Posts Tagged ‘three star restaurant review’

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

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)

Café Enzo

If there is one place in NSW that is synonymous with good food and wine, it has to be the Hunter Valley, about two and a half hours north west of Sydney.

Mikey is from a town called Singleton in the Hunter Valley region, which means we travel there a bit to visit his family.

Pokolbin is the epicentre of the Hunter’s vineyard country, and from time to time we stop there to taste some different wines, and purchase the ones we like.

This weekend we visited Café Enzo in Pepper’s Creek Village.  The cellar door for David Hook is attached.

Café Enzo is inside a lovely old sandstone building, complete with open fireplace.

I had the pan fried salmon with goat’s cheese dumpling, cooked rare.  This was one of the nicest pieces of cooked salmon I’ve had in quite some time.  The skin was deliciously crispy, and the meat cooked to perfection.

The dumplings were spectacular!  Filled with goat’s cheese and spinach, they melted in my mouth. Read more

Mitzu

You may have guessed, I have an almost unhealthy obsession with sashimi, and to a lesser extent sushi.

Since my office moved to North Ryde, I’ve been meaning to try Mitzu, the sushi train joint at Macquarie Centre.  At first look, the idea of a sushi train inside a shopping centre doesn’t exactly instil a lot of confidence.

I went there on my own yesterday, and I have to say it was one of the better sushi train experiences I’ve had.  I eat at sushi train places every now and then, but more out of convenience than seeking brilliant, fresh food.  I’ve never eaten at a sushi train that can compete with a proper Japanese restaurant that specialises in sashimi & sushi such as Toko in Surry Hills or Kokoroya in Maroubra.

As far as sushi trains go however, Tomodachi at Broadway & Rhodes are quite good, as are Sushi Rio on Sussex Street and Makoto in Chatswood.  Mitzu was probably at this same level.  The produce was nice and there was a nice range to select from.

The salmon and kingfish sashimi was cut well, and was good quality fish.  It did taste warm and not too fresh, no doubt a result of the standard sushi train problem of the food going around in circles for quite some time before it’s eaten.

Next, I decided to try the salmon aburi (grilled salmon on a bed of rice, basically salmon nigiri but slightly seared).  This was quite nice.  The fish wasn’t flaky and falling apart like it often can be when salmon is cooked.  This was a nice recovery from the not so great sashimi! 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

Chequers

We went to Chequers at the Mandarin Centre in Chatswood, on Sydney’s North Shore recently with Mikey’s mum, sister, brother-in-law and two nieces for yum cha on a Sunday afternoon.

We only had to line up for about 5mins which apparently is quite good for Chequers.  I don’t understand why.

The food was standard yum cha fare.  It wasn’t bad, in fact it was nice, but it wasn’t anything amazing.  There are dozens, if not hundreds of yum cha restaurants in Sydney, and this would be ranked amongst the nice ones, but doesn’t stand out from the crowd.

There were six of us (one of Mikey’s nieces is two months old so obviously wasn’t eating with us!), so we had a wide range of the available food.  The gow gee were nice, as where the combination seafood dumplings and prawn rice noodle rolls.  The vegetables were so-so.

If you’re in the area and feel like yum cha, this isn’t a bad choice, but it might not be the best.  Some friends have told me Fook Yuen is the best in Chatswood, so I’ll be checking that out soon!

If you want great yum cha anywhere in Sydney, check out Zilver in Haymarket or Phoenix in either Manly or Rhodes (Rhodes is bigger, Manly has a nicer view).  I’ve also been keen to check Fu Manchu in Darlinghurst for some time, as I’ve heard good things about this.

The damage: I have no idea, Mikey’s mum snatched the bill away and paid it for us!

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

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