Izakaya is aplenty in Sydney, many tiny tiny places dotted around the city with some very quality outputs from places like Chaco Bar (yum!) but the scene now has a new contender, Goryon San, serving Hakata style kushuyaki.
Hidden a few blocks away from the main streets of Surry Hills, Goryon San meaning the lady who leads the house has you covered with a sumptuous menu and spacious venue decked out with a lot of exposed elements with clean finishes, thus not really your typical cramped bar seating izakaya where your elbow is almost in the neighbour’s soju highball despite its roots! (They have branches dotted all over Tokyo apparently)
The venue is quite different to the North Sydney Institution Rengaya despite being run by the same group. Duck in via the noren curtains and you’ll find the bustling dining area, chefs and waitstaff loudly greeting you in unison. We were a group of 5 so it probably wasn’t suitable for us to be seated in the action seats but I would have loved to be amongst all the action!
The menu here is plentiful, from yakitori to nabe and sake to whisky, they have you covered.
To start, we opted for the yuzu calpico chu-hi – yuzu-shu, calpico, club soda (not pictured!)
We also decided on some small plates to share whilst we waited for the yakitori to be cooked.
We started with the salmon carpaccio, the wagyu tama-toro croquette and the seafood bowl.
The carpaccio is fresh, delicious and a generous serve but the croquette unfortunately didn’t quite float our boats. The mix of flavours and textures weren’t bad but it lacked the oomph and was quite heavy and dense.
Wagyu tama-toro croquette
The seafood bowl was quite generous given the price ($13), topped with a selection of fresh sashimi, ranging from salmon to scallop and avocado.
This was one of the better seafood bowls I've had in the recent times.
One of Goryon San’s signature is the pork belly wrapped lettuce roll but we skip that as we decided grilling lettuces is a bit odd. From there we hit all the vegetable skewers, ranging from the deep fried sweet corn with sweet soy and butter as well as the shiitake mushrooms and the brown mushrooms.
Deep fried corn on cob
The corn is juicy and sweet but the deep frying was a bit unnecessary in my opinion. I rather grilled corn to cut down on the oiliness. The mushrooms on the other hand were very enjoyable, especially the fresh shiitake!
Grilled button and fresh shiitake mushrooms
The skewers arrive in dribs and drabs, with the bacon wrapped scallop arriving a skewer at a time despite us ordering 2….
The next lot is the vegetable and pork belly combos.
First up is the cherry tomato and pork belly with a honey mustard sauce.
Not usually a fan of cooked tomatoes, this was actually not too bad, do beware of the tongue burning interiors though!
Next is the asparagus, nothing wow here with the asparagus, I would have liked a bit more char on my veges though…..
and last but not least, enoki and soy butter. One of my favourite combos is the enoki with pork belly. Its no fuss and done relatively well here, it helped because the pork belly was fatty.
Asparagus, cherry tomato and enoki with pork belly
Extremely tender wagyu
We also skip the cheese section and go straight to the meat
We opted for the wagyu extremely tender loin and at $10 a skewer its not cheap, but was it worth it?
It was a no for me, yes it was tender but nothing spectacular.
The meatball was bouncy but lacked some flavour and seasoning, nothing a yolk couldn’t save.
Chicken thigh (yotsumi)
We also opted for the yotsumi (thigh) with onion and again nothing surprising but could have done with more char….
Bacon wrapped scallop w/ anchovy butter
Last but not least, the bacon wrapped scallop with anchovy butter.
In theory the flavours should be umami strong but again it lacked any but salt in flavour (Where you anchovies at?!?)
Overall, I personally found that the skewers lacked the charred and smokiness and it was only after the meal I read that they were using electric and not charcoal/binchotan! (no wonder the place wasn’t smoky and I didn’t smell like I’d gone camping by the bon fire!)
Hakata taki ramen nabe
We opted for the 2 person serve of Hakata taki ramen nabe to supplement the small dishes and yakitori we had just devoured. Perhaps I had just returned from the land of heavenly ramen but the ramen just didnt hit the stop for me. The tonkotsu lacked the promised thickness and richiness and the noodles were way too soft for my liking.
Ice cream baguette
After much discussion, we decided to stay for dessert and opted for the ice cream baguette and the matcha tiramisu.
The dessert arrive as described, a soft crusty baguette filled with ice cream and drizzled with honey. A bit odd and not really my type of dessert but nevertheless enjoyable.
The matcha tiramisu was adorned in edible flowers (Don’t get me started on this!) and was rather small, literally 3-4 spoonfuls…..
Overall Goryon San served some rather average yakitori and whilst cheery and bustling, it lacked the exuberant vibe of a local izakaya joint hidden in the back alleys of Tokyo. Maybe I’ve been spoilt by my multiple trips to the land of amazing ramen and yakitori, but I won’t be rushing back here, especially at that price point.
Located within the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre and along the tranquil Georges River, Bellbird dining is the latest dining venue in South West Sydney.
It has opted for the “eat local and seasonal” approach with an ever-changing menu featuring greens from their own garden or locally sourced poultry.
The menu reflects the chefs’ background, with the dishes showing influences ranging from French, to Asian through to South American.
Upon arrival, Steven the sous chef comes out to introduce himself and Bellbird dining. The venue is bright an airy, a perfect place for brunch (Instagram friendly!) or for a small event. And for the more cultured, there is plenty of artsy things around to keep you busy.
We start with coffee. Because coffee.
