Tag Archives: Sydney

Bonus MSG Supper – Mado Cafe

It’s a Saturday evening and I am running late for the bonus supper in Auburn, cursing the western bound traffic on Parramatta Road all the way until I reached Mado Cafe.

Dinner at Mado

Brian, K and KL were already waiting as I rushed in apologising before sinking into one of the booths against the side of the wall. Considering all the drama to get to Mado, the cafe itself was surprisingly quiet. We quickly ordered some mixed dips (humus, carrot, cacik and eggplant dips) and bread for starters to keep the hunger pang away. I secretly love the fluffy Turkish bread a little more than the dips, and I love the fact the bread basket was always refilled.

Dinner at Mado

Nestled in downtown Auburn, Cafe Mado is one of my favourite places to eat in Sydney. The decor is rustic, but the atmosphere is always welcoming and the dessert…oh the dessert. But first we have the main to get through.

Dinner at Mado

If you are new to Mado, I would recommend getting the mixed grill plate to get a taste of the various meat dishes. Otherwise most of the dishes are actually quite easy to share. We ordered the guvec to share (diced lamb fillets, tomatoes, peppers, onions and eggplant), and ordered meaty dishes for ourselves. I ordered the Kofte Izgara (charcol grilled minced lamb patties prepared with traditional spices served with rice, steamed vegetables) which was just a little too big for me to finish.

Dinner at Mado

There was a heartiness in each of the main meat dishes that blends well with the crispy bean salad to the side. At the same time, the taste variety was rather limited (think grilled meat with very little sauce).

Dinner at Mado

Dinner at Mado

Dinner at Mado

I need to hunt up my notes on what we all ordered a while back, but let’s be honest it was the dessert that we (mostly I) was anticipating. Mado’s maras stretchy ice cream was worth the wait. The solid vanilla block  was solid enough to cut through and chew. Sounds odd, but it made absolute sense when you try it. Topped with pistachio and cherries it was a bit of heaven on a plate.

Dinner at Mado

The first time I had this ice cream was at the coffee festival down at the Rocks. There was a little trolley and a man pulling a stretchy creamy substance, before slapping it on top of an ice cream cone and covering it with pistachio. It was instant love, and like the five year old who used to chase the ice cream truck, I followed the ice cream trolley to its source in Auburn.

Dinner at Mado

Someone ordered the Kazandibi (burnt rice pudding), Supangle (chocolate pudding) with a scoop of Mado ice cream, a bowl of mixed normal ice cream and rice pudding. The variety of dessert had always been impressive,  but nothing beats Mado’s ice cream for the “it” item to get when you are down in Auburn. To be honest I am not a huge fan of rice pudding, regardless of what incarnation it took…so I never tried very hard to broaden my dessert horizon beyond the Maras ice cream.

Dinner at Mado

Dinner at Mado

Dinner at Mado

Next, going through my backlog of blog post from the last few months (gasp!).

Mado Cafe

63 Auburn Road, Auburn, Sydney
(02) 9643 5299

Taste of Sydney (or London)

Sydney Taste Festival

It’s a beautiful summer evening. The sun was still high in the sky and as we walked closer towards Centennial Park for Taste of Sydney with some crowns in our pocket, the nagging sense of dejavu did not ease. Flashback to last June, when I was wandering Regents Park at Taste of London, it all came back with a flash.

Sydney Taste FestivalThe concept of Taste of Sydney came directly from Taste of London. What I didn’t expect was how similar the event in Sydney was to London. From the image of the fork, the font, the crowns, the tents, the tables covered with synthetic grass the entire experience was replicated and brought a couple of thousand miles south.

Sydney Taste FestivalPerhaps there were changes made to localise the event other than bringing local restaurants, but you could have fooled me. What was a nice change, was the fact the park was not as crowded as it was in London. It definitely made wandering around the stalls much easier. We did a quick lap around the park to see what was available before we ended up following people wandering with interesting plates.

This worked out with Jonah’s at Whale Beach’s vanilla pana cotta with lavendar honey and fresh pomegranates. This wobbly slightly obscene, but creamy dessert was by far the most interesting dessert we found on the day.

Sydney Taste FestivalThe same can be said about Guillame at Bennelong’s blue crab sandwich. I’m a gigantic sucker for that subtle savoury taste pillowed by soft white bread pieces.

