Tag Archives: MSG

MSG #22 – Ending the year at Misky Cravings

I was craving a bit of Peruvian cuisine, feeling nostalgic after my trip to Peru a few months back. I was really excited when I heard of the Peruvian restaurant Misky Cravings from Grab Your Fork‘s review in Timeout.  The word Misky means delicious or yum in Quechua (the ancient language of the Andean people), highly appropriate for this little gem run by husband and wife team Julio and Carmita Ruiz in the middle of Fairfield. It opened last July, but the words has already got around that this is the Peruvian restaurant to go to. Popular with the local Peruvian community, the restaurant is great reason to venture out into the suburbs.

A hint when you are trying to find the restaurant, it’s actually in a little alley between a florist and a chemist. They do have signage, but you have to poke your head in or risky wandering around for half an hour.

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First up, while waiting for others to show up is the Yuquitas ala huancayna – deep fried cassava topped with a slightly spicy and delicate cheese sauce and a hint of yellow chilli. Think a more starchy version of wedges.

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Causita frita de atún – Fried mash potato seasoned with peruvian spices and filled with
Tuna topped with a tangy seafood and mayonnaise. 

This is actually a combination of the seafood plate above and the three plates of ball shaped deep fried dough below. A number of MSGers are allergic to prawns, so we had to order prawns on the side. Eaten separately, they were good, together the creamy seafood sauce is great with the tuna balls.

For drinks we ordered a jug of Chica Morada – unfermented chicha made from purple maize which is then boiled. It can drunk hot or cold, but has a distinct bubble gum flavour which depending on your palate might be a little too sweet or refreshing.

If you’re after ceviche we ordered two, the first (see above) Tiradito A type of ceviche with a twist of Asian influence; slices of fish marinated in lime ginger, garlic and chilli paste. 

The second and what I would recommend is the Leche de tigre –An aphrodisiac hang over cure; spiced up blended ceviche (photo below, left hand side). It’s refreshing with a lime and spanish onion kick and thanks to the chef who gave us a complimentary serving, this is what I would come back for.

One of the thing which surprised me about Peruvian cuisine is the unexpected mix of Chinese inspired cuisines such as :

Arroz Chaufa de Mariscos (above bottom right) – “House specialty” Luscious and aphrodisiac mix of rice and seafood in a typical and traditional style

and

Tallarin saltado de pollo/carne (below top left)- Pasta al dente with chicken or beef sautéed at the moment with onions, tomato, shallots and flamed with white wine in traditional spices with a touch of cilantro

Both dishes can be found in most Chinese restaurant anywhere in the world. Thanks to the Chinese immigrants in Peru this tradition of the East can be seen in the number of Chifa (Chinese restaurants around Peru).

The must have dish for me is the Causa Limeñisima  – Mash potato with a hint of Peruvian spices filled with chicken/Tuna or shrimp, avocado and a touch of mayonnaise

I first had this during the Inca trail out of all places. Our amazing chef managed to whip up this dish in the middle of the mountains. It sounds like a strange mix, but think of all the best quality of mash potato, it’s creaminess add a dash of spice and somehow the texture is an amazing companion for the tuna underneath. Try it, you’ll get it.

Pescado frito – Whole fresh Trivally catch, deepfried to perfection. Servedwith cassava,
traditional sarsa and chilli

Misky Cravings 16

As it was the last MSG for the year (two years running now! We swapped out Kris Kringles before finishing up with dessert.

Misky chocolate – Our own style Iced chocolate served with vanilla ice cream $ 4.50
Misky coffee – Our own style Ice coffee served with vanilla Ice cream

My vote is to finish with the Picarones  – Light and crispy doughnut like Peruvian delicatessen served with “rock sugar ” syrup. 

Address: 2/164 The Boulevard
Fairfield Heights NSW 2165
Phone: (02) 9726 4771
Mobile: 0421 657 197 or 0449 055 603
Email: info@miskycravings.com.au

MSG #19 – Sydney Portugal Community Club Restaurant Marrickville

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After talking about doing a planned tour of Sydney’s Community Club, we finally went to our second community club as one of the Midweek Supper Group outings (the Japanese Club, being the first and I still need to blog it!).  Yewenyi suggested the Portuguese Community Club in Marrickville and that fit the bill of being relatively close to the city and obscure enough that none of us have ever visited it.