I had my usual of strong soy latte ¾ milk, the coffee itself was strong and robust but unfortunately it was split.
The others had soy hot chocolate and cappuccino and both enjoyed very much.
As mentioned, the menu changes seasonally and regularly and is broken down into sections named carnivore and vegetarian as well as the usual sides and desserts.
After coffees, warm crusty rolls and butter arrive as we decide on what we wanted for brunch/lunch that day. After not having bread for almost a week, these were very welcomed…..
First up, the shared entrees and sides.
We opted for the cured swordfish, smoked salmon rillettes as well as the okonomiyaki fries.
First up was the smoked salmon rillettes, this was quite enjoyable but could do with a bit more seasoning. The soft egg was perfect for dipping the toast in, that being said, more toast please!
I love raw fish so the cured swordfish was my pick, whilst the flavour was there, it needed more dressing to give the fish a nice texture. The crispy shallots on top provided a nice crunch though.
I save our favourite entrée for last, the okonomiyaki loaded fries. Golden shoestring fries is topped generously with kewpie mayo, shallots and bonito flakes. A very tasty side indeed, so much that we fought over who got the last fry….
We opted for a more substantial dish of pork belly because you can’t really go wrong with pork belly… right.
Well sort of. The pork belly was cooked to meltingly tender with great flavours but the crackling (or lack thereof) was rather sticky on our teeth and roof of mouth. If there was good crackling as well, this dish would have been a winner.
We had also ordered a pasta dish, but I think that was left off by accident.
After savoury dishes, it was time for some dessert.
There is an extensive dessert menu here but we opted for some jazzed up classics. Some of which worked, and some that sadly didn’t.
My pick was definitely the crème brulee despite a brownie being on the menu.
The perfect toffee crack, velvety smooth custard, umm give me 5 more please?
The mandarin and almond cake was next, I’m not usually a fan of anything too dense so I was a bit sceptical, but this one turned out to be the next table favourite as it wasn’t too dense and the tangy flavours cut through our heavy meal.
Lastly, the brownie.
In theory this is my dream dessert, sans the cream.
I love my brownies. Fudgy interiors with a crisp top, a caramel, peanut powder, all the things I love.
Unfortunately this got overshadowed by the 2 other desserts and also being overly sweet.
Whilst Casula is quite the trek for me, Bellbird Dining is definitely a nice venue for various dining occasions and events. A local friend said it was quite nice to finally have a brunch option out in the South West.
I would definitely consider returning if I was in the area.
And that’s a wrap for now!
Stay hungry and until next time,
Milktea and guest dined as guests of Bellbird Dining. Opinions however remain her own.
Yes another late post of mine. But it’s never too late to post about Bella Brutta because I’ve been back for subsequent visits and I will definitely be going back regularly! Such a shame that they aren’t opened for lunch during the week, because I’ll definitely be there!
Bella Brutta, beautiful ugly in Italian is as apt of a description as you can get. Think beautiful crisp edged yet ugly but delicious puffy and blistered pizzas. Unsure, best to go check it out in person I say!
Bella Brutta isn’t just another pizzeria in Newtown, despite it taking over an old pizzeria site, it is actually the latest joint venture of Luke Powell of LP’s Quality Meats and Joseph Valore and Elvis Abrahanowicz of Porteño.
Add in a pizza oven fresh from Italy and quality produce, Boom, you have Bella Brutta.
The style of pizza served here isn't your run of the mill pizza, instead think thin bases with a nice chew from the long fermentation and crisp and blistered charred edges (we can’t be friends if you don’t like pizza crusts!) The toppings follow the same path too, don’t expect your kid-friendly pineapple and ham but expect LP’s quality meats (heh) ranging from their mortadella to their pepperoni (hell yes!)
But fear not if pizza isn’t your thing (again, why would you come to Bella Brutta though? And why are we friends still…?) Bella Brutta also has a selection of small dishes, rotating specials for the starving and of course dessert. They also have a refreshing drink menu that could see you having an extended good time at their sleek retro-esque bar (From which you can catch all the pizza making action!)
On my first visit, I start the meal with the green tomatoes with stracciatella. Refreshing and slightly tart tomatoes sliced so thinly, it paired perfectly with creamy strands of curdly stracciatella. It was definitely a good start to the evening!
Green tomatoes and stracciatella
We move onto the main star, the pizzas, ordering the pepperoni and the cavolo nero
The pizzas arrive in quick succession and crush my initial thoughts: greens on my pizza? Why?) But how wrong was I!?!
Slight peppery leaves of fresh cavolo nero are almost charred and topped with garlic and fermented chilli. Never did I think I could enjoy greens on a pizza this much!
Now onto the pepperoni pizza everyone had been raving about. The charry base is topped with sweet and chunky pomodoro sauce, generous melty pockets of fior de latte (Ms I asked, why is there coffee on my pizza?) and parmesan, unusually large slices of LP’s pepperoni and finished off with a generous scatter of fennel seeds for both texture and nuttiness.
As good and garlicky the cavolo nero was, this pepperoni knocked it off the horse, being the clear winner of the evening.
You know what happens after pizzas?
Bombolone - with apple jam and marscapone
And because I don’t always make wise friendship choices ;) ,…. I unwillingly agreed to share a single bombolone. Yes, we shared a dessert.
