Friday, December 21, 2012

3 Weeds Rozelle - Rozelle

It's been a while since I've been truely super happy with a meal so when I tasted the fabulous food at 3 Weeds in Rozelle (deemed the best restaurant in a pub by the Good Food Guide) I was over the moon! We were first served with bread and butter (all made in house). The bread was yummy and soft. The butter had smoked salt sprinkled on it - making it super super tasty.
housemade bread and butter
The Amuse Bouche was a King Fish ceviche. The fish was super fresh and tasty and was topped with horseradish ice cream, chilli and lime dressing. It was beautifully presented and tasted amazing. :)
amuse bouche - king fish ceviche
For starters, hubby and I shared the Coral Trout Gravlax ($23) and oysters ($3.50 each). The restaurant was kind enough to split our entree onto two plates - and placed both plates beautifully. The trout was served with a bit of caviar, kohlrabi, blood orange, broad beans, Viet mint and Malibu granita. Again, it tasted refreshing and subtly sweet and yum.
trout gravlax - $23
The small, plump and creamy oysters were lightly dressed with sake and lime vinaigrette. Simple yet elegant and hits the spot.
Oysters with sake and lime vinaigrette - $3.50 each
Our waiter, though super smiley and friendly, had a strong accent. He recommended a main which was the special for that night. The only words I could really get out was slow cooked 38hrs, wagyu beef and scampi. But it sounded enticing enough and he practically swore on his life that it was spectacular so I ordered it. And oh boy - it was so crazily delicious!!! The beef was 'melt in your mouth' and very beefy in taste. The texture was just sooooo awesomely soft and creamy and matched the scampi and the scampi sauce beautifully. There were some micro-herbs as garnish as with some random shallots. It was so rich and delectable - I could tell that hubby wanted to steal all of it ... but of course he wouldn't :P
slow cooked beef with scampi
Hubby enjoyed his meal almost just as much. He ordered the Riverina Milk Fed Lamb ($36). The roast rump of lamb was cooked with rosemary, caramelised white asparagus, pickled veges and buttermilk. He said that it was really yummy and tender. Cooked perfectly I think.
Riverina Milk Fed Lamb - $36
We also ordered two sides. One was the potato puree with truffle oil and the other was green beans with pine nuts. The potato puree was OmG~!!!! So smooth. So creamy. So rich. So truffly. So amazingness!!! The beans were good too - but had no match on the potato.
sides of potato puree and green beans
We also had coffees to finish the meal off but due to unfortunate circumstances, some photos were lost. It was a spectacular meal - I would most definitely come here again. We both left feeling fully satisfied :)

Food - 9/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 7.5/10
Value for money - 7.5/10
Overall = 31/40

3 Weeds Rozelle
193/197 Evans Street
Rozelle NSW 2039
Tel: (02) 9818 2788

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Gia Hoi - Eastwood

Hubby and I were looking for a place to eat around Eastwood and decided on a relatively new Viet joint - Gia Hoi. There were quite a lot of people in the place and they also have a few other franchises around so we thought it would be alright. Being seated, the first thing we noted was that everything was so orange. I don't know if it's just the lighting or what, but sitting in there gave everything an orange tinge.

Hubby ordered their three colour sweet ($4) aka three bean drink. He liked it just as much as any other three bean drink.
three colour sweet
In terms of food, hubby ordered a special beef rice noodle soup ($13). The bowl was massive, there were ample toppings - beef balls, beef tripe, raw noodles, beef tendon the whole lot. Unfortunately, this pho lacked taste. The soup was rather tasteless - no herbal flavour, no sweet flavour, no salt, no anything! Disappointed much...
special beef rice noodle soup
I went adventurous and didn't order my normal - beef ball beef tripe noodle soup. Instead, I ordered a combination egg noodle soup ($11). My soup (chicken based) was heaps heaps tastier than hubby's beef broth. In the combination the toppings were a bit meagre... one prawn, one slice of fish, some pork slices and then some random stuff like pork liver. The noodles were quite yum and the soup was good - not too bad :)
combination clear noodle soup
Compared to other (better) Viet restaurants, this place is a little pricier and the food a little less good. Probably better places to eat at in Eastwood than this...

