The truffle fromage d’affinois and sweet potato ticked all the boxes. It really was a lovely tasty and pretty combination of flavours and textures.Read More
The Risotto taleggio e asparagi - stunning and delicious with fresh green chargrilled asparagus & creamy taleggio cheese sauce.Read More
The cannoli mortadella were light, full of flavour and a mouthful that makes you think 'wow!', these were a fantastic start to our degustation.Read More
2 Danks St
The Devon brand in Sydney is well known from their original spot on Devonshire Street in Surry Hills.
Their newer venture - Devon on Danks - is already attracting the same attention. Innovative food and drinks is the order of the day at both places.
The fit out is warming - lots of timber combined with a minimalist industrial feel as well. It's certainly inviting and comfy.
We were there for a bloggers evening to taste their new Miyagi-San menu - a degustation of new Devon goodies that had us excited straight away. An added bonus was the pairings with both sakes from family business Sakenet as well as brews from the well known guns of brewing, Young Henry's. It was going to be a good night - no - a great night!
This was paired nicely with Young Henry's
A tasty serving of lightly spiced salmon tartare sitting on top of fried wantons was next to arrive.
The crunch of the wantons exploded when we bit into them and combined so well with the tasty fresh salmon.
These bite sized treats went down well and had great flavours.
Possibly the dish of the night for Mlady was the agedashi tofu. It was light, delicate and had lovely flavours.
It was also a work of art in its own right - such beautiful plating making it almost a shame to eat.
The Young Henry's Real Ale went well with this and the next dishes.
Ever had pig tails??? We have a few times before but not lots.
These were done with a sticky sauce that takes four days to reduce.
They're served with deep fried bread and it was Sirs favourite for the night.
He ate way more than his fair share!
Sir again dug in as his inner carnivore appeared yet again. The meat was delicious and there was plenty of it too.
It was nicely paired with Young Henry's rich and dark hop ale - a favourite of Mlady's!
Crab and egg white were beautifully mixed then topped with egg yolk and a sphere of black vinegar.
We then smashed and mixed the "spheres" into the light combination below. It was another winner.
Then an even more unusual finale - baked eggplant topped with a crumble mix and all tasting like a caramel crunchy combo. The miso ice cream went well.
Sir and Mlady dined as guests of Devon on Danks. Special thanks to Young Henry's and Sakenet for the great pairings. Big thanks also to Carla Monforte from Wasamedia for this invitation.
141 Longueville Rd
Lane Cove, Sydney
If you live in Sydney and love pizza then the odds are that you've heard of Via Napoli. It's an institution in Sydney - and it's one that is spreading its wings too. They already have restaurants in Lane Cove and Hunters Hill and they're about to open a third in Surry Hills.
This place has charm and atmosphere. It'd very Italian - in fact they make it a point of being overtly Italian - but it's done well and everyone seems to love it.
Most of the seating is outside, but don't let that cause you concern. Even on a cold night it's still warm and comfy there with all the heating, awnings and plastic curtaining.
Starters are an essential part of almost any meal. We decided to try two of their most popular offerings. Firstly we had the mozzarella impanata - or crumbed fried mozzarella. These large rounds crumbed but gooey pieces of rich and tasty goodness are delicious. It's easy to see why they're so heavily ordered and they come in a very decent sized serving as well with three large pieces. Then we moved on to the spaccanapoli - crispy pancetta wrapped around molten smoked buffalo mozzarella and all sprinkled with black pepper. These were delicious - crisp and salty yet gooey and rich all in one.
The specialty of the house is of course their pizza's. There are plenty of choices too - in terms of toppings and in terms of size. The pizza's come in lengths up to 2 metres! We chose a 1 metre version with three toppings and it was massive. Our toppings were Margherita (San Marzano tomato, buffalo mozzarella, basil and olive oil), Crudo e Rucola (fior di latte, prosciutto parma, rocket, Parmesan and basil on a white base) and finally Capricciosa (San Marzano tomato, fior di latte, ham, mushrooms, basil and olives). With a name like Via Napoli (with Naples of course being the home of pizza) the offerings here are Neapolitan in style with the softer moister bases. These were delicious.
Service at Via Napoli is excellent and they do go the extra mile here - and it shows. It's popular all week and all year round so book - but it's certainly well worth visiting.