The bombolone was perfectly fluffy and filled generously with a mascarpone and apple gel filling, the sweetest adjusted perfectly. Even if you don’t normally like donuts, I’m sure this version at Bella Brutta will change your mind!
Smoked lemonade and limoncello and tonic
On my next visit, I made sure I got to sample more of the menu, including the drinks.
First up is the smoked lemonade
I was intrigued by this the moment I saw it, how do you smoke lemonade you ask?
Well, after my first sip, I didn’t really care, the smokiness and the acidity of lemons weirdly go very well together. A refreshing choice if alcohol is not your pick.
If alcohol is permitted, then go for the limoncello and tonic!
Yes! The limoncello and tonic
Umm hello? Where has this been all my life?
Refreshing and went down real easy (maybe too easy, please don’t leave me unsupervised), it was a perfect complement to a carby pizza.
We started our evening with their cold pickled eggplant, which arrives as horizontal logs topped with fresh herbs and generously in olive oil.
The eggplant is tender and flavoursome but I felt something was missing for it to hit the spot. At least we managed to get our veg in though!
And it is pizza time again!
This time we go for the surf clams and the marinara.
I had been yammering on about the surf clams for days before I was due back at Bella Brutta as it was making rounds on Instagram and FOMO was so strong. Apparently influenced by pizzas from New Haven, the clam, paired generously with chilli, garlic and pecorino was essentially clam garlic bread on crack.
Oh yes, it was that good, easily my favourite pizza from Bella Brutta!
We also ordered the marinara with cheese but sans anchovies as Ms I doesn’t like any fish, bummer I know, I was looking forward to splurging on some anchovies to see how they would pair with the marinara. Repeat visit is therefore needed!
marinara + cheese
I don’t normally order marinara as I prefer meatier toppings like pepperoni, but the sweet yet acidic tomato salsa actually worked really well. Simple and it definitely hit the spot.
And of course dessert was also ordered, two in fact, to make up for the lack thereof last time round.
First up is the cannoli. A crisp bubbly shell is piped full of creamy ricotta and topped with pistachio for good measure. It is delicately sweet and just enough to finish off the meal.
fig leaf ice cream and granita
We also tried the almond granita with the fig leaf ice cream.
Normally I find granita a bit boring but here paired with a slightly creamy and almondy (yes that’s a word now) sweetness, it suddenly wasn’t so.
It was a great way to cut through all the heavy flavours that was just consumed.
Bella Brutta isn't cheap, but for some damn delicious or if you prefer, beautiful and ugly pizza, they have your back.
And will I be back? Oh yes I will!
Unfortunately they have since amended their trading hours and are no longer opened for lunch during the week (when I’m of close proximity) but that is probably good news for my waist and wallet.
But hey, if you’re ever looking for a pizza partner? Let me know!
L to R: butter chicken. goat curry and eggplant bharta
Smoked eggplant mashed with onion, tomatoes, chillies and masala MASALA THEORY BUTTER CHICKEN $25 Does it really need an explanation ? SALLI BOTI $27 Chef’s special goat curry, black cardamom, cinnamon, onion-tomato gravy, match-stick potatoe
Plain naan and raita
pistachio, pomegrante and rose
betel leaf flavoured kulfi traditional Indian ice cream
Stay hungry and till next time,
Milktea and guest dined as guests of Masala Theory. Opinions however remain her own.
Have you missed me? Thought the blog was certified dead?
I unfortunately don’t have any good excuses asides being very busy (AKA travelling, eating heaps of yummy foods, working, working out :P)
So I actually started writing this post before I went on holidays late last year (:O yeah I know….) but still, some good food was had and I still have to share it!
Never too late to the game!
With the older shops slowly disappearing over time (hello corner shops for snacks!) it has been quite the challenge to find a good old fish and chip shop. So when the news that FICH, would be opening in Petersham, I knew I had to go check it out.
Fish (or FICH :P) Mural
I thought this was a cool mural but a young child came in shortly after us and yelped at the sight of it….
Ceviche is one of my favourites because you really can’t go wrong with fresh fish, dressed up with tangy deliciousness. Here at FICH, slices of kingfish cured is cured in a moreish coconut vinegar and topped generously with slices of cucumber and pomelo. Tick for flavour, texture and aesthetics!
I really enjoyed the one at FICH as was refreshing and had a nice balance of flavours. Bonus points for the coriander!
I had seen these all over Instagram prior to my visit and had previously had really good ones at Toshiyaand Yachiyoalbeit a bit different in style (sashimi vs fried fish), but expectations on these were still high. I do have to add though that fried fish isn’t my first choice normally, I prefer grilled or raw. Despite that, The FICH taco was still enjoyable and didn’t have any fishiness or lingering greasiness. Bonus points for including crispy fish skin to the top! Yum!
Prawn toast brings me back many childhood memories. Not so much from eating prawn toast but from helping out at a relative’s Chinese takeaway, slathering the prawn mince mixture onto pieces of white bread before storing them into the freezer.
The FICH prawn toast is fried to a darker shade of brown, which may have raised alarm bells, but upon our first bite. The darker shade gave it some extra crispiness. I also loved how they used both black and white sesame seeds, giving it a nice nuttiness aftertaste.
Not the usual thing I’d order but my dinner buddy had never had a potato scallop before so I had to change that! (she thought it was an actual scallop!)
The potato scallop here was definitely a great place to start as these were probably the best I’ve had, thick and chunky rounds of fluffy potato encased with a perfectly crunchy batter. Yum!
