Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Paramount Coffee Project - Surry Hills

I've read about this relatively new kid on the block and really wanted to try it. Located in a relatively quieter and car-space available part of Surry Hills, the aromas of this cafe wafted to our noses the moment we stepped out of the car :)

Located in the Paramount, the cafe has a super stylish and casual decor. It's relaxing and chillaxy, and even has a Tokyo bike shop on the side. They have pretty awesome sounding blends of coffees, but hubby and I wanted Cappuccinos rather than their drip coffees. And my oh my were their coffees tasty, smooth and rich!
Food-wise, though the menu isn't massive, we still had loads of difficulty deciding between the delicious-sounding options. After much deliberation, we settled on a burger each.

The 'Cap'n Morgan' ($19) was hubby's choice. Super massive tempura king prawns we sandwiched between two milk buns. The sauces and the flavour came oozing out through the rum and mango sauce and the guacamole. Hubby really enjoyed this, especially the super meaty chunks of king prawn. I felt like it was a little too flavoursome - if that can be considered an issue....
Cap'n Morgan
My burger choice was the 'Crab Po Boy' ($18). This was crazily ginormous chunks of super crunchy soft shell crab with really fresh-tasting house slaw and ranch dressings, all within a butter bun. Pretty awesome! Hubby didn't like it as much as his prawn burger, but I really liked it :)
Crab Po Boy
This cafe had a pretty awesome vibe. The staff were friendly but a bit too busy to be attentive. A pretty cool cafe to visit if you're in the area :)

Food - 8.5/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 8/10
Value for money - 6.5/10
Overall - 30/40

The Paramount Coffee Project
80 Commonwealth Street
Surry Hills
NSW 2010
Tel: (02) 9211 1122

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Mappen - Sydney

For a quick afterwork bite, hubby and I decided to head to Mappen. We were pretty surprised to find quite a large crowd at this udon place but as its such a quick and easy thing to eat, customers came and went really quickly.
Hubby had the beef udon whereas I got greedy and went for the Bukkake Double Otama (ie. two half boiled eggs). I was reminiscing the awesomely smooth yet chewy udon we had in Tokyo, but compared to that, the udon unfortunately fell a bit short. Nonetheless, Sydney-udon-wise, this was probably pretty decent. Hubby's beef udon with the beef stock was pretty tasty. My soft boiled eggs were also quite deliciousness (though, it could have been a tiny bit more runny). The sesame flavour in my soup/sauce was unfortunately, a bit too overpowering.
beef udon

Bukkake Double Otama

Tempura-wise, we had the chicken, the fish-cake and the prawn. My favourite was the fish cake (but I am biased). The tempura batter was pretty crunchy and tasty though~
I guess Mappen will satisfy my udon craving briefly... until we get to go to Japan again!!! :P

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

Mappen (Sydney CBD)
Shop 11, 537-551 George Street
Sydney, NSW 2000
Tel: (02) 9283 5525

Friday, November 8, 2013

Flying Fish - Pyrmont

For an extremely rare work training event, I was not only treated to FREE training, but also to an absolutely amazing three course meal at Flying Fish.

With bridge view on a gorgeous sunny day, we were given a choice of three entrees, three mains, and three desserts. However, as it was a work training thing, I could only take the photos of the dishes around me which were ordered by colleagues I knew.

The entree I chose was the Petuna ocean trout tartare This was AWESOME. Small fresh cubes of trout mixed in with bits of crunchy nori, ponzu, radish and scattered salmon roe. Every bite of this just danced in my mouth.
Ocean Trout Tartare

A couple of my friends had the Yellowfin Tuna. This was lightly seared slices drenched in a sweet soy ish caramelised ish sauce with crunchy puffed pork skin, grapefruit, black pepper caramel. I was lucky enough to sample a bit of it. It was pretty damn tasty!
Yellowfin Tuna

My manager at work is a vegetarian so he opted for the roasted beetroot. This looked like small ravioli of beetroot with a house made cashew cheese, raisin and mustard seed goop inside. No complaints from my manager.
roasted beetroot

