulee was awesome enough :)

Creme Brulee - $8

All up, this was quite an outstanding dining experience. Sure, the service is slightly lacking in that they seemed short-staffed for the amount of customers but the food, the buzz, the atmosphere was all excellent. Definitely a place to return to for dinner again and again.

Food - 9/10
Service - 6/10
Ambiance - 7.5/10
Value for money - 7.5/10
Overall- 30/40

Coffee Warehouse Cafe & Deli
17-35 Parramatta Road
NSW 2140
Tel: (02) 9764 8822

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Zilver - Haymarket

Our friend's wedding banquet was at Zilver, a lovely Chinese restaurant situated opposite Capitol Theater and Market City. The bride and groom were awesomely beautiful and handsome like they usually are and the food at this Chinese banquet did not deviate much from the norm.

First off was the crispy suckling pig with jellyfish. This was alright. The skin was crispy and the meat was tasty and salty. It's not the best suckling pig we've had and the looks of the pieces could have been improved. The jellyfish portion would have also been much better if it were bigger... but these seem like just my personal choices as everyone else seemed to enjoy this course.

suckling pig with jellyfish

The next course was prawns sauteed with beans and macadamia nuts. I liked the prawns - they were yum. I like macadamia nuts too. However, in my mind, prawns and macadamia nuts don't really go together. It's more an 'asian' thing - chuck the prawns in with prestigious nuts so it makes the whole dish more grand :)

prawns with macadamia nuts

The next dish was interesting. Scallops were enveloped with taro paste and deep-fried. This resulted in perfectly cooked scallops with mushy and crunchy bits. Not sure if taro and scallop go together... but on their own, both are delicious!

Deep fried taro scallop

My favourite course was next - the sharks fin. There was a good amount of sharks fin in the broth (not too much, and not non-existent). There was a bit too much chicken bits in it but - and they got a bit annoying after a while. But in general, the consistency and the taste of the sharks fin was really yummy.

Sharks fin soup

Lobster cooked in supreme soup was the course my hubby and various others on the table were long-awaiting for since the start of the day. I was disappointed by this dish... The lobster pieces were TINY! The all-meat pieces were about the size of a 20cent coin and the leg pieces were so small that there simply was no meat in them. My hubby still liked it though and argued that at least the taste of it was good.

Lobster cooked in supreme soup

The next course was the abalone with chinese mushroom. The abalone piece was tender and infused with sauce. The mushy was super huge and again, cooked reasonably well. If I were one to like abalone and chinese mushroom, I think I would have enjoyed this dish muchly.

Abalone with Chinese mushroom

Instead of the usual crispy skinned chicken, we were served with roasted pigeon. Again, the portions were rather small so everyone's pigeon piece sat rather conspicuously on everyone's plate. How could we eat something so tiny and fragile? We just did.

roasted pigeon

Steamed fish was next. It was steamed well. The fish meat was soft and tasted quite fresh. If only they could dish it out in a way which made it look more impressive...

steamed fish

Noodles and fried glutinous rice came next. I opted for noodles. This was not yummy. It was tasteless and soggy and plain...


Dessert-wise, we had fruit, little chinese cakes and biscuits, wedding cake slices and red bean soup. Nothing surprising. Not spectacular but by this stage, we didn't really care - we were full and ready to go home.

Red Bean Soup

It was a wonderful and awesome wedding. Banquet food - wise, it was average. You got your normal 10 course meal... some were good and yum, some were slightly disappointing. But I guess when you go to a wedding, it's not really the food that your meant to pay attention to :)

Food - 7/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 6.5/10
Value for money - ?
Overall - 20.5 + ?/40

477 Pitt Street
NSW 2000
Tel: (02) 9211 2232

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Ton Ton - Sydney

Ton Ton

My hubby felt like eating something soupy as it was raining and miserable outside. Several suggestions were made. It none better than the prospect of a yummy hot bowl of ramen. Mind you, we had a friend's wedding to attend and saturday traffic is usually super horrible so I was aware that there's a possibility that we wound have to miss out... Nonetheless, we heading to TonTon at Regent with a positive outlook anyway.

Lucky for us, it seemed like we could spare 10 minutes to down a ramen into our super hungry stomachs. My partner - distracted by the possibility of deep fried chicken - opted for a karaage ramen, in a set with added small curry ($12.80). The curry was really quite yummy. Thick and seemingly with potato bits melted in, it was flavoursome but does not overwhelm with the spices and it wasn't too spicy or anything like that either. My partner had hoped for some kind of visible meat of vege in it though (e.g. chicken, carrots, potato, etc). His ramen was soy-based with the crunchy goodness of deep-fried chicken pieces on top. Loads of shallots and seaweed floating and a good amount of bean sprouts too. I think he was somewhat disappointed with his ramen - he never really liked soy-based soups... but as I said, he was blinded by his love of karaage.