Shrimp salad. Where do I begin?
It’s more of a love hate relationship because I’m not a fan of mayo or dried fruits and this has both…
I do however like shrimp….
The shrimp salad overall was on the sweet side but the crunchy lettuce and the salty capers helped balance that out. Would I order it again? Probably not.
For our more substantial choice, we opted for the fish of the day, grilled.
The salmon came fully cooked through (we prefer it slightly pink and probably should have specified) but it was still delicious nevertheless. The skin was crispy and flesh was still moist, but overall it was still on the greasy side.
FICH ice cream sandwich
To finish off we decided to try the ice cream sandwich.
This is not your average ice cream sandwich, the “sandwich” are disks of sweet, golden flaky pastry disks. Paired with the salted caramel ice cream and sauce? Oh hell yes! The caramel was pushed further than you normally would so it had a nice caramelly bitterness to it.
This turned out to be the highlight of the meal for both of us.
Overall, it is good to see fish and chip shops making a c comeback.
And when macros allow, I will be back for some good ol fish and chips as a validation measure.
Stay hungry and till next post
(I’ll try post more often than once every 3 months :P)
For all the Ester fans out there, the opening of Poly, has been a long wait. Originally slated to open in 2017, Poly has been more than 2 years in the making. Poly is the second venture of Matt Lindsay, so if there’s someone who who knows how to run a successful restaurant, he is the guy.
Housed inside the Paramount House complex, Poly differentiates itself from its older sister by describing itself as a wine bar. You can’t miss Poly when you walk up the slight hill to the Paramount House complex, the quaint maroon red door, stamped with its name makes it pretty hard to miss.
Like Ester though, the minimalistic and unpretentious vibe of Ester is still very present.
Think open planned, industrial-esque bare concrete, bricks and pipes as well as exposed insulation (I’m not too sold on that bit) paired with gorgeous wooden tables and chairs, creating a warm and light-filled space.
On our visit there, we were greeted on arrival with the bad news that their coal-powered grill was out of action due to an exhaust issue. But rest assured, if luck was on our side the grill would be up and running shortly.
When Poly first opened, it was walk-in only, however they now take limited reservations via Open Table. In my reservation I had asked for a quiet table, unfortunately our initial table was right under the speakers against the entrance wall so instead of yelling across the table at each other, we decided to make a move across to the bar where we could instead watch all the drinks action.
Ah the bar.... drinks!
You can’t be a wine bar without an extensive selection right? drinks are left in hands of resident drink-boss and co-owner Julien Dromgool. The wine list is multiple pages long with a good selection by the glass. There are also a few delicious cocktails on offer and they are also open to creating something to suit your tastebuds.
Those familiar with Ester would know how good their moreish chickpeas are, here at Poly, the moreish chickpeas are replaced with a buckwheat popcorn. We snack on the tiny nubbles of salty goodness whilst deciding on drinks.
Merilin's South Side
We start our evening with a cocktail each. Both of us like gin-based cocktails so we opted for a twist on the South Side and one of their signatures, the Griffith Tease, an amaro and bourbon based cocktail with rhubarb, citrus and strawberry gum. The Griffith Tease is almost candy like in flavour, a bit sweeter than we normally prefer but still very enjoyable. Its always nice to try something new and I would definitely order this again.
Yes, they constantly reiterate that they are a wine bar, but Poly also has an extensive food menu, The menu is more heavy on the snack options but if you want a full meal here, it is still easily doable.
Unlike Ester though, Poly is more relaxed, you can drop by for a drink (or 3 in our case!), a snack or let the evening play out and stay for the main sized dishes and desserts as well.
Like Ester, the menu is ever-changing so don't expect the same things to be available on your next visit! Keep an eye out on their Instagram page to see what could possibly be on the menu when you visit.
A cocktail each later, our stomachs started to grumble so we opted for some snacks from the reduced menu. The small dishes we ended up choosing were the kingfish and the comte donut.
Raw kingfish, vinegar, nori
Kingfish, as you would know is quite deliciate in flavour, meaning it is the perfect vehicle for any flavours. Here at Poly it is paired with a simple vinegar and nori. The simplicity allows the natural lflavour of the fish to shine through whilst the vinegar and nori are more like supporting acts.
The other snack, the comte donut had been on my radar for almost a week before I got my hands on it. You can't really go wrong with a cheese donut right?
No you really cant!
Crispy on the outside, pillowy soft on the inside, cheesy and all the good savoury mmmm thinking about it is making me salivate!
is it too much to claim that this is the best savoury donut ever?
A couple of drinks to warm up the stomach later, the food gods must have heard us because we turned around to find the grill was glowwing bright, mean the grill was back in action!
No evacuations were needed and the full menu for the evening was back! Winning!
With another round of drinks pending (we opted for a round of the Manon pinot gris E.P Gris 17’ Adelaide Hills South Australia, great choice Merilin!) we order more snacks and a more substantial option.
Blood cake, cider onions, smoked quail egg
One of Ester's famous dishes is the blood sausage sanga, so it is no surprise that Poly has its own play on this dish.
Enter the blood cake, topped with the most photogenic quail egg.
The bloodcake was wonderfully soft and paired with the oozy smoked quail egg, it was definitely food heaven!
Grilled nduja sourdough
The one dish I really wanted to try the grilled nduja sourdough, because sometimes it really is the simple dishes done well that wins you over.
Also, can we please just stop and appreciate the gorgeous char marks!