Food - 6.5/10
Service - 6/10
Ambiance - 6/10
Value for money - 5/10
Overall - 23.5/40

Gia Hoi
219 Rowe Street
NSW 2122
Tel: (02) 8084 2588

Monday, December 10, 2012

Parramatta Phoenix - Parramatta

For my father-in-law's birthday, hubby and I took him out to Parramatta Phoenix - reason being that it's close and it's convenient. Though it's been open for around one year, I haven't really heard much about this restaurant in terms of quality of the food. In fact, though it's so close to home for many family and friends, I don't think this restaurant is frequented by anyone~

So I had no real expectations for this restaurant as we went (albiet late due to work). As my father-in-law enjoyed seafood (particularly fish), we ordered several types of seafood. We had 2 steamed oysters each. The oysters were reasonably sized and steamed with ginger and shallots and soy sauce. It was tasty and smooth. No grainy sands found. And very muchly appetising. Though, each swallow (which was very easy to do) was $5.50 a pop.
steamed oysters
We also had sugar snap peas with scallops. The scallops were really large and perfectly cooked. None of that tiny stringy stuff that you get at most other restaurants, this was really nice juicy sauteed scallops on very yummy and well cooked sugar snap peas. Quite enjoyed this.
sauteed scallops with sugar snap peas
Fish was a must. Steamed barramundi was ordered. It was decently sized and cooked well. The meat was tasty and fresh. The fish was devoured entirely by us seafood lovers.
steamed barramundi
Last but not least was my unhealthy pick - deep fried taro with duck. Yup - high oils, high fat, high cholesterol but oh so tasty and yummy. The taro was really smooth with just the right balance between sweet and savoury. The duck was soft and tender. And the 'crunch' was flaky golden goodness. YUM but definitely a 'sometimes' food.
Crispy taro duck
I was actually quite impressed by this meal. The food here is pretty quality. Maybe because it is slightly pricier than other chinese restaurants in the area, the restaurant was largely empty. The service was reasonable and we got sweet watermelon and oranges to finish the meal. It's not a bad option for a good Chinese meal in Parra.

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

Parramatta Phoenix
Westfield Parramatta
Level 4, Shop 4070
159-175 Church Street
Parramatta NSW 2150
Tel: (02) 9891 3338

Friday, December 7, 2012

Revolver - Annandale

One of our friends recommended a nice little café called "Revolver" in Annandale. He was, however, unsure of whether or not air conditioning was available at this place which really was worrying as the temps for the day soared towards 40 degrees. Luckily, our gamble payed off and this bustling café did come complete with cool air.

Many breakfast and drinks options were available - all sounding absolutely delicious! My friend said that the cheeseburger ($14.50) was a go - hence, that's what he and hubby ordered. As promised, the beef patty was succulent and tasty. The beef came with old school pickles, smoked mozzarella cheese and a blob of tomato, salad and beetroot came encased between two soft buns. Seasoned chat potatoes (instead of chips) came with the burger. Hubby and my friend said that this was pretty good. Except... the missing magic ingredient was the fried egg. Hubby washed down his burger with a old school chocolate milkshake with malt. Not a bad lunch :)

chocolate milkshake with malt
I opted for the parmesan scrambled eggs with sumac cured bacon, a heap of fennel and rocket salsa  all on a yummy buttered wholegrain slice of bread ($14.50). This was really yummy. Sure, the scramble could have been a bit runnier, but the rest of the package was great! My iced coffee was also pretty yummy and tasty for the hot summer's day.
parmesan scrambled eggs with bacon and rocket
iced coffee

My other friends ordered the eggs benedict (which I pretty much drooled over) and also the ricotta hotcakes (which was so super thick~). Everything here looked and smelt delicious. Definitely a good local corner joint :)

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

291 Annadale Street
NSW 2038
Tel: (02) 9555 4727

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Cornersmith - Marrickville

Marrickville seems to be the up and coming suburb. Loads of cafes have popped up everywhere.One up and buzzing cafe is 'Cornersmith'. Though small and thoroughly fully occupied, this cafe has a good and efficient system going. There's a little blackboard attached at the door - when you get here, you just pop your name down and your name gets crossed off as you get seated.

