Thursday, January 23, 2014

Berowra Waters Inn - Berowra Waters

For my birthday this year, my hubby spoilt me with a meal at Berowra Waters Inn. It's a restaurant that I'd always wanted to go to - except that they closed down before I got to it. Imagine my surprise and excitement when it re-opened again shortly after! Located in a serene and tranquil 'middle of nowhere' place on the Hawkesbury, the restaurant is only accessible by boat or by the extravagant seaplane. On the upside, it meant that the view was spectacularly amazing!

For a Friday night, the restaurant was surprisingly not that full. We were served by two friendly and attentive waiters - one with an awesome Frenchie accent. The restaurant offers a degustation menu but was flexible enough to accommodate for my pickiness. As I'm not really into wines and hubby had to drive, neither of us opted for the matching wines.
Berowra Waters Inn
We were first served with an amuse bouche of an oyster wrapped in squid ink, oyster cream and cous cous. ZOMG seconds please! The oyster was really creamy and greatly complemented by the squidy inky taste. The oyster cream was also delicious - smooth and rich.
Oyster with Squid ink and oyster cream
We were offered a choice of white bread or white onion brioche. I favoured the white bread more. It came with a house made tomato butter and black olive crumbs. Surprisingly, I enjoyed this butter more than I thought.
white bread, white onion brioche with tomato butter and black olive
The first official course we had was the scallops with knäckebröd. It looked so pretty and as a bonus, the scallops were cooked perfectly. The knäckebröd provided that additional crunch and texture.
scallops and knäckebröd
The next course was one of my favourites. It was a confit ocean trout with smoke milk and dashi. The dashi came in the form of foam, as well as super delicious crackers. It was sooooo yummy! Tasty and delicate, all at the same time.
trout, smoked milk and dashi
The sole was the next course. The sole was a finger slice sitting a top of bits of carid prawn. The yellow orangey stuf on top was absolutely delcious... but I can't for the life of me remember what it was. The broccoli puree sauce was super delicious and bits of pine nuts added to the overall flavour of the dish.
sole, broccoli and carid prawn
Kale was a part of our next course. Having cooked kale chips at home and actually enjoyed it, I was happy to see it on the place. There was kale cooked several ways - baked (or fried?) thinly, wrapped around the duck mixture, as well as boiled and chopped and mixed with some other stuff (memory failing). The main star of the dish was the duck, again, cooked two ways. It was tender and tasty. There was also mustard and a cherry sauce on the plate.
duck, cherries and kale
Our last savoury course was the slow cooked beef short rib with onion. Could not fault the tenderness of the beef, covered in a herb concoction, and could not fault the creamy puree that it sat next to. Hubby loved it!

short rib and onions
The next course was the one that I needed the restaurant to change for me. It was goats cheese wrapped with beetroot, all sitting ontop of a licorice powder. All three ingredients I did not eat. But hubby happily enjoyed the dish.
goats cheese, beetroot and licorice
Instead, I got a caramelised pear with apple jelly and apple strips. It was sweet. Very very sweet. Not the type of sweet I like unfortunately.
caramelised pear with apple
I thoroughly enjoyed the palate cleanser - a shot of coconut cream with pineapple foam. Such an awesome combination! Loved it!
coconut cream with pineapple
The finale of the night suited my tastes muchly. It was a chocolate mousse cream cake with hazelnut icecream, chocolate bits and shavings, and apricot. Yum yum yum!
hazelnut, chocolate, apricot
I felt extremely satisfied by the end of the meal. It was really deliciousness. The service was great. View was amazing. Would definitely want to come here again so I hope it survives the years!!!

Food - 9/10
Service - 8/10
Ambiance - 8/10
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 32/40

Berowra Waters Inn
Lot 22/ Warves
Berowra Waters
NSW 2082
Tel: (02) 9456 1027

Friday, January 17, 2014

Hahndorf Hills Winery - Adelaide Hills

We were surprised that one of our friends were in Adelaide the same time we were. Not only that, we were also going to Adelaide Hills on the same day. As such, we decided to meet up at Hahndorf Hills Winery for a light nibble.