The address seemed straight forward enough, and had the signage been lit the Club would have been easy to spot…After a number of semi frantic phone calls from Pirochan “head under the bridge and keep going until you think you should stop, then keep going some more”. I finally found the dimly lit restaurant next to the soccer field.

Portugese Community Club

Once I entered the restaurant, it felt like I was warped back into the 80’s. The combination of the retro chairs, the tablecloth and the decor reminded me of places my parents used to take me to for Sunday dinner back in the old days.

Portugese Community Club

First thing first and we ordered some drinks to start. Yewenyi and Evil Hayama ordered the “local” beer, housed in yellow bottles. Not quite sure what normal Bock taste like, but Super Bock was rather mild. Both reminded a little of Coronas actually.

Portugese Community Club

For starters we ordered the Cogumelos com alho  (garlic mushroom) and the Chouriço Assado (grilled chorizo). The portion was generous and we realised that hearty sized portions are the order of the day. The chorizo was surprisingly lovely. It was the right combination of salt, fat and meat. Our youngest ever MSG guest (2 years old, but who’s counting!) loved the mushrooms and olives, which goes to show the younger palate is not all about chips and burgers…

Portugese Community Club

You can’t go to a Portugese restaurant without ordering cod, so one Bacalhau a Lagareiro (cod cooked lagareiro style) was promptly ordered. The cod was dressed generously in olive oil and pan fried. I wish I asked which olive oil they use, there’s a distinct nutty taste to it.

Portugese Community Club

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I ordered the snapper, but unfortunately the waiter heard it as salmon. Though got to say the grilled salmon was delicious, floating in a plate of olive oil somehow managed to add to the taste.

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Other dishes of note were the Espetada (beef skewer with side plate or salad and chips), the Bife a Portugese (Steak with chips, egg, rice and salad), Alentejana (pork cubes served with clams, square chips and pickles) and last but not least Polvo Grehaldo (grilled octopus served with salad and boiled potatoes).

Portugese Community Club

There seemed to be two themes throughout the night, the first being olive oil and the second being meat, and so much of it!

Portugese Community Club

Portugese Community Club

Sydney Portugal Community Club Restaurant Marrickville

100 Marrickville Road
Marrickville NSW 2204

(02) 9550 6344

Midweek Supper Group (MSG) – #4 Faheem Fast Food in Stanmore

Faheem Fast Food

You know when the food is good when I had to fend hands from dragging a plate of chicken away before I can take a shot. It was another Midweek Supper Group (MSG) meetup and we were in Faheem Fast Food in Stanmore on a Wednesday evening. Their sign outside of this humble looking establishment declared that they have the “Best Tandoori Chicken in Sydney” and this was proven to be true as we ate our way throughout the evening.

T. volunteered to organise this MSG to my delight. When I started MSG, I was never quite sure how it will evolve or whether I will have the stamina to continue finding and organising people to turn up to random places. Like most great things, it had managed to built a momentum of its own and although this was the first time that someone else organised the event, to my delight this would not be the last.

Faheem Fast Food

Now back to Faheem, this place specialises in dishes cooked in their tandoor. A tandoor being “a cylindrical clay oven used in cooking and baking. The tandoor is used for cooking in India, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Transcaucasus, the Balkans, the Middle East, Central Asia as well as Burma and Bangladesh.” Cooking in one gives the dish a lovely thorough smoky flavour that is difficult to repeat with other methods. T. ordered some chicken tandori and tandori fish tikka along with some nans. Both plated literally disappeared the moment they hit our table of ten. I was rather surprised at how moist the fish was considering the cooking method, expecting it to be somewhat dry as a result.

Faheem Fast Food

Along with the meat dishes we ordered the aloo palak (a spinach and potato curry) as well as some dal palak (lentil and spinach curry). The presentation was simple, but the food was honest and there was a palpable silence throughout the meal. Somewhat unusual considering how noisy a group of appreciative foodies usually are.