The blackboard menu makes everything there seem really yummy. I've been told that the menu changes quite regularly, ensuring pleasant surprises for return visits :P
blackboard menu
 As usual, coffees first. Skim capps (regular & large) were really tasty and deliciousness. The coffee was strong, the milk frothed well and the whole package smooth and aromatic.
Food-wise, I had a ham and egg roll ($12). Poached egg with ham, watercress, red cabbage, some apple jam thing and some garlic aioli, all captured within the thick bread bits. The egg oozed out as I cut into it making it super delicious with the garlic aioli. Not a bad breakfast feast.
ham and egg roll

Hubby opted for two poached eggs which came with lightly toasted bread and apple jam. Hubby added seasoned avocado  to it. The eggs, avocado and toast was simply a match made in heaven!

poached eggs with avocado

Cornersmith patrons seemed to come in waves. At times, the cafe was crazily busy - but there were still times were the poor waiters could take a breather. In all, this is a pretty good breaky and coffee place. Well worth a visit :)

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

314 Illawarra Road
NSW 2204
Tel: (02) 8065 0844

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Hukuya - Eastwood

My mum's been going on about this Jap restaurant for years and years and years and though I had never been, the intention to give the place a visit had been on my mind for quite some time. Expectations were low - given that it was a Korean owned Jap restaurant,  but we gave it a go anyway. The place was surprisingly packed out! We sat down at the sushi bar and ordered our sushi.

We had the regular sushi - 10 pieces ($16) and the inside-out california roll - 9 pieces ($13). To my amazement, it tasted pretty damn good! The fish was fresh and cut well (though somewhat inconsistently good across the different tables). It was a good fish to rice ratio. The rolls which came with the regular sushi was a bit odd and mainly consisted of cabbage, but my california rolls were deliciousness~
regular sushi (10 pieces) - $16
inside out california roll - $13
I have to say, it's not a bad Korean-owned sushi joint. No wonder it's so busy all the time~ Definitely will be back for a quick bite :)

Food - 8/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 6/10
Value for money - 7.5/10
Overall - 28.5/40

Hukuya Sushi Bar
Shop 1, 25 Railway Pde
NSW 2122
Tel: (02) 9804 8200

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Rosso Pomodoro - Balmain

Hubby's been craving good pizza for like EVER since coming back from Europe. May I stress the word good pizza. I've been putting off our hunt for pizza in Sydney as I've been slightly scarred by the plethora of non good pizza around but hubby promised me that this place - Rosso Pomodoro - is good.

Located at the bottom of some residential apartments in Balmain, I have to say, my heart sunk a little. Looked not much more than a local diner... but, to their credit, the place was packed and buzzing, with a waft of yumminess in the air. We decided to get a pizza each - as pizza is what this place is meant to be good for. Hubby ordered their 'special' for the night - the Gambero pizza (with anchovies added as an extra) and I ordered their Rocco pizza.

My Rocco pizza was pretty awesome! Topped with loads of rocket and prosciutto, shaved parmesan, mozarella and tomato, it was a pretty damn tasty disk of thin, crispy, crunchy, chewy dough. Pretty yum~
Rocco pizza
Hubby's Gambero pizza looked naked in comparison with tiny prawns scattered around. Funnily enough, it was actually still really tasty. Bits of tomato diced here and there, chilli scattered around and the anchovies (which was added as an extra) really finished this pizza nicely.
Gambero pizza
I have to say, I was surprised by the quality of these two pizzas. Definitely pretty yummy for Sydney standards. Not surprisingly, after having a pizza each we had no room in our stomachs for dessert >.<

Food - 9/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 6/10
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 29/40

Rosso Pomodoro
91/24 Buchanan Street  
Balmain NSW 2041
Tel: (02) 9555 5924

Monday, November 19, 2012

Cafe Morso - Pyrmont

It was a Saturday, the weather was good, the view was awesome, great cup of coffee and good food. What more could you ask for?