The sourdough is crispy and spongy and served with the most divine creamy sesame dip and parsley oil. It was so delicious I contemplated ordering a second serve.... I could easily eat 3-4 serves of this in a sitting! #whatcarbs?
Murray cod, scampi butter, garlic scapes
We had room for one more substantial dish and after much back and forth, we decided on the murray cod. The fish was cooked perfectly, falling off the bone with the gentlest prod. The amazingly fragrant scampi butter was a bit lacking though and we could do with a bit more bread to mop up the said sauce.
Don't get me wrong, a perfectly cooked dish but it wasn't mind-blowingly good as Ester and in this case Poly can be.
There is always room for dessert when you’re dining with me.
After a brief discussion, we decide on the bullet crème brulee and the Poly waffle
First up is the Poly waffle. After a great night of wining and dining, the waffle fell short of our expectations. The waffle was crisp and the flavours were good but it wasn’t anything exciting, as expected from the team.
We finish up with the bullet crème brulee, which I believe is a licorice based brulee (don’t quote me on that one!). The sugar top cracks nicely with a gentle tap and the licorice flavour is subtle (I’m not complaing about that) and the brulee is silky smooth and just the right amount of creamy, withotu being too heavy.
Whilst Poly can’t be compared to Ester, they do draw a lot of similarities. Until I have returned and tried more of the menu, Ester stil holds my heart as my favourite in Sydney.
Although, for a good night out, you really can’t go wrong with Poly.
Thinking of visiting?
They are also closed over christmas/ New Years, so I’d suggest you make your way there now (and again in the new year!)
And….. word has it that you can now get Poly as room service when staying at Paramount House Hotel! Ummm hello!
Running a restaurant is no easy feat, there is so much competition and expectations from Sydney-siders nowadays (gosh we are a spoilt bunch!)
New places are popping up left right and centre on a weekly basis, making standing out is even harder. Lot. One However has already been through this, having been forced to relocate from their 5 million dollar fit-out CBD location to the hippier Potts Point site.
Co-owner Michael Bradley sees this relocation as a chance for Lot. One to refocus and to charm the pants off the local Potts Point crowd!
With an equally swanky looking new space well underway and fellow co-owner Xenia Jade (Ex Jonah’s and Sake) in the kitchen, Lot. One sure delivers when promising to redefine what modern Australian cuisine is.
The new space is beautiful and sophisticated, all hidden behind a big red door. The red and black intimate theme continue inside, contrasting with the marble-topped bar and exposed brickworks as well as a cosy window space.
We are early to our leisurely weekend lunch so we start by taking a seat at the expansive bar (well…where else could we go?).
Creating magic behind the bar is Edwin Brown, upon taking a seat, we are swiftly handed the cocktail menu, which offers all your classics as well as a few with modern twists.
After a quick flip through the drinks list, we decide on the Clover Club and South Side, both a gin based fruity cocktail. I really enjoyed my clover club, with its citrusy and tangy berry flavour. Would definitely order it again! The lunch partner has the South side and also rates it highly. I think we are off to a great start!
Clover club – gin lemon raspberry
South side – Gin lime and mint
After some drinks to warm up the stomach, we are ready for some delicious food, or was it the delicious aroma wafting out of the kitchen?
The menu here is broken down by size, small and large plates all designed to share.
It has a seasonal focus with Mediterranean influences quite prominent.
Whilst looking through the menu we begin with some good old sourdough and moreish butter. Look at the golden orb of deliciousness!
The menu offers choices for everyone, with a range of dishes and flavours. As FOMO kicked in, we decided to go for a range of small plates to start.
Arancini – truffle, hazelnut, taleggio
First up is the arancini.
Arancini is such a genius invention, seriously, how can you go wrong with a ball of cheesy and saucy rice deep-fried to golden perfection?
The addition of truffle and hazelnut added to the aroma and texture, giving it a nice nutty flavour. I also loved how these were smaller in size, because it meant higher crispy exterior to delicious rice filling ratio! (high school surface area to volume ratio is finally useful!)
I’m usually more on the fish carpaccio camp but have recently found an appreciation for a good wagyu carpaccio. Lot. One’s take on it is definitely up there with the good ones, especially with the tangy pickled cucumber (another thing I’m not usually keen on) and that anchovy emulsion! Literally to die for!
WA octopus – confit leg, potato, bacon, saltbush
One of the dishes we both agreed on wanting to try was the confit octopus. It is often difficult to cook perfectly, although the leg is usually slightly more forgiving.
I’m so glad that we chose this dish as it ended up being our favourite dish of the meal!
Tender octopus with a savoury kick from the specks of bacon and saltbush was a clear winner in our books.
I may or may not have swiped the plate clean with my fingers…….. (I always forget to save bread to mop us delicious sauces!)
The last of the small plate is the kingfish. The generously sized fillet of kingfish is served gently seared with an array of flavours, from crunchy pepitas, sweet apricot bits and a savoury touch from the caviar. Flavours aside, this dish won me over from the plating perspective, such a beautiful plate to look at IMO
Now onto the more substantial plates despite a limited stomach space from nibbling on all the (not so) small plates!
I had had my eyes on the peaking pork but unfortunately they had sold out of it the evening before and it was still cooking by lunch service! Damnit!
We ended up choosing the sirloin because we needed the protein to refuel after our pre-lunch workout!