Faheem Fast Food

Some of us grabbed some mango lassi for a quasi dessert drink, whilst others who still have space ordered a kulfi or the gulab jamun from a fridge at the back. We left satisfied, thanking T. for organising a perfect hump day meal and mildly bemused that for $15 per person we managed to eat a feast of a meal.

Faheem Fast Food

Faheem Fast Food
194-196 Enmore Road, Enmore, Sydney
Ph: (02) 9550 4850 or +61 (02) 9550 4803

Opening hours
7 days 11am – midnight dine-in and takeaway

Azuma Kushiyaki and Sugar Hits

Azuma Kushiyaki

I am shockingly behind with all my blog post, a hectic work life has managed to suck a lot of my energy  (again). In any case, about a month ago I visited Azuma Kushiyaki with fellow MSGers as part of our nearly monthly gathering for Midweek Supper Group. I wanted to see what this new addition to the Azuma chain was all about. As an added sweetener,  Azuma Kushiyaki offered Sugar Hit as part of SIFF making it doubly interesting to visit.

Azuma Kushiyaki specialised in Japanese bar food common to izakaya. The word kushiyaki referred to non poultry skewers, this in contrast to yakitori (skewered chicken). The restaurant offered both types of skewers and if you would like a taste of the different skewers you can’t go wrong by ordering the Assorted Kushiyaki set (5 assorted skewers). The assorted set came with a chicken, okra, beef, lamb and scallop skewers and provided a great overview of what was available.

Azuma Kushiyaki

If ordering individual skewers the Quail eggs with Kushiyaki sauce was an unexpected winner. The sauce and the egg complimenting each other in terms of taste and flavour.

Azuma Kushiyaki

Although the restaurant’s specialty was meant to be its skewers it surprised us to note that for a number of the meat skewers, the meat was dry and in a lot of cases cold. Despite being the only large group within the restaurant the kitchen could not cope with our numbers, even if they were pre-warned with all our orders being pre-ordered hours before we arrived.

Azuma Kushiyaki

Unexpectedly it was all the other non skewer dishes that impressed us that night. The soft shell crab was perfectly crunchy, the sashimi platter was generous and fresh…

Azuma Kushiyaki

Azuma Kushiyaki

In terms of possible lunch food, their onigiri or rice ball was enough to keep anyone happy for a mid day break. It was also a lot bigger than the photo suggested.

Azuma Kushiyaki

I was quietly impressed by the Azuma Ramen,  it consisted of egg noodles in a mildly spiced sesame soup. The stock  made it for me, it was flavoursome and complex. Perhaps not the same standard as Ryo, but definitely something I would look forward to for a quick lunch.

Azuma Kushiyaki

Azuma Kushiyaki

Before we knew it, it was 9:00pm and despite our bulging stomachs we waited eagerly for dessert to make its appearance. We were not disappointed when two square, black bento boxes arrived bearing sweet goodies inside. Described as a blend of East meets West this particular Sugar Hit offering was the most impressive in a long line of Sugat Hits. A typical Sugar Hit usually includes a sweet wine and a number of mini dessert. In most cases the selection contained three if not four desserts. A chocolate one, a creme brulee of some description , a “fruit of the season” dessert and a the restautant or hotel’s signature dessert.

Azuma Kushiyaki

In terms of presentation and content, Azuma Kushiyaki’s Sugar Hit blew me away. I started by tasting the fluffy Vanilla Cheesecake, before moving on to its polar opposite; a Belgian chocolate mousse. Although both were delicious, they were exactly what I expected at a Sugar Hit and therefore did not have the wow factor I was hoping for. After a few spoonful I shifted my attention to Box number two.

Azuma KushiyakiBox number two contained a Green tea roll with chestnuts. I have always been a big fan of macha flavoured dessert and this subtle offering was one of my favourite so far. It wasn’t until I ventured into the rather ordinary looking shot glass with vanilla ice cream that the surprise started. Not listening to the instruction I started by nearly choking on he incredibly sweet brown sugar syrup before pouring it on to the vanilla ice cream. I took my first bite of the ice cream and could understand why Marc, who was sitting in front of me was wearing an expression of utter bliss. The subtle vanilla sweetness was given a punch by the brown sugar syrup, and when combined with the two balls of mochi deep within the glass, the texture combination of smooth and chewy was amazing. Excited I turned to the Nori seaweed cat’s tongue biscuits. Looking rather like an ordinary rice cracker, I did not expect the mix of sweet and burst of savoury courtesy of the sea weed flecks. I could happily munch on a whole box of these little beauties!