Sydney Taste FestivalWhat surprised me was how similar the menus from dozen or so restaurants are. There were plenty of meat dishes, but nothing really exciting or particularly surprising other than the panna cotta.  A lot of the meat dishes like the 12 hour slow cooked lamb shoulder with minted crushed peas and feta dressing sounded impressive, but was quite ordinary. The lamb was somewhat cold and did not melt, the minted peas was interesting but nothing extraordinary.

Sydney Taste Festival

A few of the dishes were down right disappointing: Pilu’s zippola or Sardinian donut was disappointingly tasteless. The tantalising sounding risotto with crystal bay prawns and zucchini was so bland that we had a mouthful before abandoning the lot. In any case, it was an interesting venture to have a look at what was showcased. Some were familiar, such as Plan B’s wagyu burger, a great lunch time meal that managed to increase its value from the usual $10 to $12. It’s a small difference, but I wonder why they bothered?

Sydney Taste FestivalDon’t get me wrong, I loved the experience on winding down another rough week with a glass vino in my hand, but I would love to see more next time around.

Sydney Taste Festival

A Valentine preview

Valentine at Zumbo

It’s been a while.

Moving house, a draining busy work schedule and simply doing too much meant that I have very little time to process my own thoughts. Unfortunately, unless something major happens in the near future, the situation is unlikely to change.

Sunday will mark the double celebration of Chinese New Year and Valentine Day. Not a big fan of the latter, but news of the heart shaped macaroons tempted us to brave the rain and wander down to Adriano Zumbo for a sneak peek.

Valentine at Zumbo

Both the cafe and the store were packed with people looking for some sweet treats. Sitting on top of the glass counters are macaroons packed in transparent plastic boxes wrapped with black satin ribbons. Rather wistfully, I commented to T that although Valentine Day is rubbish, I wouldn’t say no if someone offered these goodies to me. A lady next to us laughed and ended up adding two boxes to her pile.

If you go to the cafe, they sell a pack of 4 macarons containing chocolate, raspberry, salted caramel and mexique chocolate & nougatine for $8. The store has similar flavours, with the addition of coconut and pandan and a few others packaged in the aforementioned plastic box. I bought the packet of 4, but I might come back for more on Sunday.

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

Sydney’s Food Blogger Christmas Picnic

Sydney Food Blogger's Picnic

I somehow managed to earn the right to be a food blogger for some reason. How else, did I manage to score an invitation to Sydney’s biggest food blogger event last Sunday? Organised by the lovely Helen and Suze, it was the biggest gathering of foodies I have ever encountered. The group met in Hyde Park and as I scanned the park, all I had to do was keep my eye open for a mountain of food and 50+ cameras.

Sydney Food Blogger's Picnic

Or in this case, plenty of cameras being pointed to the mountain of food…

Sydney Food Blogger's Picnic

It was quite amazing to be surrounded by so many foodies and although I don’t know the majority of those present, the conversation came easily. Towards the end of the afternoon, we each selected a present from the mound of Kris Kringle gifts, with one particular gift being coveted more than normal. I managed to take a quick snap before it was claimed by another hand. All in all, a fun afternoon and thanks for organising such a great event ladies!

Sydney Food Blogger's Picnic

By the sea

Sculpture by the Sea

The rather insane heat wave in the past week was an unwelcome reminder of how hot the Australian summer can be. Scanning through photos of last week’s visit to Sculpture by the Sea I wonder what will power prevented me from flinging myself into the sea rather than be jostled around by the thousands of visitors on the last day of exhibition. This year’s exhibition was bigger than before, stretching along from Bondi to Tamarama.

Sculpture by the Sea

I met up with Y and B at the beginning of the walk, before quickly losing them within the crowd of sight seers while waiting for T. While waiting, it struck me again how the setting managed to steal the thunder away from the many sculptures around the area. On a beautiful summer day, Bondi with its jeweled coloured sea and blindingly blue sky dominated the setting and it was almost easy to forget why I was there in the first place.

Wandering along the path, it was great to see some familiar work. Keid Moseholm was a regular exhibitor with his easily recognisable sumo like figures in bronze and granite.

Sculpture by the Sea

I loved Phil Price’s Morpheus, this wind driven sculpture danced with each breeze through a number of fluid, graceful permutation that was mesmerising to watch. Had they install this sculpture in the middle of the city, I would happily spend my lunch time watching it for hours.

Sculpture by the Sea

Other noticeable sculptures for me was the Big Drink (also known as the straw), Stephen King’s The Eight, Brenner and Medwell’s visual pun of Step by step, inch by inch…towards the precipice made out of sand shoes and Marguerite Derricourt’s delightful rat race.