Alma Bar and Kitchen
66 Stanley St
Top Portuguese food in the heart of Sydney - yes please we both say! Due to our passion for Portuguese food we're actually visiting Lisbon in a month as part of our European food odyssey. It was a must on our itinerary. However, we were given an early taste of what to expect with the great Portuguese food available right in the heart of Sydney at Alma. It's deceptively big too - with a quaint area at street level and another beautifully decorated larger level upstairs. We sat on the upper level looking out over Darlinghurst and watching the movement on Stanley Street below us. Very pleasant.
Owners Michelle and Tania have put a lot of time and effort into Alma, and it shows. The decor, wine list and food is all so very appealing and the service is effortlessly efficient and very friendly from start to finish.
Aren't olives a great start to any meal! They're perfect just to nibble on, sip and drink (or two) and trawl through the menu of the restaurant you're dining in? The house marinated olives here at Alma certainly lived up to expectations. We used the nibble time to look at the menu to anticipate what was to come and to chat with resident sommelier Vincenzo about our wine tastes so he could weave his magic with matching wines.
Bacalhau (codfish) - famous for its ability to be cooked in over 1,000 ways, how its cooked on any given day is always the chefs choice ..... As you may know, bacalhau is almost a staple of Portugal and its neighbour Spain. It's such a traditional food there that it's not a surprise to see it on the menu - it would be a surprise not to! This was such a tasty version too, this time matched with a red for Mlady that was chilled to keep the acidity down and a Southern white for Sir.
Our next dish was again plated beautifully - and pork belly is always just so popular with Sir anyway!
It was described simply as crispy pork belly, frangelico, hazelnut, veggies.
Again it was pretty with a virtual palette of colours on the plate and all so tasty all in one - and the pork belly being cooked for 7 hours won Sir over instantly!
A mint and brandy cocktail for Mlady and then some moscato as our dessert wine capped off a memorable food and wine journey.
Alma Bar and Kitchen is such a charming place.
The street appeal of the place grabs you straight away, but it gets even better once inside. Then there's the food of Chef Ricardo - it's a journey you'll want to take! Of course, Vincenzo will then beautifully match wines for you and there's the cocktails from Osh as well.
It has it all and is deservedly gaining a great reputation as a hidden treasure.
Sir and Mlady dined as guests of Alma Bar and Kitchen. Special thanks to owners Michelle and Tania for inviting us and making us even happier that we're visiting Portugal soon! A big thanks also to Ricardo for his great food, Vincenzo for his excellent wine pairing and Osh for the lovely cocktails.
Level 8 Swissotel Sydney
JPB is the revamped and renewed restaurant on level 8 inside the Swissotel in Sydney CBD.
Now under the guidance of Executive Chef Thomas Heinrich, who has a strong pedigree both overseas and locally, there's a whole new menu that is produce driven and creative at the same time. It's a great combination that results in some exciting dishes that you remember well after your visit.
Firstly though, JPB is on Level 8 - which is actually the lobby level of the Swissotel in the CBD.
You just take the lift up from their Market St entrance and it's on the far side of the lobby where a window seat lets you gaze up at Centrepoint and the city lights. The daytime view is just as nice too.
JPB looks bigger than its seating of 80 people suggests - but this probably just reflects how well spaced out the tables are. There's another room upstairs that seats a further 30 to 40 people.
Our nibbles started with a big bowl of fresh chickpeas mixed with garlic and chilli.
What an great start - they were so fresh and tasty as well as looking beautiful piled in their bowl -it was almost a shame to eat them (but we did anyway)! It was such a simple combination to snack on while we studied the menu - and it's always good to nibble while doing this!
Mlady had a gin sour made from Oxford Scholar gin and lemon juice with egg white, frou frou lemon and lemon myrtle. It was a twist on the classic that she really enjoyed. Sir had a Ned Kelly gun fire - a very tasty twist on a first settlers drink - made from pickled Illawarra plum and holey dollar gold rum with black tea.
A serving of robust house made individual dampers with subtle lobster dipping sauce was again unique and a nice companion.
Oysters are always a great snack to start a meal in earnest or even as an entree of course. The oysters here are either Sydney rock or Pacific and they are served in a variety of ways - natural, cucumber mignotti, kilpatrick, seaweed or watermelon foam. It's hard to know where to start - they all sounded so good! A selection of specialty salts on the table allowed even more variation - with suggestions on when you might like to use them.
The milk poached white asparagus sounded interesting.
It was also a lovely combination of textures and flavours - but it's important to make sure that you use the sauce drizzle surrounding the meal on the plate - it goes so well.
This dish had it all and was lovely.
Contrasts of textures, colours and flavours abound here giving each dish a diverse mix and yet combines beautifully to create an experience that teases the taste buds at every mouthful and delights the diner. This dish was yet another example of this.
