Posts Tagged ‘Sydney’

Weird Food: Waiter, I think there’s some cat poo in my coffee…

After a long hiatus from blogging, I’m finally back in action!

It has taken something I’ve wanted to try for years to force me back into it.

Kopi Luwak is a coffee made from beans which have been partially digested by the small, cat like Asian Palm Civet.

Until recently, the only place I knew of in Australia which served this delicacy was a café in Townsville, and was charging AU$50 a cup for it.

This has all changed of late.  Apparently the coffee was featured in the movie The Bucket List, and since, demand has grown.

This is good news for coffee lovers everywhere.

I had the pleasure of having a Kopi Luwak espresso recently at Olio at St. Leonard’s in Sydney’s North Shore area.

At AU$9 a cup, it definitely isn’t priced like your average coffee, but it was worth every last cent.

The coffee has next to no bitterness, the smoothest coffee I have ever tasted.  This is due to the way the beans are digested.

Read more

David Jones Food Hall’s Sushi Bar

Every now and then I go to David Jones on Market St on a Thursday night to do a bit of shopping.

Inevitably, I end up in the basement in the Food Hall when I’m done with my shopping.

This is the place in the Sydney CBD for high quality gourmet produce, such as marble grade 6+ wagyu beef, fine cheeses, good pâté, spatchcock, rabbit and just about anything else that you often can’t get at your local supermarket or butcher.

The also have several dine-in “bars”.  One of my regulars is the Sushi Bar.  Tonight, as usual, I had sashimi.

I opted for the large assorted sashimi platter, which comes with 22 pieces; a mix of salmon, kingfish and tuna.

It often depends on the day, however usually it is quite good.  Last night it was very good.  It ticked all the boxes in Nick’s trademarked sashimi tasting guide: Read more

Ashield BBQ Korean Restaurant

Mmmmmm Korean food.

Mikey & I had lunch at Ashfield BBQ Korean Restaurant today, which is up the road from his place.  I woke up with a bit of a shocking hangover (typical Saturday morning!), and when he suggested this I was out the door before he could finish the sentence!

We couldn’t resist going with a hotpot.  For the uninitiated, Korean hotpot is a soup which is cooked on the table, and shared amongst everyone.  We ordered the spicy pork and kim chi (asked for it extra spicy).

There was enough here to serve at least four people!  It was fantastic, and disappointing when we got full as we couldn’t keep eating it!  As promised, it came with a little extra spice, and contained obviously pork and kim chi, but also contains noodles and tofu. Read more

Belgian Beer Café

This used to be a semi-regular haunt when I worked in the city, with many a long lunchtime spent there.

These days it’s a bit more of a novelty, and I may end up here for dinner a couple of times a year.

Yesterday was one of my colleague’s last day with the company, and so a group of around 20-30 of us went to the Belgian Beer Café at The Rocks in Sydney for drinks and dinner.

The Belgian Beer Café is in quite an old, heritage listed building, with glass floors in the entrance so you can see rocks forming a natural little cave like thing under the floor.

The beer menu is extensive, with some very nice drops, I like the Chimay Bleue which is a dark, malty full bodied Belgian beer.  If your pockets are deep enough, there is even a $75 a bottle beer available, Deus Brut des Flanders which is brewed in Belgium, and then transfered to the famous caves of Champagne in France where it is matured and nurtured in the same manner as some of the world’s finest Champagnes.

I ordered the filet américain (steak tartare).  It’s quite nice, raw mince meat with capers and onions mixed throughout, served with crusty toast things.  I’ve had it a few times here, but unfortunately never anywhere else though so I have nothing to compare it to!  It was served with a salad, and frites (fries) with mayonnaise.

The damage: $26.50 for the meal, around $10-15 for each beer

Nick’s rating: *** (three out of five stars)

Bent

Bent at Surry Hills’ Belvoir St. Downstairs Theatre is an effective, at times emotional look at a part of the holocaust some may still not be aware of.

In 1930s Germany, Hitler and the Third Reich started a crack down on gay people, and they were arrested and sent to concentration camps or worse.

The story starts off in Berlin, watching the relationship between Max, the protagonist, and his boyfriend, Rudy (aka the dancer).  Things start to go horribly wrong when someone they’ve just met is arrested in their apartment by the Nazis.

They learn of the crackdown, and flee Berlin, for a short time living in an unemployment camp before being arrested and put on a train to Dachau.

Max is told on the train that pink triangles (the symbol used on the clothing for gay prisoners) were treated worse than anyone in the prison, even the yellow stars (Jews).

Max is forced into a barbaric and painful act to prove he doesn’t know Rudy, and is actually straight.  He earns his yellow star, and forces all thoughts of Rudy out of his head.

He then falls in love with a fellow prisoner, very slowly until he eventually performs a final act of sacrifice to be at peace with himself.

During the last 10mins, I was fighting back a few tears.  The intimacy of the Downstairs Theatre at Belvoir helps make you feel more involved in what you are witnessing.

Nick’s rating: **** (four out of five)

China Doll

Once in a while a restaurant comes around that totally blows me out of the water.  Tonight this happened.

My friend Kurt has been raving about China Doll being his favourite restaurant for years, and though I’ve taken it on board, I’ve never acted upon it.  Tonight, Mikey & I finally did.