Sculpture by the Sea

Ra

Sculpture by the Sea

Hats Off at Becasse

Hats off at Becasse

I honestly can’t believe October is just a memory and December just around the corner. I turned another year older during the multiple celebrations of food, and a meal at Becasse a few days after this momentous event seemed fitting.

“Hats Off”  has been a staple of the SIFF for years. The idea is that various restaurants takes on the challenge to create a menu significantly different from their traditional offering. I still remember with very fond memories of Claude’s Hat’s Off a number of years ago where they move away from their traditional French menu and ventured off on Asian fusion that was simply delightful. This particular year we decided to go and see what Becasse’s Heroes and Masters Hats Off dinner is all about. According to them:

“This is a tribute to our heroes and masters and the dishes we’ve enjoyed over the years. Some we’ve endeavoured to replicate and others we’ve taken the inspiration, but all pay homage to these great chefs and amazing temples of gastronomy – Enjoy!”

Hats off at Becasse

First up was a homage to Thomas Keller of French Laundry and Per Se dish of Oysters and Pearls .  The original dish consists of Island Creek oysters, pearly tapioca and Osetra caviar. I doubt the last ingredient was replicated, but the tapioca gave it an interesting texture.

Hats off at Becasse

Second was a tribute to Heston Blumenthal from Fat Duck, with Beetrot and Orange. The original dish played on the diner’s sense, with the orange jello being beetrot and vice versa.  One can argue whether it is more of a taster than a dish as the whole experience is all about flicking flavour in one’s mouth rather like gargling with juice actually.

Hats off at Becasse

Third was Joël Robuchon of  L’Atelier Paris – L’oeuf de poule cocotte et sa crème légère de champignons des bois. Translated as Egg cocotte topped with light wild mushroom cream, it was a lovely layering of flavours. There was the herb emulsion, digging deeper you will find the slow cooked egg, wobbling and oozing, but cooked in a way that retained the flavour of the yolk. The creamy mushroom puree provided a contrast to the flavours and this was all topped with crunch Jamon crumbs. Balanced on top was a piece of toasted brioche that was consumed very quickly. Needless to say this was my favourite dish throughout the evening.

Hats off at BecassePierre Gagnaire, Paris – Ormeau, murex, amande et moules d’Espagne aux cèpes sèches, Bouillabaisse mousseuse et gelée d’oursin was in my mind bouillabaisse deconstructed to its base flavours.

Hats off at Becasse

Marc Veyrat, Le Ferme de Mon Pere – Le bar éclaté, laitance de chocolat blanc, sirop de citron vert et citronnelle was a gigantic let down for me. It was served with a paint brush to “paint” the mulloway with the lemon-lime gelee. I frankly don’t get it, it would have made sense if liberal application would change the texture or the flavour , but it made no difference and was rather gimmicky with minimum results. A huge disappointment for me was the fish itself. In texture it was between raw and steamed, with neither end being reached and the compromise was an unhappy one for: me, my paintbrush and the fish. I would love to know what the original dish taste like, because this was by far a very sad dish.

Hats off at Becasse

Andoni Aduriz, MugaritzA piece of veal, roasted and perfumed with vine cuttings and embers, cinders and salts with Joël Robuchon’s Paris mash and Marc Veyrat’s forgotten vegetables. Keep in mind that this was last meat dish of our degustation menu, yes we were incredibly hungry at this stage of the game. When the charred veal arrived, the first thing my dining companion noted was that it was a tiny, burnt little thing and we gazed even more sadly at the proportion of mash to be divided between the three of us. Like everything else throughout the evening, it was an interesting way to cook the food, but did not quite deliver a spectacularly different result that was mind blowing.

Hats off at Becasse

Raymond Blanc, Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons –  Soupe à la fraise avec un sorbet au lait. Was a refreshing contrast of tart and sweet and brought us into the most memorable part of the evening.

Hats off at Becasse

Alain Ducasse, Louise XV Monaco – Louise XV chocolate praline was an extravagantly rich chocolate praline. T commented that the size differential throughout this meal was somewhat puzzling, this chocolate praline was easily twice the size of the veal and nearly tipped us into a chocolate coma. What can I say? Dark, rich and probably more than a single person can cope with unlesss you’re I who asked for a second serving half seriously and was given one by our bemused waiter.