Small Curry
karaage ramen

I ordered the Ton Ton Ramen ($9.80). This had their special tonkatsu soup base (ie. thick pork broth) which was mildly spicy. It smelt delicious and definately tasted deliciou. Again, topped with heaps of shallots and seaweed - it was like a dream come true! (I love seaweed and shallots in my noodle soups). There were also a couple of bbq pork pieces on top. The noodles were deliciousness! It soaked in the soupy concoction but was not too soggy either. YUM!

Ton Ton Ramen

Ramen is definitely one good option for a rainy drizzly day. Good ramen is a bonus :)

Food - 8.5/10
Service - 7/10

Ambiance - 6.5/10

Value for money - 8/10

Overall - 30/40

Ton Ton Ramen
501 George Street

NSW 2000

(02) 9267 1313

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Millenium Bar and Restaurant - Darlington

As a gift from friends, we had a voucher to engage in a seafood platter feast at the Millenium Bar and Restaurant at Darlington. Stepping into the place, it was dimly lit and co-shared with a pizzeria. Not the most welcoming room and yet, there is a smell of good food wafting through the kitchen doors.

Drinks first - my hubby ordered a coke. It came in a relatively small glass with a slice of lemon in it. After a while (a slightly long while), our seafood main came out. Whilst the voucher promised pineapple cut squid, it was no where to be found on the plate. Nonetheless, the plate was filled with a generous portion of garlic prawns, mussels, john dory fillet, grilled octopus, soft shell crab and chips. It was a feast for the eyes and the stomach.

The soft shell crab was crunchy and tasty though not as battered as the normal jap-style ones. The garlic prawns were probably my favourite for the night - it was seasoned well and not overcooked or rubbery. Fish was meh - average, as were the mussels. The octopus was grilled a bit too much for my liking, but was seeminly perfect for my hubby. And chips were good - they almost always are.

seafood platter

Not a bad free meal. Service is slightly lacking here. We went up to the bar to pay the bill and ended up with $6.50 coke. $6.50 for a coke!?!?!?!?! Serious? And it didn't even come from a glass bottle ...


Food - 7/10

Service - 6/10

Ambiance - 6.5/10

Value for money - ?

Overall - 19.5 + ? / 40

Millenium Bar & Restaurant
103 Cleveland Street


NSW 2008

(02) 9699 3999

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Expresso Organica - Concord

We were wondering what to have for lunch on Sat and the first thing that came into our minds was - Charcoal Chicken. However, having driven along the M4 already in the morning and was stupidly stuck in Saturday traffic, driving to Granville seemed slightly out of the question. Instead, we opted to check out a local eating hangout that is oh so close to us - and yet, in our half a year of residence, had not been to - Majors Bay Road in Concord.

Walking along the road, I was impressed by the amount of eateries on the road. It made for a hard decision but in the end, we opted for a reasonably packed cafe - Expresso Organica.

It was a hot and humid day and hence, ice cold drinks were ordered immediately. My hubby went for the Mango Blast ($6.50) which was a blend of mango, "freshly squeezed" orange juice (which came straight from your normal OJ bottles), and mango sorbet. The drink normally came with banana, but my hubby left it out for my sake :) The drink was thick and rich and juicy and sweet and refreshing. YUM. My Pineapple Crush ($6.50) was also thirst-quenching. Icey concoction of pineapple, "freshly squeezed" orange juice and pineapple sorbet gave that sense of healthiness and freshness (even thought the sugar levels are off the radar). Not a bad drink to down when it's hot.

Mango blast - 6.5

Pineapple crush - $6.50
Food-wise, my hubby opted for the Greek Style Calamari ($19). This was pineapple cut squid tossed in garlic, parsley, sea salt and cracked pepper then deep-fried to perfection. It was soft and tender and super tasty. The lemon zest aioli was also simply superb (I just wish there was more of it). The calamari came with a nicely tossed roquette salad and yummy herbed chips.