The scallops with chard baby fennel, corn, pork rinds and honeydew was another creative combination. The juicy plump scallops were presented so nicely with delicate accompaniments surrounding them almost artfully.
This may have been wagyu but unfortunately we can't exactly remember the meat and cut.
It was beautifully cooked though - pink and juicy as can be seen from the picture - and the presentation was again so pretty. The meat was extremely tender too.
It was again nicely presented and she loved it.
Sir and Mlady dined as guests of JPB and Swissotel. Special thanks to Executive Chef Thomas Heinrich for his lovely food, Annika and Emi for looking after us so well and Lauren Kekwick for arranging our visit so capably.
86 Abercrombie St
The name says it all. This is a very diverse place! First of all you have Zigi Ozeri, the live wire host and owner. Not surprisingly he matches the place - quirky, lively and fun! Even though it's called an Art Wine Cheese Bar it has great food as well with an Ausraeli theme - but adding "Restaurant" may make the name just to long.
The people at the table next to us were there on on a cheese journey. They were having five different cheeses - each matched with a different wine - and they were loving it. Another group were in the front bar for drinks. Others were there for pre-dinner drinks and nibbles while some were there to dine for the night, like us. Later on even more people arrived for a night cap. Zigi's is diverse.
One of the specialties of the house is the handmade labne cheese sprinkled with za'ater, drizzled with olive oil and served with pita.
This was so smooth and so tasty.
We love labne and this was certainly one of the best we've had. The za'ater and olive oil added even more complexity and a bit of texture. Fortunately there was plenty of it too. Yum.
Next was something seafood - but with a twist.
The falafel prawns were served with an amba relish and a paprika emulsion. The falafel enveloped and went nicely with the prawns. The crisp outer and soft texture inside was a delight.
The amba relish - a mango based sauce that is often served with falafel - that the prawns rested on, was also delicious.
The seared scallops with chorizo soil was another tasty and unique dish.
The white chorizo soil was surprisingly subtle, going very well with the scallops without overpowering their delicate flavour.
The scallops were perfectly cooked too, with a light hand in the kitchen ensuring they were served "just right".
The wow dish of the night in terms of appearance would have undoubtedly been the beetroot mille feuille.
It looked simply spectacular with its splashes of different colours and joyously it all tasted just as good as well.
It came with feta mousse, basil chips and a dotted drizzle of citrus vinaigrette.
The venue is quite large, but separated into many different areas. You enter into the bar area from the side street, but this leads through one way into the dining area while the other way takes you into the massive kitchen that is also used for regular cooking classes. Upstairs is a private dining room and also where the art is displayed. And of course you can't go to Ziggi's without noticing the man himself. He's everywhere and such a character!
There's always something happening, and always something different to look forward to! The quality of the food and drinks were worth the visit alone!
The cooking school details are here: https://www.facebook.com/ZIGISCookingSchool
Sir and Mlady dined as guests of Ziggi's Art Wine Cheese Bar. Special thanks to Zigi Ozeri for arranging our visit and for being such dynamic host.
Carnival Spirit Cruise Ship
Out Of Sydney
The Carnival Spirit is a big ship with plenty of food options on board. It's amazing how personal and tailored they can make this considering they have around 2,000 passengers on board. But they do achieve this!
One of the more unique and exclusive choices is the Chef's Table which is limited to just 12 people. It's an experience that is certainly worth it if you get a chance.
Executive Chef Daniel Arulraj runs a big team on board the Carnival Spirit yet still manages to stay involved at a personal level as well. The Chef's Table is an evening of spectacular food and lovely wines in a private room with excellent service and even entertainment. It's also extremely informative as well.
The Chef's Table evening started by meeting in the lounge bar area where we were greeted with a glass of champagne - we were off to a good start already!
We were then taken to the kitchen where Daniel Arulraj meets you all and explains a bit about how the food side of the Carnival Spirit works.
It's a real eye opener as it's a huge operation.
Then, much to our delight, Daniel showed us how they make their delicious warm chocolate melting cake - and to top it off he even gave us the recipe! We're certainly going to give this a go at home.
While in the kitchen we also had canapes. We started with a lovely prime beef taco with avocado cream and tomato salsa.
Then it was some delicious duck pot stickers with a mushroom oyster glaze.
Finally we had my favourite canape - the crayfish and sundried tomato jam fritters. These were amazing!
We then left the kitchen and moved to a private room, with a beautifully decorated table. The first food to arrive after we were seated was a delicious brioche with a whole garlic clove baked into the top. Lovely.