The sirloin was cooked well, served medium rare. The pistachio puree was very delicious and went perfectly with meat. Would definitely order it again!
Humpty doo barramundi, House made red curry, tomato and roe
The barramundi red curry intrigued us both so that was our other substantial plate.
Unfortunately, this was not what we expected. Instead of a rich fish red curry, the fish was served pan fried with a small dollop of house –made red curry and tomato based sauce. Whilst the fish was cooked well, it lacked the aroma and richness of a red curry and was a bit on the unsatisfying side.
We also opted for a couple of sides because we figured some greens would balance out the meal nicely (ok, let’s be honest, the green gods were starting to guilt trip me for not having enough greens!)
Potato puree, jamon, crème fraiche, parmesan
Yes, Potato is not green but it sure is delicious.
The puree unfortunately was a bit of a letdown as it was quite runny and got increasingly salty. The jamon and parmesan sprinkled on top was delicious though!
Beans – green and yellow and snake beans, peas and sprouts
To satisfy the green gods, we also opted for a side of beans. Beans are a newfound favourite of mine, crunchy and sweet and is such a great vessel for different flavours. This simple side was just what I needed to cut through all the rich flavours from the mains.
Side note: I still don’t like peas, especially squishy peas.
And what is a leisurely weekend lunch without dessert?
The first of our desserts is the cider-poached pear. The pear however was poached perfectly however the whole dish was a tad light of any discerning flavour and lacked something to tie all the components together.
Sticky date pudding – Dulce de leche pecan praline butterscotch gelato
Next was the Sticky date pudding is not my usual pick when it comes to dessert (boarding house days. Ugh!) But with the promise of dulche de leche and butterscotch gelato, I decided take the plunge and give this class dessert another chance.
As we wrapped up, we were told that on weekends they do boozy long lunches, with roasts available on Sundays.
I can see a lot of potential with Lot. One They are still fairly new and perhaps finding their feet with a few aspects, but in the great location paired with great service, Potts Point has gained yet another great restaurant.
Stay hungry and till next time,
Milktea and guest dined at Lot. One as guests of The Queen of Spin. Opinions however remain her own.
One of the things I miss about Japan is wandering down dimly lit laneways and discovering hidden gems serving honest good food, nothing fancy, just good quality produce respectfully executed in a delicious manner.
Alas I can only frequent Japan so often, so when the travel bug bites (or in my case, the stomach growls!) and I am craving quality Japanese cuisine, Yachiyo is the place to be.
I would love to call Yachiyo a hidden gem but in this case, it is only a gem as many have already discovered this tiny hole-in-the-wall space!
Complete with noren curtains, this dimly lit 20(ish)-seater place definitely serves some of the best Japanese food with a slight modern twist.
Despite its small space, the menu has plenty of delicious offerings, including the prized oo-toro when in season.
Oo-toro (tuna belly) sashimi
Can we please just have a moment to appreciate this beauty?
Melty fatty goodness…. I might make the bold statement of claiming this is the epitome of sashimi eating.
I am also a big fan of carpaccio, especially kingfish as it has a much more subtle flavour and makes it a great canvas for complementary flavours. Here the thinly sliced kingfish carpaccio is served with yuzu for zing and the creamy chilli sesame dressing that also features in a later dish.
Let me assure you that this dish is a must-order!
Or….. you can order it and I can eat it if you decide you don’t like it: P
My first encounter with this fusion dish was actually at Toshiya.
It never occurred to me that sashimi and taco would work so well together. Combining freshness, flavour and texture, sashimi tacos are a definite winner for me!
Here at Yachiyo, the addition of avocado gives it a nice creamy texture while the chipotle mayo gives it a slight kick! Yum!
Note this can get a little tricky to eat! (Case in point, sashimi tumbled off our tacos!)
Grilled Hokkaido scallop
Oh scallops, so much love for these morsel! especially large juicy Hokkaido scallops!
Cooked simply with sweet miso and their dynamite sauce and served with a piece of crunchy seaweed, I think Yachiyo has nailed it with this one!
Grilled kingfish and salmon fish collars
It is true that meat cooked bone on has more flavour and the same can be extended to fish as well.
One of my favourite dishes to snack on is grilled fish collars, not only are they incredibly moreish and flavoursome, they are also fun to eat as you often find bits of delicious flesh you missed poking round the first time.
When it comes to grilled fish collars, I like mine simple, usually with some quality salt and a bit of spice for a bit of kick.
This is definitely the perfect snack for pre (or during/post) -dinner drinks if you ask me!
Popcorn shrimp holds a special place in my heart, as it is a twist on one of the dishes my favourite aunt (yes, I do play favourites!) use to make us on special occasions only.
The version here at Yachiyo brings back fond memories of the bunch of us huddled around the dining table as my aunt fried them in a massive wok outside, seeing who could run off biggest bit of shrimp unnoticed.
The popcorn shrimp is a mix of prawn and avocado pieces coated generously in a chilli sesame sauce. It is moreish hand I could easily eat the entire bowl of this on my own!
Spicy tuna roll
Spicy tuna is always a great option imo, the spicy tuna roll here is topped generously with chopped tuna belly as well! Oh so delicious and melty!
Paired with the spicy miso sauce, I really have nothing to fault.
It was rather cold when we visited so we opted for a few warmer and substantial options too. #carblyf
Caramelised wagyu with udon
First up was the caramelised wagyu udon.