Hats off at Becasse

To top off the night we ordered some tea again surprised at how insanely huge their teapots are and wondered if this degustation menu’s plan was to stuff us silly with pastries and tea all along. There were three different types of petit fours: a vanilla friand, chocolate ganache macaroon and brand snap. The brandy snap was the most interesting in terms of texture and flavour, but I enjoyed the subtle sweetness of the friand the best. As much as I liked the idea of “Heroes and Master” this was a rather lackluster dinner in many respect. Considering it was a set menu, the dishes came at an incredibly slow rate with up to 40 minute pauses in between meals, being visited by a cocroach halfway through the meal was not the type of distraction we were looking for. I know that the intent was to experiment and pay homage to some of the greatest chefs in the world, but somewhere along the line the meal itself was forgotten and the concept took over. On the other hand service was fantastic and the same goes with the dessert and bread and made me think that going back to experience Becasse’s usual offering would help to wipe clean my memory of this meal.

Hats off at Becasse

Arola at Bentley (World Showcase Dinner)

World Showcase Dinner @ Bentley with Arola

One would think that one World Showcase Dinner in a month, let alone a year is enough to last for a while. Then again, if the experience was so great, why not repeat it? It’s a week after Bras at Quay, Y and I were the first to arrive for the World Showcase Dinner with Sergi Arola at Bentley in Surry Hills.

World Showcase Dinner @ Bentley with Arola

Aside from being well known for his restaurant Gastro, Arola was famous for training at the well known el Bulli and was considered to be even then, one of the most promising chef in the industry. When this is combined with Brent Savage’s of Bentley’s highly experimental approach to fine dining, I was expecting something rather extraordinary.

World Showcase Dinner @ Bentley with Arola

We started with Patatas Bravas and Ajo Blanco with Cherry Caviar ( both from Arola), Kingfish Ceviche with Pickled Daikon and Yuzu Mayonaise and Smoked Eel Parfait with White Soy and Seaweed Salad (Savage). This particular World Showcase Dinner came with matching wine for all courses and this one was the MV Lancelot-Pienne ‘Cuvee de Table Ronde’ from Cragmant Champagne.

World Showcase Dinner @ Bentley with Arola

World Showcase Dinner @ Bentley with ArolaI wasn’t quite sure how the partnership between Savage and Arola was going to play out until this first course arrived. When it did, it dawned on me that it wasn’t exactly a duet of styles, but more of a solo of their signature dishes appearing side by side. Looking around the web later on, I wasn’t suprised to see that the Patatas Bravas and Ajo Blanco with Cherry Caviar usually appeared on Arola’s menu. I personally would happily nibble on the Patatas Bravas with its cute aoili topping all night, there was something deliciously more-ish and simple about the little dish.

World Showcase Dinner @ Bentley with ArolaNext was Arola’s Scallop and Bacon Saugage, Jerusalem Artichoke and Smoked Scallop matched with the 2007 Marques De Riscal Limousin Verdejo, Rueda Spain. The bite sized sausage was surprisingly bacony (if there is such a word) had I ate it with my eyes closes it would not be surprising to believe I was eating bacon.

World Showcase Dinner @ Bentley with ArolaNext was Savage’s Black Sesame and Pea Fondant with Snow Peas and Goats Curd. We were a little puzzled with this one, noting the strong presence of licorice, but missing out on the Black Sesame flavour. Whilst pondering whether they managed to mix up licorice and black sesame in the kitchen I sipped the 2008 Keller Trocken Riesling, Rheinhessen Germany and discovered a whole new dish. The fruity sweetness of the wine perfectly balanced the strong licorice flavour of the dish.

By this stage in the evening the light was getting dimmer, the decor and the light combined threw shades of red on everything we ate and my photos became progressively more abstract.

World Showcase Dinner @ Bentley with Arola

The next dish was Arola’s Snapper Sandwich, Mango, Haricots Verts and a Rockfish Consome paired with 2008 Bodegas Campante ‘Gran Reboreda’ Treixadura Blend from Ribeiro Spain. It wasn’t the most memorable of dish to me, being basically pan fried snapper with fish stock.

I couldn’t say much about Savage’s Pork Belly and Bubble, Green Olive, Apple and Tonka paired with Sidra Extra Brut Lagar De Camin, Lavandera Spain. I can understand the idea behind matching pork with apple cider, apple and pork is a magical classic pairing after all, but I found the cider too overpowering for my poor pork belly topped with crackle and had to put it away.

