Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Spice Me Up: St Leonards (19 June 2012)

I was meeting up with a friend who worked at the RNS at St Leonards, so we decided to have a quick look around the area to find something local. We spotted a stream of customers going into Spice Me Up located on the busy Pacific Highway, so we thought it can't be bad if it has a steady stream of local customers. Today we opted for the good-value speedy lunch menu.

Speedy Lunch Menu

Beef Noodle Soup ($9.90)

I opted for the beef noodle soup as I've never tried a thai-style beef noodle soup. It consisted of beef stewed in a "Thai-style" beef broth and served with generous portions of rice noodles and vegetables (bean sprouts). It was very warming and quite tasty - similar to the vietnamese stewed beef noodle soup, but has a more herbal taste to it.
Chicken stir-fried in oyster sauce
My friend opted for the chicken stir-fry with oyster sauce, and it came out in a decent serving size filled with freshly stir-fried chicken slices and vegetables. 

Although there may be better thai restaurants around the city, Spice me up! served a well-priced lunch in a modern and clean interior with tasty and fresh ingredients. Definitely one to keep in mind when around St Leonards. 

Spice Me Up!
18 Pacific Highway 
St Leonards NSW
02 9439 9898
Spice me up on Urbanspoon

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Bistro 80 (visit 3: breakfast): Pyrmont (18 June 2012)

We decided to visit Bistro 80 again for breakfast, as they gave a nice variety of choices (catering for the asian and western tastes). After our last visit to Bistro 80 we were expecting the same decent quality of food and service, and we weren't disappointed. Today we ordered the seafood congee, eggs benedict and truffled mushrooms. Would definitely recommend trying the truffled mushrooms - each mushroom was marinated with this addictive truffle oil taste.

Seafood Congee, chinese donuts, century old egg, BBQ pork bun 
Salmon Eggs Benedict 
Wild Mushrooms on on toasted sourdough and topped with a fried egg and truffle butter
 Bistro 80
Star city 80 Pyrmont St
Pyrmont NSW 2009

Bistro 80 on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Marigold: Chinatown (18 June 2012)

One of the top yum cha joints in Sydney, spread over two levels, offering an abundant flow of trolleys filled with steaming hot dim sims. As a bonus, there is also discounted parking ($4 for one hour on a weekday for yum cha patrons) which is great since it's near impossible to find a decent parking spot around chinatown during the weekdays. Since I went to yum cha today with my grandmother, we stuck to mostly vegetables and prawn dishes, as they are her favourites :)

Steamed prawns in rice paper
Peanut and minced meat dimsum 
 We were both intrigued when the trolley lady said they had a peanut dimsum dish, so we promptly grabbed it and discovered that each dimsim was truly filled with whole marinated peanut pieces. Although it was very flavoursome from the marinating sauce and meat mince, I didn't quite like the texture of the hard whole peanuts in the dimsim.

Insides of the peanut and minced meat dimsim
Their special for the day: prawn and shitake mushroom wontons
 Really enjoyed this dish - each wonton was generously packed full bursting with prawns and shitake mushroom pieces. The sweet soy sauce that was enhanced with some cut chillis, gave each wonton an extra kick. Although my grandma typically doesn't like any dishes with chillis, she really liked this one and managed to polish of 5 wontons.
Greens with oyster sauce
 Just to balance the meal out, we ordered a plate of greens :)

Yumcha at Marigold is always very pleasant, with prompt and efficient service. All the dishes used fresh ingredients and came out piping hot. Also the bill for the two of us (including tea) came to less than $40 :) 

Marigold Citymark
689 George St 
Sydney NSW 2000
02 9217 6090
Open 7 days for yumcha and dinner
Marigold Citymark on Urbanspoon

Din Tai Fung: Pyrmont (17 June 2012)