In terms of the main, the only dish around me (and my dish) was the Barramundi. This fillet of fish was perfectly cooked. Crispy skinned and beautifully soft-textured fish meat. Spots of nori vinaigrette added flavour to the fish. The fish was accompanied by an eggplant stack with a miso paste sauce

The dessert did not disappoint. I had the coconut sorbet with young coconut marshmellow bits. The coconut sorbet was super super delicious. It sat on a sheep’s yoghurt which I didn't care too much for, but the eucalyptus caramel was something I loved and wish I got more of. There were also little discs of fresh mango and lime bits. Amazing!
Coconut sorbet

One of my friends had the dark and white chocolate ganache served with raspberries, mascarpone mousse, pistachio, balsamic, sour cherry sorbet. She adored this dessert - especially the 'popping candy' component which added to the fun of the day :)
black and white chocolate ganache
Coffee or tea, and a small macaron accompaniment was served to round off a great meal. I have to say, this restaurant definitely deserves it's hat. I think I'll have to come back and take my family here!

Food - 9/10
Service - 8/10
Ambiance - 8/10
Value for money - 8/10
Overall - 33/40

Flying Fish

19-21 Pirrama Road
NSW 2009
Tel: (02) 9518 6677

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Via Napoli - Lane Cove

We have heard tons about a supposedly awesome pizzeria in Lane Cove. We had to give it a go and we persevered despite the MASSIVE crowds waiting at 8.30pm. I have to say, the waiters walked so fast, they had to be on speed or a dozen Red Bulls. Attentiveness, however, was slightly lacking.

Our expectations were high as some of our friends had said that it's more awesome than Lucio's - and ZOMG Lucio was so crazily awesome that we'd even forgotten to take photos there! We had to resist ordering entree as we wanted to try two different pizza. One was the Via Napoli (which, according to our waiter was a "surprise!"). I was intrigued by the description - 'luigi's fantasy pizza' - had to order it! :P . The other was a Vesuvio which had tomato, buffalo mozarella, ricotta, ham, salami, pepper, basil on it.
Via Napoli - Luigi's fantasy pizza
The pizzas here are really quite different to Lucio's. The crust is really chewy and had this super thick outside crust ring which neither of us were a huge fan of. There was a ton of toppings on it which did make it quite tasty and unfortunately, quite soggy. After eating the pizzas I have to say that I regretted not getting an antipasto entree - I think I would have preferred a ton of cured meats, cheese and bread sticks to the pizzas.

Food - 6.5/10
Service -5/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Value for money - 6.5/10
Overall - 25/40

Via Napoli
141 Longueville Road
Lane Cove
NSW 2066
Tel: (02) 9428 3724

Friday, November 1, 2013

Din Tai Fung (2) - Sydney

We were in the city and I really wanted dumplings. The first place that came to mind was Din Tai Fung at World Square. Being the 'rush hour' of dinner time, we were expecting a long wait - and there were the crowds waiting outside the restaurant to support this idea. However, fortunately for us, being a company of two, we were given a table within 10 mins.

We wanted a different their appetiser of asian veges (black fungus etc) but they ran out for the night. As such, we opted for the water spinach with garlic instead. This was tasty but nothing amazingness.
water spinach with garlic

For some odd reason, hubby wanted fried rice. Fried Rice??? That's something I can easily cook *sigh*. Oh well, whatever he wants. We ordered fried rice with deep fried chicken cutlet. The chicken was pretty tasty.
fried rice and fried chicken
On to the good stuff - the dumplings. The Xiao Long Bao (steamed pork bun). As expected, the dumpling skin was super thin, and the soup that came with the pork felt clean and not too oily. Satisfied my dumpling cravings :)
Steamed pork dumplings
The other dumpling dish I wanted was the pork and vege dumpilng. This exceeded my expectations. It was chockablock full of chopped veges (which I LOVE ... but not everyone's cup of tea) with a tiny bit of pork. YUM :)
pork and vege dumplings
I always like a dumpling feast. It is slightly pricier here (as expected) and the service slightly lacking (also as expected)... but it's a relatively good feed anyway.

Food - 8/10
Service - 6/10
Ambiance - 6/10
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 27/40

Din Tai Fung
Level 1, Shop 11.04
World Square
644 George Street
Sydney, NSW 2000
Tel: (02) 9264 6010