Wednesday, September 26, 2012

M's birthday: Sydney (12 August 2012)

So a while ago it was M's birthday, and we decided to throw a small get-together with his friends for a casual luncheon/dinner. In terms of cooking, we were both in virgin territory and decided that his birthday luncheon was probably not the best place to start. So where to go? Papa's, Blackstar, get a bucket or two of KFC and find a suckling pig.   

Mini cupcakes :)

Chocolate and ricotta cannoli

For the creamiest and an incredibly rich ricotta cheesecake, there really is no other place other than Papa's. The chocolate and ricotta cannoli are also really good as finger-food since they were relatively small and easy to hold, while being packed generously with a deliciously rich filling. 

Pasticceria Papa
145 Ramsay St
02 9798 6894
Pasticceria Papa on Urbanspoon

LOL forgot to take a photo of the ricotta cheesecake with the lid open

Suckling pig
I don't know whether there's much to say about this. I mean it's a... whole... suckling... pig. I think I probably wanted this more than M, and just used his birthday as an excuse to get it. But it was sooo delicious! and surprisingly easy to order - I ordered it from Emperor's Garden BBQ at chinatown 2 days before the party, and was ready for pick up on the morning of the party with no problems. You can also buy some pancakes (like the ones that go with peking duck) at Emperor's Garden, which went really well with some hoisin sauce, cucumber slices and of course a fat slab of pork crackling skin. 

On a side note, we had so much pork bone leftover, so we made a soup with it that was really good. All we did was just boil water with the bones for a few hours, and then add some slices of white raddish towards the last hour. 

Emperor's Garden
215 Thomas St
Sydney NSW 2000
Emperor's Garden BBQ on Urbanspoon

Strawberry Watermelon Cake with rose-scented cream

A really fresh and light cake that is built upon layers of almond dacquoise, fresh whipped cream, watermelon slices, strawberries, and topped generously with Iranian pistachios and rose petals. 

Black Star Pastry
277 Australia St
Newtown NSW 2042
02 9522 5643
Black Star Pastry on Urbanspoon

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Pho 97: Flemington (14 September 2012)

Tucked away near the public carpark in Flemington, Pho 97 offers a selection of well-priced and relatively diverse range of Vietnamese and Chinese dishes. The service is prompt and efficient, and was half filled on a Friday night with mostly families. 

Large and generous plate of bean sprouts for the pho dish

Mixed hotpot
 A piping hot dish served in a hot iron bowl, consisting of mixed chinese vegetables stir-fried with mixed meats and seafood. They used quite a lot of ginger which was great for me, but terrible for M who isn't a fan of ginger. 

Special pho ($8.00)
A huge serving of noodle soup topped with mixed meat cuts (tripe, beef balls, beef slices, tendons). The soup was quite flavoursome and came out very hot, however the ratio between noodles and meat was quite large (with a lot more noodles in comparison to meat when compared to other pho joints). 

Grilled pork vermicelli salad ($8.50)
 My favourite dish from the night - the grilled pork here is sooo delicious! Marinated really well, so each biteful is flavoursome and bursting with sweet tender pork flavour! And at $8.50 it's a bargain considering the size of the dish and the generous portions of the delicious pork strips :) 

Bright red sign 
Pho 97
97 Henley St
Flemington NSW
02 9763 1238
Pho 97 on Urbanspoon

Eating World: Haymarket (10 September 2012)

Eating World is one of our most-frequented foodcourts in the city - mostly because M keeps getting cravings for the thick pork-bone soup at Gumshara ramen. However this time we decided to visit two other outlets in the foodcourt (on top of Gumshara of course!), and here's a brief encounter of the visit...

Tofu and mixed vegetables at Hong Kong King's Chef 
 Delicious mixed plate of stir-fried vegetables with deep-fried tofu pieces, served with a huge side of rice and a bowl of soup (like the complimentary ones you get at Chinese restaurants). At $7-8, it's definitely an affordable way of getting some freshly stir-fried vegies into our systems :)

Whole steamed fish from Soy King
Where else in Sydney can you get a well-cooked huge steamed fish for less than $10? Coming in at only $9.80, the fish is definitely a good-value meal. Having said that, it was probably a mistake ordering the steamed version as it did have a strong and muddy flavour, and would have been better in a deep-fried version. 

Eating World
25-29 Dixon St
Haymarket NSW 2000
02 9280 0409

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Montagu: Crows Nest (12 September 2012)

Montagu is a cool and laid-back cafe located in the no-car zone of Ernest St in Crows Nest, serving good coffee and decent breakfast dishes. However while the food is decent, it isn't the factor that will bring us back. Instead it's the friendly and laid-back service from the staff here who seems to happily refill our water glasses despite us having had finished our breakfast meals for over an hour. That being said, the coffee and hot chocolate is well made - both thick, creamy and aromatic. 