This was closely followed by "Tomatoes Our Way" described as aerated tomato juice, cocoa butter coated and chardonnay poached. It was elegant and tasty.
The Southern Bluefin tuna banh mi was listed in our menu as lemon bread, sesame crisp, miso cream and avocado gel. It was so much more than this though - the textures were so delicate and it was the same with the flavours!
The next dish was spatchcock that was caramelised and came with butternut squash and sofrito. Again presentation was immaculate and the food impeccable.
The Barramundi was again a beautifully presented dish.
It was served with herb pesto, cured tomatoes, carrots, fava, mushroom earth and condensed beets.
The fish was lightly cooked retaining its moisture nicely and we just loved the condensed beets for both their appearance and taste.
It was a slow stewed short rib with potato pebbles, pumpkin fudge and tomato dust.
The meat was so soft and tender that it literally fell apart.
Again, as with every dish for the evening, presentation was excellent.
Our final course in this amazing degustation was of course dessert.
The chocolate 32C came with aerated pistachio and mango cake, marscapone cream and guava and caramel praline.
It was a sweet spectacular finale to a wonderful dinner.
342 Darling St
The Cottage is almost like a little bit of Surry Hills but transported into Balmain. The place isn't big yet it uses its space so well to create a multitude of different areas to accommodate quite a few customers - and it's charm, drinks and food are attracting plenty of regulars. Set well back from the road in the growing foodie hub of Balmain, it has a front courtyard that almost has an English country garden appearance with tables well spread out under a canopy of leafy branches. There's a long cocktail, wine and beer list to meet most desires. Similarly with the food menu, they have oysters, plenty of very interesting share plates, wood fired pizza's, some delicious cheeses and a few desserts to cap a great night off!
We were there for their Winter menu launch to sample the food and sip their cocktails - tough gig!
It included (pictured at left) mushrooms stuffed with barley, dried fruit herbs and chevre which Mlady devoured , maple and cider beef brisket with celeriac crisps and horseradish cream which had great flavours, oysters served with lemon and Merlot vinaigrette which I enjoyed and finally tasty arancini balls of tomato, smoked mozzarella and Parmesan.
The final cocktail available for the launch was a Lemon and Basil Gimlet made from citron vodka and lemoncello shaken with fresh basil, lemon and lime.
The Cottage is a lovely spot. It has a comfy charm to it - creating plenty of spaces to sit back and relax in. The drinks are good with plenty to choose from and so is the food which is both interesting and tasty.
Sir and Mlady were invited to the Winter Menu Launch which was a private function. Special thanks to The Cottage and to Olivia Warne and Jo Steuart of Pendulum Communications for inviting us.
249 Bondi Rd
Fat Ruperts is a young concern in more ways than one. It hasn't been around a long while and the staff all seem young as well - but they have a passion, energy and enthusiasm that clearly shows through in every aspect of their work.
The place is small, only seating 60 people, and has a nice friendly feel to it. It's a bar and a restaurant all in one - depending on what you want it to be. The name is unique and memorable. Fat Rupert is not a person - its a dog. In fact it's their dog - who is known for his energy and love for life so the name is apt for this fun, lively place.
Sitting on a corner there's a long bar, inside seating and a few tables outside as well - so you can watch the world go by.
Choosing your food is hard here as everything sounds good, so we ended up having the Tasting Menu (as a lot of others around us did). We started with freshly house-made sourdough bread that arrived with some lovely Pepe Saya butter.
It was actually char-grilled cauliflower, hummus, cumin seeds, parsley and pecorino.
Cauliflower on its own can be a bit boring but this had tang, great flavour combinations and was simply "yum". The inclusion of hummus went extremely well with this dish and was a great addition.
It was nicely presented in a jar and had a lovely mix of different layers of colours inside.
It had a degree of showmanship with it as well as the passionfruit half floating on top was flambeed.
As it turned out Mlady stole it from me and finished most of it - the hide of her!!!
This brazen theft was probably due to me having a paired glass of 2012 Pinot Gris from Villa Wolf with the dish.
Sean is happy to pair wines or cocktails with your food and we simply sat back and trusted his judgement which turned out to be a great decision.
I'll almost always choose a cured salmon dish but fortunately this was already part of the Tasting Menu - heaven! The beetroot cured King salmon came with watercress, grilled leeks and plenty of dill labneh dolloped on top. It was colourful, vibrant and had great flavours. Again Mlady fought me for this one - and won!
