Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Bulgogi - Chatswood

A while back now, hubby and I went to this Korean/Jap restaurant in Chatswood - The Bulgogi. It houses a-la-carte as well as all-you-can-eat options. Knowing our massive stomachs, we went for the buffet. There's a range of small instant eats, sashimi, salads, as well as meats and seafoods to cook on the grill. There are 3 buffet options - the standard, the premium (which has sashimi), and super premium (which has wagyu beef). On this night, we went for the mid-range one. We completely feasted and were completely stuffed after. Amazingly, although the service was a bit slow, all the food was super delicious and quite fresh. Not a bad buffet at all!
pork ribs
ox tongue
seaweed salad and soft shell crab salad
beef rib
salmon, tuna and king fish sashimi
beef skirt and squid
squid sashimi
beef galbi and beef yukke
salmon and avocado salad
crab nugget
beef on the grill
prawns on the grill
green tea, black sesame and vanilla icecream
I have to say - it was all deliciousness! When I'm up for another crazy feed, I will be back!

Food - 8/10
Service - 6/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 28/40

The Bulgogi
380 Victoria Road
NSW 2067
Tel: (02) 9410 3900

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Zen Oasis - Berrima

Vegetarian buffet? Say WHAT?
The news did not go down very well for my meat-eating hubby when my parents had wanted us to accompany them to Zen Oasis - a vegetarian buffet in the countryside. We had braced ourselves for the worst but were pleasantly surprised by the lovely peaceful vibe the place exuded.

Opening only on Saturdays and Sundays for lunch (and you NEED to book), there was a bit of a crowd waiting for the restaurant to open at 11.30am. I for one, was pleasantly surprised at the huge array of food. The waitress politely emphasised the 'only get what you eat' policy which I thought was fair enough, and funnily enough, I think that all patrons respected that.

There was a bar for entree foods - all yummy, bettered and deep fried. My favourite was probably this seaweed mushroom ball (a button mushroom wrapped in crispy seaweed then gently golden-brownly deep fried), and their crispy seaweed crackers which was sweet, sesame seed coated, and very addictive. Other entrees on offer included the curry puffs, spring rolls, deep fried taro ball, a pastry thing and banana fritters. I tried everything (minus the banana) and was happy to go for seconds.
The middle section housed the mains. Encased around the three walls of mains was a little asian man making vegetarian sushi. His sushi was really fresh-tasting and delish! Loved it - and ate loads of sushi LOL. There were also some imitation meats (e.g. imitation prawns, beef, pork cutlet) all made from ingredients such as tofu, eggplant and mushrooms. Dumplings and fried rice was also available.

There was also a salad bar and a lovely tofu/mushroomy asian soup. Next to all this was a quaint little tea section - green tea (with some floral scent), milk tea (with matcha powder), gow gee tea, and some other floral one.
Last but not least - dessert time! There was a good selection of asian cakes, mochi, jellies and fruit. My favourite of the lot was probably the tiramisu. Definitely some hits and misses on the dessert table :P

I believe that it was an interesting experience. Personally, I wouldn't say no to a revisit but it is a bit out of the way and hubby did find himself longing for meat after the meal.

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

Zen Oasis
230 Medway Road
NSW 2577
Tel: (02) 4877 1285

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Wharf @ Pier 2 - Walsh Bay

We attended a wedding reception of a lovely couple recently at The Wharf in Walsh Bay and I have to say - I have not been that part of town for yonks! The restaurant boasted a lovely, unobstructed view of the harbour bridge and Sydney-siders all round were taking photos of this iconic monument.

One of the benefits of hosting a wedding at this venue has got to be the flexibility they offer in table arrangements. You can have tables as long or as short as you want - which is awesome to accommodate for the differing numbers of friends and family you have from each aspect of your life. The wait staff at this venue were quite courteous and polite and the food (whilst slow in coming out) was surprisingly yum.

The bread was just that - bread. Nothing exciting or awesome. Not warmed or toasty. Just bread. Luckily, the entrees were more spectacular. Alternate drop of pork belly and seared scallops were on offer. The pork belly, though small ish, was succulent with a crisp crackling. The egg plant in between the meat and crackling layer was reportedly quite odd, as was the accompaniment of the sticky rice with burnt(?) black rice crisps. The scallops were seared well and just very oh so slightly overcooked (but forgiveably so). It came with tasty shaved fennel and some baby raddish.
pork belly with sticky rice
seared scallops with fennel
We got to chose our mains. Either the steak or the fish (or the vegetarian option). We also got asked by the waiter "is medium rare OK?" which made me think - WOW they cook to order? After a friend asked for his steak to be cooked for an option other than medium rare or well done we realised - they weren't so flexible after all. Just the two options were available - medium rare or cooked through? Hubby's steak was actually really tasty and actually medium rare. Succulent ish and nice. I was completely blown away by my salmon. It was also actually medium rare as promised!!! Wow - it was fall off the fork, melt in your mouth goodness. Crusted lightly with pistachios, I think the only thing it lacked was the crispy skin. But perfectly cooked salmon at a wedding - the lack of crispy skin is forgivable. The fish came with some silver beets which were meh. On the side, green beans and potatoes were also offered.

steak - medium rare
salmon with silver beets
It took absolutely forever for dessert to come out (or so it seemed) and by the time it did, some of our friends had already left (photos are bad coz the lights were out for dancing~). More dessert for the table! And fortunately so coz dessert was spectacular! There was the chocolately mousse cake thingy with strawberries which was rich, creamy, smooth and amazing! The other option was the panna cotta with yummy fairyfloss bits on top. Hubby loved the panna cotta and I loved the chocolate mouse cake. Perfect. We also had cheese cake and chocolate cake bought to the table (yes - cake overload!).
chocolate mousse cake with strawberries
panna cotta with fairy floss
It was an enjoyable wedding reception. One with probably the best western wedding food I've had yet. I wouldn't mind returning for just a normal breakfast/lunch time meal.

Food - 8.5/10
Service - 7.5/10
Ambiance - 8/10
Value for money - ?
Overall - 24+?/40

The Wharf @ Pier 2
Pier 2, 13 Hickson Road
Walsh Bay, NSW
Tel: (02) 8084 5770