Arola’s Foie Gras ‘coca’ with Roasted Bellpeppers paired with 2004 Marques De Velila Crianza Tempranillo, Ribera del Duero made up for the other two dishes. Described as a Spanish pizza it was a magical layering of a crusty base with caramelised capsicums.

World Showcase Dinner @ Bentley with Arola

Next was Savage’s Duck Breast with Sweet Corn, Pistachio and Asparagus paired with 2004 Muga ‘Reserva’ Tempranillo Garmacha, Rioja Spain. It was a nice dish, but after the high of the ‘coca’ it was somewhat of a let down. Perhaps the most noticeable difference between Bras at Quay and Arola at Bentley was the direction of the dishes as the night progressed. At Quay there was a definite theme and direction with each dish, whereas at Bentley it was rather like observing two very different performers on the same stage without quite knowing what the theme of the show was.

With dessert coming soon, I finally abandoned my manners and took out my flash. I hate taking it out when out in restaurants like Bentley, but thought a few discreet flash would hardly make a difference. The Seared and Marinated Watermelon, Hibiscus Infusion, Pomegranate Seeds and Green Tomato Ice Cream paired with the delicious lychee scented 2007 Fustanova Moscatel, Valencia Spain was a surprisingly savoury tast dessert with a hint of tomato.

World Showcase Dinnert @ Bentley with Sergi Arola

Reading the menu earlier in the night we speculated how Savage would present his Hazelnut White Chocolte and Blubery. I predicted it will turn up as a block whereas Y predicted a tube, when it arrived it turned out that we were both right. The white chocolate tube contained yogurt sauce that glide out when pierced. It was paired with 2004 Alain Brumont Pacherenc ‘Larmes Celestes’ from South West France.

World Showcase Dinnert @ Bentley with Sergi ArolaThe last dish for the night was Arola’s Dark Chocolate Mousse, coated in Mango Chutney and Toasted Sweetcorn, Coconut Espuma paired with the 2006 Castano Dulce Monastrell from Yecia Spain. I think Arola served this dish himself on the night. Instead of staying in the kitchen he was very much visible throughout the night making his ways to different tables. I remembered the fact that the chocolate mousse was not as dark as I would expect and the sweet corn was so subtle it appeared only for an instant on my tongue. If sight contributed to sensation when eating, I must confess I was eating blindly by this stage of the night and what you see on the photo with the aid of flash was not what I remembered on my plate.
World Showcase Dinnert @ Bentley with Sergi ArolaIt was close to eleven when we staggered out. There were some definite hits during the night, also dishes that didn’t quite work. At the same time it was a wonderful opportunity to be able to taste dishes that I would have to travel to the other side of the world to experience. The experience also reminded me how food and wine can be amazing when done right, and although I drink the occasional glass or two with my meal it made me rethink the idea  in a whole different light.

Bras at Quay

Bras at Quay

It’s Monday evening and I am on my way towards Circular Quay to join Y, M and Mitch for a World Chef Showcase dinner with Sebastiean Bras at Quay restaurant. On a day where most of are cursing the start of yet another work week, it is the unofficial day off for the lovely people in the hospitality industry. This partly explains the rather festive atmosphere floating in the air the moment I stepped through the door and noted the presence of food critics and chefs alike, but regardless of who you are that night, you were there to worship at the altar of gastronomy.

Bras at Quay

The event was part of SIFF’s World Chef Showcase. A first of its kind in Sydney’s gastronomy calendar, it partners some of Sydney’s best restaurants with world class chefs from around the world for an unforgettable dining experience. Priced at around $300 per head, it wasn’t the cheapest of dining experiences, but when considering the fact that you are able to eat at one of the top ten restaurants in the world without leaving the city it was an amazing deal.

My dining experience can be best summarised by Uhh:

Sebastian Bras at Quay
Bras, the restaurant he and his father Michel run in the centre of France is considered that country’s finest and one of the top 10 in the world. There they gather amongst other things local vegetables, herbs and flowers and combine them to dizzying effect. Sydney’s Quay is arguably Australia’s finest restaurant and it too has gained a worldwide reputation based on chef Peter Gilmore’s understanding of the natural. Those lucky enough to afford it will be treated to a six-course menu by these two like minded souls.

Bras at Quay

We started with a fresh apertiser consisting of vongole, burghul and goats curd. This simple, but beautifully balanced dish was a perfect introduction to the rest of the evening.