It was paired with a tasty 2012 Margaret River Chardonnay from Roustabout.
You could smell the lovely honey, the slaw was rich and creamy and it was a generous serving. A truly tasty dish that we devoured. Most tables seemed to order this dish!
They were cutely served on a wooden board. They seemed small at first but this was deceptive as they actually turned out to be quite substantial.
We love our desserts and even though the choices here are designed for two to share we grabbed two - enough for four people! The brownie was moist and tasty with a light crust encasing an amazing soft chocolate filling. The vanilla bean ice cream was a great accompaniment. We also had the cheesecake of the day which was a strawberry cheesecake this day. It was soft and creamy and very tasty. We struggled to finish it all though - and a glass of Pedro Ximenez (liquid gold) made it even harder.
Owner Aaron Pearce can be justifiably proud of what he has put together at Fat Ruperts.
Sir and Mlady were guests of Fat Ruperts. Thanks to Aaron Pearce for inviting us. Special thanks to Sean, Iggy for his magical food and Tiffany and Sam for looking after us so well.
112 Majors Bay Rd
Antoine's Grill is a lovely French restaurant situated in the rapidly growing food district of Concord. Owned by chef Antoine Moscovitz and his partner Sam, it provides a modern take on traditional French cuisine. Antoine has an impressive list of achievements - he cooked under world renowned chef Alain Ducasse at La Cour Jardin in Paris and was appointed private chef to the House of Roederer Cristal Champagne. In Sydney he was at Salt restaurant with Luke Mangan and Bather’s Pavilion at Balmoral Beach with Serge Dansereau.
Antoine's Grill is a long narrow room that has the charm of a Parisienne restaurant with authentic decorations from Antoine's grandmothers collection adorning the walls. It has charm and warmth and makes you feel like you've been transported to France.
The lovely butter that sat in a small pot on the board went perfectly.
Throw in a nice drop of Morgon Beaujolais from Domaine Lathuiliere-Gravallon - a winery founded in 1822 and you have a wonderful start to a French cuisine journey.
This was grilled Yamba tiger prawns with green papaya and creamy feta served with gazpacho.
The thick juicy prawn pieces arrived in a bowl which then had the cold gazpacho poured on it.
The whole combination was lovely.
The next delicacy to arrive were scallops with baby carrot, carrot puree and foie gras.
The plump juicy scallops were beautifully cooked with a light touch that preserved the flavour and texture.
The sweet carrot puree went nicely and the lovely baby carrot garnish added a playful touch - and we'd never seen one this small before!
The delicate quail was again lightly cooked which kept it moist and juicy and the blend of flavours all combined beautifully.
Nothing overpowered anything in this dish - it was perfectly balanced!
The earthiness of the wild mushrooms and black truffle went so well with the risotto.
The light taste of the mint mousse added another playful touch to the appearance and taste of the whole dish.
We then had a lovely serving of crispy skinned barramundi with potato fondant and preserved lemon.
The pureed preserved lemon was a delicious partner to the salmon.
Fortunately, the skin lived up to it's billing of being crispy as well - as not every place does end up achieving this! The fish was also cooked perfectly.
I was lucky enough to also have this topped with a pork rib - to sample this as well. The pork simply melted - it was so tender and fell off the bone!
The quality of the plating of the dishes we had was exceptional - and matched with the tastes and textures of the food! And we were filling up!
A good meal needs a good dessert to finish it off - and the Café gourmand on the menu is this and more! What a selection! It comes with a miniature lemon tart, chocolate vanilla profiterole, Baileys scented crème brûlée, chocolate velvet fondant and a deconstructed cheese cake. It was all delicious and quite a big finale to the meal in taste and quantity.
We also managed to sample their miniature "magnums" which were simply fantastic.
We'd spied some lovely "egg carton like" dishes going past at different times during the night and it turned out to be a great selection of creme brulees.
Even though we were almost bursting by now we decided that we just had to try them.
The "six pack" - or creme brulee six ways - has six varieties of creme brulee - caramel, chocolate, lemon marshmallows, orange, bourbon vanilla and quince. If you love brulee - like we do - you'll be in brulee heaven with this dish!
A garnish of a hollowed out egg shell on a nest turned out to be more than a decoration. The nest the egg was perched on was in fact a light delicate fairy floss. What a great finish to an amazing meal!
|Sam and Antoine Moscovitz|
Sir and Mlady dined as guests of Antoine's Grill. Special thanks to Sam and Antoine. Thanks also to Thomas, Zahra and David for looking after us on our visit.