We decided to order a couple of platters to share - some cheeses, salmon pate, a meat pate, vine leaves, marinated squid, fig and the like. Everything was quite nibbly and quite nice. But it was just the lead up to the main event - their famous 'chocovino' tastings.
The 'chocovino' tastings is a delectable pairing between wines and world-class chocolates. It also came with the 'world's purest water' - water bottled in a place with the least amount of air polution ever! So did this water taste different? Psychologically, it was WOW amazingly pure. But realistically, our sparkling mineral water tasted like most other sparklings.
The chocolates? Pretty awesome. We all got different ones. To taste the chocolates, we were instructed to look at it, to smell it, to hear it snap and break, to place a tiny bit in on our tongues to melt it - and then to just savour the cocoa flavour. So complicated. But a fun experience :)

I had a pretty fun experience here :)  A tad pricey - but the experience was pretty cool! Dining in a room with floor to ceiling glass overlooking the winery - not something that happens every day :)

Food - 7/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 8.5/10
Value for money - 6/10
Overall - 28.5/40

Hahndorf Hills Winery
38 Pains Road
Hahndorf, South Australia 5245
Tel: (08) 8388 7512

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Maggie Beer Farm Shop- Barossa Valley

We were in the Barossa Valley so we couldn't resist a visit to Maggie Beer's farm. We must have picked a bad day coz they were PACKED OUT! Arriving around 1pm, there was almost no room to move. But we eventually managed to order and find a table in the corner.

We weren't too hungry and so, we ordered the Pheasant Farm Pate Picnic Basket to share. This came with a Maggie Beer Pheasant Farm Pate, a small dish of amazing caramelised onion, freekah salad, and warm and soft wood-ovened bread. It was pretty good!

Pheasant Farm Pate Picnic Basket

I also eyed their chocolate brownie ($2)... and hubby went straight away to get it for me :) This tiny little square was SOOO dense and SOOO rich... it was pretty crazy! Probably couldn't eat more than this tiny little square of this stuff.
chocolate brownie

cooking demo
After the meal, there's a cooking demonstration at 2pm. At this demo, we were told about all the virtues of verjuice and their vinocotto.... made pretty delicious caramelised onion and buttered mushies :)

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

Maggie Beer Farm Shop
50 Pheasant Farm Road
Nuriootpa, South Australia, 5355
Tel: (08) 8562 4477

Monday, January 13, 2014

Eden - Glenelg

What's in a name? In this case - nothing.
Glenelg is a popular beachside town, just around 20 mins away from Adelaide CBD. There's all these restaurants along their beachside marina ... but we chose Eden because it seemed to offer a bit of seafood (which SA seemed to be famous for), and because it was decently populated.

We sat down and ordered ... wanted oysters - sorry , out... wanted another entree - sorry, out.... and that went on for a bit until we settled on the fish of the day (whole roasted barramundi), and I went for their clam pasta, tossed with chilli and some sort of prawn bisque? We had also decided on potatoes with rocket and truffle to share.

Despite the awesomeness of the lemon-lime bitter, the rest of the meal was quite a disappointment.

lemon lime bitter
Every table got served bread, except us. We got served our side first.... and it was served as an entree???!?!?! and... rocket? where's the rocket? I believe that the green stuff is called chives.

potato with rocket .... rocket where?

The barramundi was pretty good - cooked well, the meat was juicy, and served with some cherry tomatoes.
fish of the day - whole roasted barramundi
But my pasta? ZOMG BAD!. The hand made pasta was way over cooked... a bit of a sloshy mess. The sauce was way too watery and lacked taste. The whole this was... just terrible. I could definitely cook better pasta than this~
clams with hand made pasta with chilli and prawn bisque
I couldn't wait to get out of here once we finished our meal.... poor service, not so great food... why bother really?