The restaurant is in Woolloomooloo in Sydney, on the wharf in a picturesque surrounding.  There are a number of nice looking restaurants all lined up along the wharf, somewhat reminiscent of Opera Quays.

Upon being seated, the waitress asked if we’d dined here before.  She then proceeded to explain to us that they recommend sharing all the dishes to get a broad taste of what is available.  This idea worked very well.

Before I continue, I do have to apologise for the quality of these photos.  I don’t like taking cameras to restaurants, so I’ve been using my iPhone which, to put it kindly, has very poor low light abilities.

We started off with the chilli salt squid and the sashimi of Hiramasa kingfish & ocean trout with blackened chilli dressing.

Fantastic is all I can say.

Both were absolutely divine, and I doubt could be improved upon.  The chilli salt squid was cooked to perfection, Mikey did find one piece that was a little bit chewy, but when eating squid to only find one piece a little chewy is really quite amazing.

The sashimi was prepared to spectacularly.  The blackened chilli dressing was a very nice, refreshing, almost zesty flavor enhancer, and a welcome change to the standard (but still quite nice) soy & wasabi mix. Read more

Bakehouse Garden

It has been months since I’ve had Korean BBQ.  I’ve had a hankering for it for ages, and so last night we decided to do it.

Strathfield is as close to Little Korea as Sydney gets, in fact the Sydney Morning Herald called it “Sizzler Central”, referring to the innumerable number of Korean BBQ joints there.  Having only eaten à la carte at Strathfield Korean restaurants before, we figured this would be a great BBQ opportunity.

After a quick Google, we discovered Bakehouse Garden in North Strathfield.

George St in Strathfield is a very surprising find.  Full of nice looking restaurants and people dressed well, you would swear you weren’t in the western suburbs (albeit the inner west).  Nothing against Sydney’s western suburbs, of course!

The restaurant looked chic and modern (at least for a Korean restaurant), and there was a pretty even mix of Koreans and Caucasians.  This at first was a little concerning, as generally a majority Korean mix tends to be indicative of a good Korean restaurant in Sydney.

Let me tell you though, this was completely unfounded! Read more

Taiyoh

My uphill epic battle to find gastronomic solace in my new work suburb of North Ryde in Sydney took us to one of the better places today.

Kev, Craig and I paid a visit to a place we’d been meaning to for some time now, Taiyoh on Coxs Road for lunch.  It’s a tad too far to walk from the office, so Kev drove us down.

The menu was comprehensive, and had all the favourites, along with some specialities of their own.

We decided to go with edamame (salty steamed soy beans) and beef tataki (slightly seared raw slices of beef) for entrées, and a deluxe sashimi plate and spicy salmon roll for our mains, accompanied by Asahi to drink (bottled). Read more

Akaneya

Akaneya on King St in Sydney has long been one of my regular haunts.

The food is good, it’s not too expensive, and it used to be close to where I worked, which meant the occasional lunch, but more often I’d go there for a quick dinner, and quite often takeaway when working in the office late.

I have several friends who also independently love this place.  I went there last night for dinner with Jamela and Stu, two of the aforementioned friends.  This is the second or third time we’ve been there together, and it’s becoming almost a tradition!

We started off with edamame (salty whole steamed soy beans) which was still nice and warm when served, I hate it when it’s served cold.  I always find edamame so addictive, to use an old marketing cliché, once you pop, you can’t stop!

For other entrées, we also had the gyoza which is nice but pretty standard, the deep fried soft-shell crab which is always lovely, and nasu dengaku which is grilled eggplant with an interesting miso based sauce.  I’m not usually a big fan of eggplant, but this is one of the exceptions.  It’s always piping hot when you get it, too hot to eat straight away, and the sauce and the flavour is exquisite, enough to overlook the texture of eggplant that I don’t usually like!

Next, on to the mains.  I had the sushi & sashimi combo, which is quite a large wooden boat filled with different types of, you guessed it, sushi and sashimi!  It had two different cuts of kingfish sashimi, two different cuts of salmon sashimi, tuna sashimi, scallop sashimi, salmon nigiri, kingfish nigiri, prawn nigiri, beef tataki nigiri, cooked tuna sushi and salmon sushi.  What a mouthful!  It was also served with miso soup which I never drink anyway so I can’t rate it.

The sushi and the sashimi were quite pleasant, as they always are at Akaneya.  It didn’t taste as fresh and amazing as Kokoroya in Maroubra that I raved about on this blog recently, but it’s still a good, dependable tasty meal. Read more

Ribs & Rumps

Ribs & Rumps has long been a favourite with locals in Manly.  It wasn’t until my company shafted me out to North Ryde that I discovered it was actually a chain, as there is a restaurant here too.

Sadly it is pretty much the only decent restaurant nearby the office now, not quite like the city :'(

Anyway, it means we do go there a fair bit for lunches on Fridays and the sort.  I was there last Friday, and finally ordered something which I’ve been meaning to for a while…

Grover and I decided to go halves in the mixed grill.  You get an assortment of Ribs & Rumps meats, chips & an egg.  What a perfect lunch!  You get a half rack of beef ribs, a half rack of lamb ribs, a sirloin steak, two or three lamb cutlets and a great tasting beef snag.  There is too much food here for one, it even sounds like a lot for two, but it’s pretty much the perfect amount. Read more

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