Bras at Quay

Next was the signature Gargouillou of young vegetables, with grains, herbs and grilled almond eggnog. Also known as the most beautiful combination of vegetables and petals on a plate, I’m sad that this photo did not it any justice aside from capturing the endearingly tiny baby radish. Each vegetable was braised individually to bring out its flavour, and it was unbelievable how much flavour each piece of piece packed in every bite.

Bras at Quay

Next was a feast of colours with juicy sauteed scallops on sugar -loaf cabbage, white apple and garden cress, apple juice and almond prune oil.

Bras at Quay

Next was the rather surprising orange dusted king prawns wit a vegetable broth and touch of coriander. I could barely remember the coriander from this dish, but I still remember the sweet orange dust on the side of the plate like edible fairy dust that burst in my mouth.

Bras at Quay

I should mention that although wines were not included as part of the meal, matching wines were thoughtfully recommended within the menu. I decided to have a glass of the 2007 Ramon Bilbao, Viura, Rioja, Spain with the next dish. Aptly named Earthly Flavour it consisted of green asparagus crusted with black truffles, toasted barley and ham. It reminded me of a mini haggis in appearance, but the flavour was smoky, green and very earthy. A complete turning point to the previous light and delicate flavours.

Bras at Quay

Next was the roast rack of lamb on the bone: chopped aromatic herbs, Mexican tarragon with salted lemon and slightly spiced sauce. It was beautifully done, but not the most memorable part of the meal. I wonder now if I had ordered the wine, it would have made the pairing more interesting.

Bras at Quay

There was a noticeable lag as we waited for the longest time for our cheese. During this time both Sebastien Bras and Peter Gilmore wandered around to say hello to all the diners. Too star struck to say anything I just watched them walk closer and closer to us.

Bras at Quay

Dessert could not come soon enough with the first being meringues shaped into the sails of the Opera House garnished with a palette of local fruit, rose petal and gentian. It was unexpected and eventhough shaping food in the form of the Opera House is sometimes trite, it seemed fitting this time around. I am not a big fan of meringue as a rule, but found this version not too sweet and matched brilliantly with the fruits and sugar coated rose petals.

Bras at QuayLast, but not least was the potato gaufrette nut brown butter cream and salted butter caramel. We grabbed a piece and munched on this crispy, sweet dessert with a satisfied crunch.

Bras at QuayThe time was close to midnight when we finished, I was full, but happy and could not think of a better way to start a week…

Spice I Am

Spice I AmWith the plethora of amazing food blogs scattered around Sydney, sometimes I wonder whether the world needs another review on yet another Sydney restaurant. Particularly when sites like Not Quite NigellaChocolatesuze and Grab Your Fork are so well written with their own quirky personalities. Then ofcourse sites such as A Table for Two are just so beautifully shot and laid out that it’s a feast for the eyes. I still can’t figure out how Billy managed to take photos from the incredibly dimly lit Est. and believe that he possesses magical powers.

Spice I AmDespite my blog envy, at the end of the day there is never any harm to reaffirm to the online world treasured finds such as Spice I Am. Located on the other side of Central and just a hop and skip away from Surry Hills, Spice I Am is something of an institution winning an impressive list of awards as an Authentic Thai restaurant. Such is their success that they opened a bigger restaurant in Darling Hurst. I have yet to visit their new restaurant, but the word of mouth is that although the new Spice I Am’s menu is almost identical to the original restaurant they hike up the price and lowered the portion size accordingly.

Spice I AmIn any case, their original restaurant is still true to form. We started with the Homok (steamed fish in banana leaves), so moist that it was just unbeliavable. This was followed by their Som tum (green papaya salad), the perfect combination of hot chilli and sour taste explosion.

Spice I AmThen there was the fried rice along to go with the ridicilously more-ish Basil Crispy Pork Belly, so tender and moist with the most magical combination of sauce to pork coverage. It’s difficult not to write about it without licking my lips in fond remembrance. We probably ordered more than enough for three people, but struggled on with the Pla Sam Rot (deep fried whole fish topped with sweet and sour chili sauce).

Spice I Am

Spice I AmEverything was just balanced perfectly with no flavour overpowering the other in this very authentic Thai restaurant, and rather affordable too with mains from $14. There will be a queue if you are planning on rocking up for dinner, but the wait is worth it.

PS: Talking about food, submissions for Like Mum Used to Make ends this week!

Spice I am
90 Wentworth Ave.
Surry Hills
Sydney 2010

Trading Hours
Tuesday – Sunday
Lunch: 11:30 AM – 3:30 PM
Dinner: 6:00 PM – 10:00