Our visit to Cafe Morso was definately a good one. We were served by this energetic, lively waiter who was attentive and coped way too much abuse by the table next to us. Starting with a large capp ($6) which came in a gigantic bowl - it was possibly enough to be full on coffee alone! The coffee was good - smooth, creamy, aromatic and lasted the whole breakfast (unlike usually, where my coffee is drunk within the first 5 minutes of arriving).

Bowl of coffee - $6
Food-wise, hubby ordered the 'Cafe Morso Breakfast' ($19) which came with eggs (he opted for fried), bacon, mushroom, roast tomato, chorizo, bacon, tomato relish and toast.It looked simple but good. The meats were charred well and the bread was thick - toasted well on the outside, still soft on the inside.
Morso Breakfast - $19
I found it a tough decision to make and many options sounded delicious. In the end, the truffled scrambled eggs ($16.50) reigned. The eggs were creamy and just a bit runny (the way I like them). The mushrooms (wild and king oyster) were sauteed in butter and was absolutely devine! And the toast (from Sonoma) was gorgeously delicious!
truffled scramble eggs with wild mushrooms - $16.50
So this was probably one of the more relaxing weekend breakfastes I've had in a while. Thoroughly enjoyed the food, view and company :)

Food - 8.5/10
Service - 8/10
Ambiance - 8/10
Value for money - 8/10
Overall - 32.5/40

Cafe Morso
21 Pirrama Road
Jones Bay Wharf - Lower Deck
Pyrmont NSW 2009
Tel: (02) 96920111

Monday, November 5, 2012

Alio - Surry Hills

You know that feeling when you're in a bit of a rush, and you want to enjoy dinner but you can't properly because you're edging to have your food delivered pronto and get frustrated when the service is slow? Well, I was stuck with that bit of agitation whilst dining at Alio recently.

Dining at Alio was a last minute decision. We were headed towards another restaurant in Surry Hills when our attention was grabbed but some nice aromas and semi-full restaurant for a Monday night. We waltzed on in - we had probably a bit over an hour allocated for dinner before our sugar hit and which we thought was ample time for an entree and main.

A quick squiz down their drinks menu and their sunset cosmopolitan caught my eye. A mocktail with a range of different juices promised - alas, all I could taste was apple. If I had closed my eyes and drunk this I would think... mmm... apple juice.

sunset cosmopolitan
An amuse bouche came out first. The small cup of pumpkin and ginger soup was really creamy and tasty and deliciousness. In retrospect, if what I got for dinner was a large bowl of this soup, I probably would have been pretty happy ~
pumpkin and ginger soup
We started with a an antipasti board ($34) to share. It was an impressive slab with prosciutto, bresaola, coppa Nduja salami, white anchovy, container of green olives, pickled onions, marinated mushrooms, yummy paremsan cheese and awesome buffalo mozzarella with bread sticked and bruschetta. Everything on the board was quite good. But then again, how bad could cheese, cold meats and bread get? :P
antipasti board - $34
After clearing the antipasti board, the waitress asked if we wanted out mains served. Yes indeed! but 5 minutes ticked by.... 10 minutes.... 15 minutes... and the time went on and on and on. We went from being early to our next destination to on time to late... 15 minutes before we had to be at our next booking, we asked the waitress to check on our food. She came back a bit later with just my pasta ($30). A few minutes later, hubby's mussels ($25) came out. Hubby's mussels were steamed in white wine and garlic. It also had zuccini slices, fennel and fregola. The sauce was really white winey and the garlic flavour (or any other taste for that matter) seemed to be drowned in this alcohol.
mussels in white wine and garlic - $25
I was a bit shocked at the presentation of my fettuccini. It was like some kid just slopped some pasta on a plate, drenched it in tomato water and chucked some cooked cherry tomato on top. Unimpressed. The hand rolled fettuccini was still al-dente, but the sauce was pretty dismal. the pan fried prawns were really quite bad - chopped up into miniscule pieces, overcooked and pretty tasteless.
prawn fettuccini - $30
And if you thought that was a bad end to the meal? Well,  we were in a rush, so we decided to pay for the meal at the counter. There was this guy standing there flirting with the waitress behind the cash register. Being flustered and all, the waitress handed us our bill... and being in a rush, we hubby just looked at the total amount and paid. It was not until I got in the car, thought about how the total amount seemed a bit fishy, and digged the receipt back out that we realised - yup, we paid for some other table's meal. Dammit - ripped off for a crappy meal! :(

