The Pane had prawns, calamari, scallops, mussels, salmon caviar and pasta in cream sauce in a round roll. Seriously, such a great dish.Read More
Endeavour Tap Rooms are in Sydney’s famous Rocks area in a lovely building that once housed Sydney’s longest running colonial hotels.Read More
Seafood from wall to wall - and then so much more as well - and those desserts - OMG! This buffet is such a treat!Read More
A very different type of waffle this time - with beef brisket, smoked chilli, butter and poached eggs on top - mmmmm.Read More
Museum of Contemporary Art
140 George St
The Rocks, Sydney
Pop up bars are becoming more and popular so when we heard about the Gin Garden, a pop up bar in the outdoor terrace of Sydney’s famous Museum of Contemporary Art, we knew we just had to visit. Lucky for us, we were invited to attend the Gin Garden’s opening night.
The MCA is famously located at The Rocks, right on the Harbour’s shore, with some breathtaking views of the Opera House and Sydney skyline. It has a café and a few private function rooms upstairs, but the pop up Gin Garden is located downstairs, on the ground floor in the outdoor terrace.
The launch of the Gin Garden, the Museum’s first ever pop up bar coincides with the launch of MCA’s Sydney International Art Series exhibition Grayson Perry: My Pretty Little Art Career – the first major survey in the Southern hemisphere of the works of one of Britain’s most acclaimed contemporary artists. It’s well worth a visit if you enjoy contemporary art and the Gin Garden is a perfect place to have an after drink.
We arrived early on a weeknight and we can tell you, this place was going off. An elegant shady oasis with flora lined walls, this Grayson Perry themed pop up bar screams British pomp. The DJ was camouflaged behind a stylish gramophone and was pumping out some groovy tunes.
We started off with a gin cocktail (of course) a refreshing summer breeze with lime juice and gin from the artisan Sydney distillery Archie Rose. It’s a perfect summer cocktail and very refreshing. We were very impressed with the smoothness of the gin so much that when we went back to the bar, we asked for the same cocktail again, which the bartenders happily made, to order.
Whilst we were waiting for our beautiful cocktails to be made, trays of hors d'oeuvres were being served. We tried some very interesting smashed peas and feta crackers and bite size duck eggs with smoked trout. We also saw some Oysters being served but we weren’t quick enough for that tray Unlike the Archie Rose artisan Gin, these mouth watering hors d'oeuvres were only available for the opening and aren’t part of the usual menu (unfortunately).
The Counts, who review for Sir and Mlady Dine Out, were guests of the MCA.
69 George St
The Rocks, Sydney
These days you see quite a few 2 for 1 deals around. Heaps of places offer two for one meals or two for one drinks. Well, at The Observer Hotel, you get two pubs in one. That's right, the Observer Hotel is literally two pubs made into one. The Observer Hotel was founded in 1908 and combined two establishments, the Observers Tavern and the Waterman's Arms. Situated in Sydney's famous Rocks, where the Harbour Bridge is a stone's throw away, the Observer Hotel stands nestled in the cobbled narrow streets where patrons have come and gone for more than 100 years!
The Counts arrived for dinner on a Friday evening and the place was quite busy. The Observer Hotel is quite a large venue with quite a few different 'spaces'. There is a large al fresco dining area at the front, a main bar inside with ample seating behind it and another great al fresco dining area around the back.
There are quite a few tables which makes it easy to sit and enjoy a meal with friends. Some nights they have live music and this evening some lovely tunes were being sung by a lovely lady in the front room.
Count N chose a lovely Italian Sangiovese Rose whilst Count J went for his usual, a glass of Pinot Grigio.
Rose wine is a great alternative to red as its not as heavy and Sangiovese Rose has a nice berry or fruity touch but with a long dry finish. Definitely a favourite of ours!
It was time for some food though and although we'd looked at a copy of the menu, we already knew what we were going to have. You see, if you like burgers, then The Observer Hotel is the place for you (and we LOVE burgers). It has been voted as one of the top 5 burger joints by Time Out Magazine, SMH Good Food Guide and the Daily Telegraph. Quite impressive.
It was quite a task trying to choose which burger to have, There probably would be more than 20 on offer but we managed to finally choose two burgers and we also ordered some salt and pepper squid (just as a snack).
The salt and pepper squid was crispy and bite sized, so it was a bit like pop corn chicken, only squid. The sauce was creamy and definitely a good dipping agent for the seafood.
It also had rocket in it which gave it bit of a peppery kick.
It was a massive and tasty burger and well positioned to satisfy the biggest of hungers.