The broth had a nice depth and flavour to it and the udon was cooked perfectly, retaining its signature glutinous bite. Unfortunately, we all thought the beef was a tad overcooked.
7 spice wagyu hot pot
On the other hand, the wagyu hot pot was amazing, paper-thin slices of wagyu bubbling away on a portable charcoal stove in a delicious miso dashi.
My favourite part of hot pots? Dig a bit deeper for all the veggies, which have soaked up all the deliciousness. (Psst, the shrooms are the best!)
Can you guess what my favourite time of a meal is?
Yep, you guessed it!
I was looking forward to having their matcha Nama chocolate and warabi mocha I had on a previous visit but alas, the menu had now changed and two new desserts were on offer.
First up is the crunchy matcha, which are clusters of white chocolate and puffed rice dusted lightly with matcha.
This is definitely on the sweet side (I’m not a fan of white chocolate) and is quite rich, so I’m definitely glad that we shared this amongst us.
I love you very mochi - Japanese melon mochi
Next up was the ‘I love you very mochi’, a Japanese melon mochi.
This was definitely the more popular dessert on our table as it was not as sweet and the mochi was the perfect texture, soft and chewy oh and the melon, so fragrant! Mmmm!
I have yet to have a disappointing meal at Yachiyo so I will definitely be back!
candy. The world revolves around you, and ours revolves around food
When one thinks Sydney, revolving tower and dining, we all immediately default to the tourist landmark of Sydney Tower, but for the full experience complete with amazing food and service, I'd suggest you walk that extra 2 blocks down towards the harbour and up 47 floors to O Bar and dining.
Asides from amazing views of Sydney's gorgeous skyline? Head chef Michael Moore and Darren Templeman also promises amazing food with healthy influences and quality produces. Oh hell yes!
and the revolving tower? (if you must, it's always a bit trippy even if you haven't had much to drink)
Thanks to O Bar and Dining and Gault & Millau Australia, A lucky group of us got to sample some of their signature dishes with a generous addition of truffle
So who are Gault & Millau Australia you ask?
Gault & Millau is a long-standing name when it comes to the restaurant reviews, their professional reviewers (who undergo a rigorous training and dine anonymously) evaluate more than 10,000 restaurants and hotels over thirteen countries each year!
Gault & Millau Australia is due to launch their 6th guide in February 2019, after reading the 2018 version, I am definitely looking forward to the next guide!
Lemon meringue pie
Asides from the champagne on arrival we were also handed a fair few cocktails to sample.
But you know me, empty stomach and lightweight as when it comes to alcohol meant I really had to pace myself.
The lemon meringue pie however stole my heart, it was literally one of my favourite desserts in a alcoholic liquid form. sweet, tangy and buttery. Mmmmm!
Do you know what's really good with cocktails and champagne? yep, canapes.
The canapes at O Bar and Dining were a great pairing with the drinks on offer. Not only were they delicious, they are also quite the looker! and that tuna!
Selection of canapes
After admiring the beautiful Sydney skyline over some delicious canapes and drinks, we move into the private dining room, Salon Prive.
Salon Prive is warm in tones but also features some gorgeous silver leaf walls (#decorgoals) complemented with 360 degree view of the city. A gorgeous space for an intimate group dinner imo!
The only downside is that you can still hear the patrons on the main dining floor if you're seated towards the end.
Whipped ricotta and seeded lavosh
Bread and butter is always a great way to start a good meal, but if you're telling me the replacement is whipped ricotta and seeded lavosh, you know what I'd pick!
To give you an idea of how good this combo was, not only we had seconds, many of us were caught swiping the tiny pot of goodness clean with our fingers!
Seared scallops, fermented freekeh, seeded labne
I was pretty eager for the first course as scallop is one of my all-time favourites. This ended up being my favourite dish and I wished there was more of it!
I loved the creaminess of the seeded labne with the perfectly cooked scallop, nice sear crusty exterior but still slightly translucent in the centre. Definitely could not fault this dish and would happily have it again on any repeat visits.
The second course was as a parmesan souffle, savoury souffle? hrrm... definitely intriguing as it was something rather new to me.
But when these gorgeous puffy souffles started coming out to the table, the dining room went from chatty to almost a hushed silence as people took in the fragrance of the fresh Oberon truffle that sat aloft each of these souffles.
Trust me when I say that I took a spoonful of this and my heart started racing and my pupils dilated even further. Thinking about it right now is making me salivate.
WA marron - Split and roasted, spiced preserved lemon salsa, fermented black bean truffle sauce
If I had to pick a favourite crustacean it would definitely have to be the marron. Exclusive to WA, the flesh is juicy and tender and it is often hard to cook it well.
At O Bar and dining, this is roasted and served with a preserved lemon salsa and a fermented black bean truffle sauce. You would think such strong flavours would overpower such a delicate shellfish but surprisingly this worked very well, the creaminess and saltiness of the black beans, the slight tang of the lemon and the aroma of truffle really made this into a stunning dish!
Next up was the seared wagyu rib blade, an unusual cut for searing but was surprisingly tender and juicy. The fine shavings of fresh truffle against the buttery rib blade was heavenly but what I loved the most were the french girolles. Oh boy were they delicious! buttery and so full of flavour, like a hundred mushrooms condensed into one.
Passionfruit and milk chocolate bon-bon souffle, passionfruit sorbet
Is an amazing meal ever complete without dessert?