Hot Chocolate


Breakfast stack
The breakfast stack is a delicious concoction of a fried sunny-side up egg topping a potato hash, rocket leaves, halved grape tomatoes, grilled chorizo slices, and all piled on top of a freshly toasted piece of sourdough bread (they use Brasserie bread). 

Poached eggs on toast
It's a simple dish, and one that most people can do at home, but why bother when they do it perfectly well here at a reasonable price. The eggs are poached perfectly - still runny and oozing when poked open :) and you get to choose what type of freshly delivered Brasserie bread they have on selection (I chose Rye). 

Shop 2, 13 Ernest St
Crows Nest NSW 
02 9438 4478
Montagu on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mr Wong: Sydney (14 September 2012)

As soon as I heard Merivale was opening up a new venture in the old Tank nightclub venue, I was excited and pumped to try it. However what I soon found out from my two visits, was that it far exceeded my expectations in terms of the boundaries it pushed for some of the traditional yumcha dishes (albeit with a much higher price tag). The following are some photos from our first visit:

Main dining area

Silken tofu, smoked eel, century egg and chilli dressing ($12)
Delicious blend of flavours, with the relatively mild tasting silken tofu being complemented by the salty smoked eel, the gelatinous creamy century egg quarters and the mild chilli dressing. 

Pork and Prawn Shumai ($12) 
Prawn har gau ($9)
 Both the prawn har gau and the pork and prawn shumai used fresh ingredients, and were juicy and succulent. However both seemed similar to the har gaus or shumais you could get at a good yumcha joint like Fook Yuen or Marigold. 

Twice cooked green beans, pork mince and XO sauce $16
 Really tasty and well made green beans dish - each circumference of the pork mince seemed to have been well-marinated in the XO sauce and complemented the beans perfectly. 

Jasmine Green tea ($2/person) 
Pan fried turnip cake $9.80
 Surprisingly this was my favourite dish from the day! Normally I'm not a huge fan of the pan-fried turnip cake at yumcha, but the one at Mr Wong is amazing! The typical soft, gelatinous radish cake is topped with a thin layer of seaweed and bonito flakes that really brings this dish to another level. Could probably come back to Mr Wong just for this. 

Roast white chocolate ice cream, yuzu curd, longans and raspberries ($14)
 To finish the meal off we shared this dessert, which is a lovely play of opposing textures and flavours. The creaminess of the roast white chocolate ice cream goes well with the slight tanginess of the raspberries and yuzu curd, and the sweetness of the longans.

Bar area
Kitchen area
 After lunch, the lovely manager took us around for a tour of the restaurant to show us the different styles of rooms that the restaurant has downstairs.  


Large tables for banquets 

Lobsters :)

Downstairs bar area


Since we had come during the opening week and had booked in for a relatively late lunch, many of the dishes we wanted to try were not available so we came back again last week with some friends! Although it was the pear taro croquette that I wanted to try, it wasn't available again so I guess I would have to return again :D 

Lobster Mei Si Roll ($11)
 Whoa seriously mind-blowingly good! I could probably sit down and eat this plate by myself - the inside is filled with succulent pieces of garlic-buttery braised pieces of lobster, before being wrapped in some pastry and being fried to an utter golden perfection. Try it if you haven't already!

Scallop and prawn shumai $9.80
 A slight twist on your typical shumai at chinese yumcha joints, with the addition of a whole succulent piece of scallop on top of each one before being topped with fish roe. Delicious, but nothing like the lobster mei si roll that came beforehand. 

BBQ pork buns $9.80
Relatively tiny BBQ pork buns - although it was well seasoned and flavoured, there wasn't anything that set it apart from the BBQ buns at Fook Yuen or really most of the yumcha joints in Chinatown

Steam rice roll with barbecue pork $10.80
Again the BBQ pork chueng fun was well made but nothing spectacular that we had come to expect with some of the dishes at Mr Wong. 

Foie gras prawn toast $12
To finish the meal off we had the foie gras prawn toast which was amazing. The flavours of the foie gras on the prawn toast was intense and addictive, and each bite had a perfect crunch without being overly greasy. 

Overall our two lunchtime visits to Mr Wong has been scattered with well-made dishes and some amazing dishes. Will definitely have to come back again to try and get hold of the pear taro croquettes, as well as perhaps trying some more of the pan-fried and baked dishes or even the dinner menu. 

Mr Wong
3 Bridge Lane
Sydney NSW 2000
02 9240 3000
Mr Wong on Urbanspoon