Even though the food/retail walkway at the Star has been opened for awhile, we still haven't really eaten there (except to quickly run in and grab some dessert from Zumbo) so we decided to catch up with some family over some piping hot menu items from Din Tai Fung.
Green beans with minced pork and fried rice with eggs ($14.50)
Shrimp and pork wonton noodle soup ($11)
Steamed Shrimp and Pork Shao Mai ($9.80)
Sticky, soy and pork-flavoured rice steamed in the light pastry wrapping, topped with a juicy piece of shrimp on the top of each Shao Mai. Although they look quite small, the sticky rice makes it quite a satisfying dish that fills you up.  
Steamed Pork Dumpling Xiao Long Bao ($5.80)
 Steamed pork mince with a pocket of hot bursting soup, encased in a paper thin pastry wrapping. Be careful when eating it because the soup is still very hot which is what makes it nice - just take a small bite from it, and drink the soup before devouring the remaining parts of the Xiao Long Bao :)
Shrimp and Pork Wonton tossed with spicy sauce ($6.50)
Hot and Sour Soup ($3.50 
Fried Rice with Egg topped with Crumbed Chicken Fillet ($12.80)
Although I typically associate Din Tai Fung with their steamed Xiao Long Bao, this dish was the highlight of the meal tonight. The fried rice with egg has the perfect ratio between rice and egg and salt, while the crumbed chicken fillet is juicy, succulent and crunchy on the outside without the oily deep-fried feeling. 

Din Tai Fung
Cafe Court 80 Pyrmont St
Pyrmont, NSW 2009
Open 7 days for lunch and dinner

Din Tai Fung on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

La Kasbah Moroccan Restaurant: Drummoyne (16 June 2012)

Located along the busy Victoria Rd in Drummoyne, La Kasbah is a family owned restaurant that transforms you to another place upon entering the homely decorated restaurant. The wife served us today, who was incredibly busy running around the place while tending to her two children and so it wasn't surprising that service was slow.

Mixed Entree
Lemon Chicken Tajine
Marinated chicken cooked with preserved lemon, olives, spices and vegetables - although the chicken was cooked very well and was so tender that it would fall apart as you picked it up, the rest of the dish seemed quite bland.  
Cous cous Royal
Apparently one of their national dish, consisting of chicken, lamb, merguez and vegetables, cooked in a flavoured sauce and served over a bed of steamed cous cous. 
Sweet pastry roll with a cheese centre, with crushed nuts sprinkled on top and served with honey and cream - although it had a nice honey flavour, the pastry was not crunchy as one would expect, and seemed overly drenched with the honey.  
 The tea was probably one of my favourite parts of the meal - it was enhanced with a slight honey taste and was served in a beautifully ornamented tea pot. 

Overall found the dishes to be quite bland tasting, although it was nice to go to a restaurant that seemed different from the typical restaurants we visit.

La Kasbah
190 Victoria Rd
02 9719 9261

La Kasbah on Urbanspoon

Noggi: Strathfield (15 June 2012)

After having pho at Khai's we decided to go get some fro-yo at Strathfield. It was a choice between Moochi and Noggi, but since we hadn't tried Noggi at Strathfield we decided to go there. The Noggi store at Strathfield is a lot busier then the Macquarie Shopping Centre outlet, with newer furnishing and a few more extras on the menu. I noticed they had a biscotti flavour at Strathfield that wasn't available at Macquarie, so we decided to get half original and half biscotti. The biscotti flavour is smooth and sweet, and went well with the juicy lychee pieces and chewy mochi pieces.

Noggi Strathfield
2/2 Albert Rd
Strathfield NSW 2135
02 9737 8242

Khai's: Flemington (15 June 2012)

Tucked away in an alleyway opposite Flemington station, Khai's was always a go-to pho place for my family when we lived in Strathfield. Since moving further away, I haven't visited it for a while so I was excited when M decided to go to Flemington for pho. Dragging him away from his usual pho joint, we went to Khai's to relive my childhood memories. Although I can't remember the prices for the pho from my last visit, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was still at a very low price of $7.50. We went in at around 8pm, and the place was filled with hungry customers so we waited for around 5 minutes before a table was vacated. We quickly placed our orders for the special pho and the rare beef pho, which was both delivered to the table at a record pace. The rare beef slices were sliced super thinly, and the broth was slightly sweet whilst being packed full of flavour. I was too occupied with my dish that I didn't get a chance to try M's, but he says that the special pho tasted almost the same as his favourite pho place (Naughty chef at Wynyard). The portions was huge, and although the service and ambience aren't the best, no one really cares when the pho tastes so good at such a low price. 

Special Pho
Rare beef pho 
Khai's Restaurant
95 The Crescent
Flemington NSW
02 9746 8999
Khai's Restaurant on Urbanspoon