Greek Style Calamari - $19

My Chicken Fillet Burger ($14) also came with the super yummy herbed chips. In the open burger were generous fillets of chargrilled chicken with mixed leaves, tomato, avocado and cheese. The real winner was the mustard aioli. It was sooooo yummy! I think that I have to somehow learn to make my own aioli :)

Chicken Fillet Burger - $14

This cafe isn't big, the food didn't come super quick, but everything was friendly and cozy enough. The food was decent in proportion and taste. Not a bad local hangout.

Food - 8/10

Service - 7/10

Ambiance - 6.5/10

Value for money - 7/10

Overall - 28.5/40

Expresso Organica
49A Majors Bay Road

NSW 2137

(02) 9736 3222

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Eastwood BBQ Kitchen (2)- Eastwood

Since it's opening, my hubby and I have revisited Eastwood BBQ Kitchen quite a few times. Throughout our visits, there has been some good some bad, some improvements, some de-provements. But I guess in general, this honky style cafe is still a decent place to go for a bite :)

One of the improvements we've seen lies in the drinks. The standard of the drinks went from watered-down tastelessness, to much much more appetising. The ice cold horlick regained the wheaty flavour it was meant to have and the lemon tea was tasty and lemony and actually less sweet (at times anyway).

cold horlick and lemon iced tea

My hubby's favourite meal here remains the set lunch where he gets a soup, a drink and baked pork chop rice. I believe that the pork chop rice has decreased in quality somewhat - with the fried rice base being less tasty. But nonetheless, I'm glad there's still a fried egg on top. Russian Borsch as the soup tastes much better than the creamy seafoody fishy soup - but that's a 50/50 in terms of what you get :P

baked pork chop rice and creamy seafood soup

The creamy cheesy baked spaghetti's here are really quite good (and very cheesy) - particularly the chicken and ham one. Another thing I have tried is their set lunch deal with satay beef and chinese broccoli with flat rice noodles. This was average ish. The beef was good, but it was not mixed very well with the noodles.

satay beef noodles

Food - 7.5/10
Service - 6.5/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 28/40

Eastwood BBQ Kitchen
1 Trelawney Street
NSW 2122
Tel: (02) 9858 1366

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Toraya - Chatswood


We were at Chatswood checking out the latest awesome foreign company to infiltrate our shores - namely Daiso (where everything is $2.80). Having walked about the shop and bought every necessary and unecessary item under the sun, I was really hungry and craving Jap food. Hence, we headed for Toraya, which is a Jap restaurant located close to the food court of the Mandarin Centre.

I have to say, walking in left me doubtful of my choice - the tables were bare and reminiscent of food-court styles. However, there was a good portion of Japanese-speaking patrons. We were also greeted with my favourite appetiser - seaweed salad - which was super tasty as always :)
seaweed salad
I decided to try something different and went for their Eringe and Hotate Batter ($9.80) which from the description sounded amazing. Supposedly big oyster mushrooms and scallops were to be cooked in a soy based batter. What I didn't expect were tiny over-cooked scallops and countable thinly sliced oyster mushrooms on a sizzling hot plate. Tiny scallops and sizzling hot plates are never a good combination - leaving us with slightly rubbery slightly non-existant scallops to chew on.

Eringe and Hotate Batter - $9.80

My partner opteded for a main of Tonkatsu ($15.80) which was crumbed and deep fried golden brown. It was tender and tasty enough and came served with seaweed soup, rice and salad.

Tonkatsu - $15.80

My partner also craved oysters ($15/ half dozen) and opted to have them grilled with cheese. This was not a bad dish although in your normal cheesy oysters, you tend to get that delicious mornal or atleast a splatter of mash which added texture and taste - which with these, were absent.

Oysters with grilled cheese - $15/half dozen

Funnily enough, the dish we thought should and really ought to come first, came last - the Salmon Platter ($25). The Japanese always harp on about how sashimi and sushi should be eaten first as the tastes are fresh and subtle - and are relatively spoilt when you eat the "heavier" tastes firsts. Nonetheless, I was grateful when a pile of salmon sashimi and sushi landed on my table. The sashimi was fresh, the salmon suchi and thin rolls weren't bad and the salmon and avocado inside out roll was yummy :) Oddly enough, it came with only one salmon roe ship - which looked slightly out of balance as everything else seemed evenly split.

Salmon Platter - $25

All up, the food here is pretty average. Dishes were relatively well priced and the staff friendly enough. If you can get over the wierd food-court style attire of the place, you could possibly settle into a good meal.

Food - 7/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 3/10
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 24/40

Toraya Japanese Restaurant
Mandarin Centre
Level 2, shop 212
61 Albert Ave
NSW 2067
Tel: (02) 9884 9620