Food - 5/10
Service - 4/10
Ambiance - 5/10
Value for money - 5/10
Overall - 19/40

Eden Dining Room and Bar
Shop 6, Lights Landing Holdfast Shores
Glenelg, South Australia, 5045
Tel: (08) 8376 7688

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Mandoo - Adelaide

A Korean restaurant with Pete Evans' tick of approval? That's Mandoo - a dumpling restaurant in the city of Adelaide.Walking past it, we couldn't resist but to go in and test it out.

We couldn't really decide which dumplings we wanted - and so, we opted for a dumpling hot pot with a mix of chicken, pork, kimchi and vego dumplings (amongst a heap of other yummy ingredients). We were first served with several simple side dishes - pickles, kimchi, and seaweed. We were also presented with a mild chilli mixture ... a bit of gochujang, sesame and shallot? I have to say - this chilli mixture kind of saves the dumplings as the dumplings themselves don't seem to have too much taste.
side dishes
chilli sauce
Our dumpling pot came and it was amazing! Thin slices of beef, tofu, rice cake, udon, mushies, fishcake and dumplings. YUM!!!! also loved the broth (i think it was a beef broth?). Pretty awesome.

dumpling hot pot
All up, it was a pretty good feed. I'm not convinced that it's the bestest dumplings I've had, but the hot pot was enough to leave us both satisfied and happy :)

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

Shop 3, 26 Bank St
South Australia, 5000
Tel: (08) 8231 3303

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Fish of Penneshaw - Kangaroo Island

We had a wonderful opportunity over the Xmas/New Year break to head to South Australia. As part of the trip, we had to visit the lovely Kangaroo Island - and island with very limited population but lots of nature stuff.

At Kangaroo Island, we were able to see many spectacular sights - sea lions just chilling on the beach, fur seals lying on rocks, koalas, and kangaroos.... But in terms of food - being an island, it's a bit limited.

Being the island of seafood, hubby and I decided to eat at "Fish of Penneshaw" - a gourmet fish and chips shop. At the shop, we ordered the king george whiting with salad and chips, as well as the marron with salad and chips. I have to say, it wasn't a cheap meal - but it was pretty tasty. It was the first time having the king george whiting and this was a white fish which was a bit more solid (compared to your barramundi and perch), but really quite flavoursome. The marron  - a fresh water crayfish - was really quite small but heaps tasty! I LOVE marron - wish I could eat it all the time :P
On top of that - we got a jumbo scallop each - perfectly cooked ...but not really that jumbo~

Fish of Penneshaw
marron with chips and salad
king george whiting with chips and salad

There was a sign outside this takeaway - claiming it to be worthy of a michelin star. I think that it was a pretty good meal... but.... michelin star worthy? hm...

Food - 8/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Value for money - 5/10
Overall - 27/40

Fish of Penneshaw
North Terrace,
Penneshaw, Kangaroo Island
South Australia

Monday, January 6, 2014

Ormeggio (2) - Mosman

Stressless Sunday Dinner? It was in the crazy month of December and so anything that suggested less stress I was completely up for!

I took my parents as well and the four of us enjoyed the views of the harbour. Unfortunately for us, due to weather issues, the sunset was a little marred by the rain. Due to the nature of the 'stress-free' dinner, I didn't take too many metal notes on this place. The only things I have to say about this dinner is probably - fantastic bread, amazing asparagus-filled ravioli, not a fan of apple-cod fish, and disappointment that other tables got a chocolate dessert whilst we got a deconstructed carrot cake. The rest - I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.
Warm Sourdough bread with house churned butter - $9
kingfish sashimi with squid ink
handmade pasta filled with asparagus, with ricotta and asparagus drops
applecod fish with peas

68 degree egg with pecorrino foam and rice crispies
slow cooked braised beef brisket with kale, beetroot and mushroom puree, and artichoke chips
carrot cake with fennel seed icecream, carrot and spelt drops
Food - 8/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 8/10
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 30/40

D'Albora Marinas
The Spit - Spit Road
Mosman, NSW 2088
Tel: (02) 9969 4088