Azuma KushiyakiIt was close to midnight when we decided to make it a day. This Sugar Hit was easily my favourite, being unexpectedly different and delivering on its promise of East Meets West. As far as the dinner went, I had some mixed feelings about what we had. I didn’t think the skewers in general were outstanding, although what was impressive was the variety of skewers available. In terms of service, they were marginally acceptable, but mind bogglingly slow throughout the night. Despite the fact that it was a very quiet night, they were unable to cope with our group’s order. One order went out, then forgotten multiple times throughout the evening. Our waitress seemed to not understand our requests due to a language barrier,  and despite being the booking that made up more than half their night’s intake we were often ignored throughout the evening.

What frustrated me most was the number of hoops I had to jump through to book a table for a group of 14 people. Azuma Kushiyaki has a policy that for groups of nine or more, you can only order from their $55 per head set menu. I had to ring for two days offering different suggestions to go around this, before they suggested that maybe as the booking will be on a quiet week night, we can pre-order beforehand. What annoyed me was that even with orders being pre-ordered the same dishes arrived at different time with different temperature.

I doubt I will revisit this place with a group bigger than four in the future, but would definitely drop in for a quick lunch here and there.

Kushiyaki Azuma
T: (02) 9267 7775
F: (02) 9267 7776
E: regentplace@azuma.com.au

Ground Floor Regent Place Shopping
501 George Street
Sydney NSW 2000

Let the good food year start!

365.3The 2010 SMH Good Food Guide is out and it’s nice to see a number of new restaurants newly hatted. Restaurant of the year is Quay with Chef of the year going to Mark Best from Marque.  I have a very soft spot for Quay, a particular memory stood out of having dinner one evening and being pleasantly surprised when the harbour was covered fireworks during a random night. On a perfect summer night or even day, it is one of the places I would happily take a tourist to,  in addition to very comprehensive list of places that Helen from Grab Your Fork had put together.

Kazbah

Speaking of the plethora of good food around Sydney, I had been thinking of how I should really explore the food options more than I had in the past. When combined with how much fun it is to eat out as a group, it wasn’t difficult to combine the two and the Midweek Supper Group (or MSG for short) was born.

Last Wednesday four hungry souls travelled to the inner west to visit Kazbah in Balmain. This well known Middle Eastern / North African restaurant is rather famous for its breakfast,  but I was keen to see what their dinner menu was like.

KazbahA wet Wednesday day resulted in a very quiet dining experience at the dimly lit Kazbah, but our moods brightened up when we spotted the their midweek special. For $40, on a Wednesday and Thursday night you get 2 courses and a glass of wine. Considering their mains are around $35, it didn’t take much to convince us to switch to their special. Pictured above was the mixed mezes plate for two people! It was difficult not to over eat and leave room for our main, their dips were remarkably good with the baba ganouch being particularly smoky in flavour.

KazbahRegardless of a slowly bulging stomach, we powered on to our main. From the tasty “Chicken Stuffed with Halloumi, Sucuk and Green Olives, Chickpea Fritter, Asparagus, Capsicum Sauce”

Kazbahto the Pan-Fried Duck Breast with Falafel, Honey Baked Quince and Sweet Potato Chips and the incredibly large Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder, Braised Vegetables, Sultana Jam, Couscous and Condiments. I liked the combination of sweet potato chips and honey baked quince with the duck interesting, but I struggled to finish the entire dish. The portion was huge and it was a very rich meal.

KazbahI can happily go back just for their  flavoursome dips alone,  and perhaps try one of their tagine dishes as well. To finish it all off, Turkish coffee was the way to go, where the coffee must be:

Black as night
Hot as hell
And sweet as love.

Kazbah