Food - 6/10
Service - 5/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Value for money - 6/10
Overall - 24/40

5 Baptist Street
Surry Hills
Tel: (02) 8394 9368

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Sugar Hit at the Sofitel - Sydney

The Sydney International Food Festival (or CRAVE) happens every year in the month of October. This is the time of the year for special lunches, brunches, dinners, high-teas and desserts. Unfortunately for this year, we were only able to catch one dessert ('sugar hit') event. In previous years, sugar hits have been a bit of a hit and miss - some are excellent, some mediocre... really depended on your luck and which cafe you end up at. And so, I made sure that my expectations were set at a reasonable level this time round as we entered the Sofitel Wentworth Hotel.

After a relatively bad dining experience (which I will blog about shortly), we were running a little late for our reservation. Nonetheless, we were greeted by a very friendly and cheerful waiter who directed us promptly to our seats. Without even asking for it, he subsequently came with two glasses of water (with lemon :P) and inquired about our choice of drink. Standard was a Brown Brother's dessert wine of sorts, but he informed us that we would substitute it with other drinks - coffees, teas, soft drinks etc. Being 10pm on a weeknight already, both hubby and I went for coffee. The long black and my cappuccino were both decent - nothing spectacular but they weren't bad.
long black

The friendly waiter then came back with our 'Sugar Hit'. I had chosen the Sofitel Hotel because of their variety offered in the dessert. It was a chocolate extravaganza with 5 different tasty morsels. There was the chocolate macaroon. this was average - chocolate filling was well integrated with the almond meringe shell. Hubby liked the chocolate eclair. The chocolate custard in the middle was smooth and not too sweet. The opera cake was in the middle - it had good layering, spongy, creamy and coffee syrupy and topped well with a thin layer of chocolate glaze. The chocolate tart was pretty full on. Very strong and very dense. On the other hand, whilst the chocolate mousse was rich and chocolatey, it was delightfully light and easy to consume.
chocolate platter
So I have to say, this was actually quite a decent Sugar Hit experience. The dessert was chocolatey and right up my alley. I liked how you get to choose your drink. And the waiter was heaps friendly and nice. For $20, you probably couldn't ask for too much more :)

Food - 7.5/10
Service - 8.5/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Value for money - 8/10
Overall - 31/40

Sofitel Sydney Wentworth
61-101 Phillip Street
NSW 2000
Tel: (02) 9230 0700

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Grounds of Alexandria - Alexandria

On a nice warm spring day, what better than a chillaxy experience at a cafe? The cafe spot we picked for the lazy Saturday was The Grounds at Alexandria - a popular spot for families and couples in the midst of the up-and-coming suburb.