Souffle is now one of my new favourite desserts. Seriously, how can baked eggs be so delicious? Delicate and airy, yet so full of flavour, I don't think i could fault a single element of this dessert. the milk chocolate and the passionfruit just complemented each other so well, and the addition of the passionfruit just took it to the next level of deliciousness!
Can I please get another souffle now?
O Bar selection of petit fours: Citrus cashew truffles, pecan butter and matcha, beetroot and raspberry macarons, sweet coconut & ginger, hazelnut praline and white chocolate
Petit fours and a good cup of tea is a great way to finish a meal and wind down.
I loved the selection that was presented, not only was there an array of interesting flavours. My favourite? definitely the pecan butter and matcha and the hazelnut praline!
Thank you O Bar and Dining and Gault & Millau Australia for such a fantastic meal!
Will I be back?
I most definitely will.
Not only is the food and service outstanding, I can see myself bringing anyone I'd love to treat an amazing meal!
Want to find out more about Gault & Millau Australia? Click here!
Stay hungry and till the next post,
Milktea and guest dined at O Bar and Dining as guests of Gault Millau and Chef Darren Templeman. Opinions however remain her own.
So word has it that a famous hot pot restaurant hailing from China is now opened in Chinatown.
Boasting 500 franchises across China, the promise of roaming robots delivering mentos, Hello Kitty soup bases (no cats were harmed in the making)and Lady Gaga, Barbie (sorry guys, Ken is taken!) dressed in meat slices appearances was more enough to convince me this place was worth the visit.
For me, hot pot has always been a casual family affair, where we huddle over a steaming pot of soup and cook our desired foods, usually a range of seafoods and sliced meats, fish balls and vegetables.
Be it winter or summer (Hello air-con!), hot pot occurs at least a few times a year in our household.
Even with the exponential increase in the number of hot pot restaurants opening in Sydney in the past year, queues are a plenty, and showing no signs of slowing down. Guess I need to get out more and do more hot potting then!
Just slightly ominous...
But of recent times, hot pot has become a much grander affair, ranging from premium offerings such as 1 metre long wagyu plates (1 metre long pizzas are so 2014!), to individual pots to hot pot dining experiences like Spice World.
Oh yes, Spice world is an experience indeed.
The rumours about the robots zooming around, an ominous looking teddy bear sitting in a bed of chilli, arcade games as well as a deodorising machine that blew us away (literally) is indeed true.
It's not what you think it is... :P
We arrive starving on an oddly busy Monday evening to be told that there is a 2 hour wait for a table, but poor mandarin speaking skills aside, we wandered upstairs (after getting into a non-moving lift 3 times no less) and get seated after a short wait in which we ooh and ahh over all the kitsch and novelty stuff on display.
There are a selection of seating arrangements, we walk past some very fancy looking enclosed booths to our table with an induction heat plate and a golden dragon embedded into the table.
Yes, it seems like red and gold is popular colour with hot pot restaurants.
For the soup base, we decided to go for the half-half option so we could try more flavours.
(So glad we did!)
So half Hello Kitty and half wild-mushroom it was.
Oh yes I was being serious about the Hello Kitty soup base, although poor Hello Kitty resembled more “Hello Kitty got extremely sunburnt”.
Despite being told the Hello Kitty was “not that spicy” the spice does build up over time and gets to a point where it is tongue numbing, but not in a good way, even though the soup was topped up throughout the evening, we stopped cooking anything on that side, especially the veges as they soaked up all the spiciness.
While we waited for our food to arrive, we did a quick wander to check out the sauce bar and the fresh fruit/ snacks area. Here you will find a selection of cold dishes that resemble seaweed is some way or form and some fresh fruit, presumably to put out the fire that is your tongue.
Whilst I’m not a big fan of having hot pot outside of home ( It just loses that homey vibe!), the perks of having hot pot outside means there is heaps of variety in both foods and sauces and condiments that you can mix and match to your heart’s content.
My saucy pick?
Definitely the sesame sauce with a dash of chilli oil and also a big bowl of finely chopped shallots, garlic topped with soy sauce.
L to R: bamboo filled fish paste, sliced beef, beef balls and egg wontons
L to R: Grrens, hand-pulled nodles, mushrooms, sweet potato noodles and bean curd rolls
Now on to the more important things, the food.
Like an unsupervised child in a candy store, we over order as per usual. The food arrives in dribs and drabs and our selection of goodies canvas the table.
There is an extensive spread of sliced meats, fish/beef balls as well as carbs and greens (balanced diet no?)
Oh hi Lady Gaga!
Oh and of course, our wagyu Barbie.
Definitely making an entrance with that Lady Gaga-esque look, wet hair slicked back (I’m not sure if that’s her style though…)
Gimmicks aside, my favourites was definitely the Barbie beef (so delicious, and the silky ribbons of fatty goodness!) and the sweet potato (?) noodles, whilst they arrived looking like wooden floor planks, they actually turn into a very nice noodle texture once cooked through, with a nice gelatinous texture and nutty flavour.
Armed with a doggy bag each, we were so stuffed by this point we struggle to breathe, until we saw the bill.
$230 *heavy breathing ensues*
Whilst we never expected it to be a cheap meal, we both didn’t expect that the “experience” would cost us $200+.
Yep, this experience is not for the faint-hearted or those on a budget!
Or perhaps I should just stay home!
Will I be back?
Unfortunately it is a no from me.
As much as I like gimmicky and novelty, this wore of pretty quickly!