I've been told that the wait for this place can be as painstaking as 1 1/2 hrs - so when given the news that it'll be approx a half an hour wait, I was relieved. Not long after a leisurely stroll along their gardens and stalls for the day (checking out their hens, their herbs etc), and a detour to the deli next door, our buzzer rang and we were guided to our table.
The Grounds gives off that 'happening' vibe. Loads of chatter, laughter just reverberating around the walls. The waiters dashing around the place trying to keep on top of everything. People lining up for takeaways. The whole lot. But whilst busy - it felt like the 'nice' sort of busy, and not the 'I'm so stressed' type. We ordered coffees first - the cappuccinos were heaps smooth and rich and creamy - the perfect 'wake-me-up'.
I opted for the beef burger ($18) which came with a small container of heavenly beer battered fries. The chips were golden and crispy on the outside and fluffy goodness on the inside. It was also very consistent - every chip was good. The beef brisket patty was juicy and tasty as was all the other bits of the burger - the cheese, lettuce, the dill mayo - all encased in a really soft toasted brioche. Mmm...
'Ground' beef burger - $18
Hubby's spiced chicken baguette ($14) was not as awesome. The "ramzey's secret' spiced deep-fried chicken was alright, the bun was average and the spicy mayo inside just as advertised... making for a good but not wow chicken baguette. It came with a side of leafy garden greens ... but chips would have been much tastier!
Ramzey's secret spiced chicken baguette - $14
The Grounds is a pretty good place to chill out. It can be hard to get a spot for large groups (though there are a few bigger tables around) and the place is not really that conducive to D&Ms. But what you get is good coffee, lovely surrounds and decent food.

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

The Grounds of Alexandria
Huntley Street
NSW 2015
Tel: (02) 9699 2225

Monday, October 22, 2012

Kuma Japanese Restaurant - Rosebery

A few years ago, there was no such thing as group coupon deals. Now, websites which offer heavily discounted meals, activities and travel are rife. If you are very diligent in purchasing and organising and using coupons, you can really save heaps from these deals. They also make pretty good presents. One such deal that I managed to get my hands on recently was a 6 course meal from Kuma for just $35 for 2 people offered by Groupon.

To be completely honest, hubby and I entered this place with really really low expectations. Afterall, a 6 course Jap meal for 2 people for just $35? Seems a little bit too good to be true. Amazingly, however, we were quite blown away by the value and quality which was offered. We were first offered a choice of drink - wine, sake, soft drink etc (which was also included). Miso soup was also complementary. There was some stock standard courses - the sashimi, salmon and avocado roll, tempura...but also some choices involved - deep fried vs pan fried gyoza (either pork or prawn), choice of main course, and flavour of icecream.
The sashimi was good enough, as was the miso soup. No complaints there (but it wasn't WOW factor). The salmon and avocado roll had a little bit too much rice for my liking - but hubby thought it was alright.
entree sashimi
miso soup

salmon and avocado roll
The pan-fried pork gyoza was one of my favourites for the night. Pan-fried so that it was crispy on the bottom, still nice and soft on other sides, and heaps juicy and succulent inards. It was very much YUM. The tempura was alright. Slightly bit too floury for my liking but the prawns were really quite fresh. the tempura was also seasoned quite well.
pan-fried pork dumplings

In terms of the mains, hubby got the katsu chicken whereas I opted for the teriyaki salmon. The katsu chicken was average. You get your golden brown bread-crumbed crunchy outer-layer covering the tender chicken bits inside. Deep-fried chicken craving tick! My teriyaki salmon was a lot better than I expected. The fish wasn't over or under cooked. It was really really tasty and doused in that sweet teriyaki sauce. And it came with a mound of yummy veges. Liked it quite a bit :)
katsu chicken

teriyaki salmon
Last but not least was dessert. We had one of each flavour - green tea and sesame. The funny shape of the sesame icecream (how it's kind of cylindrical and has specific grooves on it) is indicative of how it came straight out of a store-bought container (the ones you can probably get at asian grocers). The green tea icecream on the other hand, came out nice and spherical. Amazingly enough, both icecreams were actually very deliciousness~ So store-bought or not, it was pretty good.
black sesame & green tea icecream

We were both quite surprised by what we got out of this meal. As it was a pre-paid meal, after we finished eating and felt like we chilled out enough, we just got up and left - how simple and convenient! :) Whilst this particular deal probably can't be purchased at the moment, there's still quite a lot of other restaurant deals offered by Groupon. Just by going here, you can eat to your hearts content for a fraction of the cost!

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

Kuma Japanese Restaurant
304/5-9 Rothschild Ave
Rosebery NSW 2018
Tel: (02) 9663 2902