Our burgers were served with chips and our choice of salad. We both chose the spicy, coleslaw, which was crispy, tangy and yes, spicy but in hindsight Count N maybe should have chosen a milder salad given his burger was also spicy. Nonetheless, the salad was delicious and most importantly, fresh.
The Counts, who review for Sir and Mlady Dine Out, dined as guests of The Observer Hotel. Special thanks to Claire McPherson of CPM Online Marketing Solutions for this invitation.
Harbour Rocks Hotel - MGallery Literary Event
34 Harrington St
The Rocks, Sydney
The Harbour Rocks hotel is a lovely beautifully restored and appointed 59 room hotel nestled in Sydney’s famous Rocks precinct. Literally a stone throw’s away from the iconic Harbour Bridge and a short walk down to the Opera House and Circular Quay, The Harbour Rocks Hotel is a perfect choice for any type of Sydney stay, business or pleasure.
The Harbour Rocks hotel is part of the MGallery Collection where each hotel is inspired by one of three themes: Heritage, Style or Signature (our guess is this hotel falls under heritage).
This evening The Counts had the privilege of attending a most special event, part of the MGallery Literally Collection series, an intimate dinner with award winning author, Alison Croggon. Alison, who has written everything from opera Libretto to fantasy novels, is the perfect guest at any dinner table and tonight she was seated at ours. To say we were excited, is an understatement.
The Harbour Rocks hotel has a very impressive heritage dining room which, for this evening, was converted into a private dining room for the occasion.
The dining table was custom made from Australian wood with seating for about 15 people, enhancing the intimate effect of the evening. There was an impressively long mirror on the wall just above us which was the perfect enhancement for such a lovely room, tiled at such an angle so that we could see the entire table.
We then took our seats and along the beautifully set table was the menu for this evening. A scrumptious 3 course meal with matching wines.
Oh life is good.
Dessert was quite extraordinary as it was a clever twist on a couple of classics. Banana creme brûlée served with peanut brittle Ice cream. To say the dessert was amazing is an understatement. The creamy texture of the perfectly cooked creme Brûlée was enhanced by fresh banana, and the peanut brittle ice cream was a heavenly combination of crunch and softness. This was one dessert that had us scrapping our plates!
Such an intimate experience at the Harbour Rocks Hotel, with a menu and wine list to rival any other fine dining establishment. It's sure to satisfy any appetite or mood. But good food isn't the only thing on offer here, with a great bar and private outdoor area, it's also a great choice for an after work drink. Combine this with the boutique style rooms on offer and you have yourself a pretty impressive city-stay package, We'll definitely be back!
The Counts, who review for Sir and Mlady Dine Out, dined as guests of the Harbour Rocks Hotel. Big thanks to Janelle Neeve of Accor Hotels for the invitation.
Pier One Sydney Harbour
11 Hickson Rd
Walsh Bay, Sydney
There’s a kind of magic about Pier One, tucked away under the beautiful Harbour Bridge at Walsh Bay.
We entered the stunning bar area and took a couple of glasses outside to the comfy lounge seats.
Sunset, sparkling city lights and sparkling wine – a great start to the evening!
The Gantry is a very stylish waterfront venue with indoor and outdoor seating.
The menu was very tempting and we decided to start with a selection from the “seafood counter” which is a real feature here.
The Hervey Bay Scallops with lemongrass, kaffir lime and coconut were brilliantly cooked, as was the Moreton Bay Bug.
The flavours didn’t overpower the fresh seafood tastes.
We both thought this was great seafood.
The chef obviously knows how to get it right.
Both were works of art as they were plated so beautifully.
The lovely bone marrow dish was a smokey and delicious indulgence which we also managed to mop up with the crisp and flavoursome sourdough bread.
The spanner crab wasn't far behind either in terms of looks and taste.
The mains were the Mirool Creek Lamb Chops and the Snowy Mountain Duck.
They were both cooked well (pink) but the lamb was the winner here, with lovely artichoke and garlic accompaniments.
On the side, we had some good crispy beetroot homefries and a salad which blew us away. Made from rocket, Tarwin blue cheese, pear prosciutto and walnuts, the combination was a standout.
Great flavours and textures.
The Valhrona Chocolate Tart was a little magic bomb of dark choc and the meringue was well suited.
Then we had the Ebenezer Goats Milk Pudding. It was so good with the rhubarb crumble and that lovely chunk of honeycomb.
We also felt the need to try the Macadamia Polenta Cake.
That was also really good – quite a creative and tasty dessert.
We both would rate our overall experience at The Gantry extremely highly.
The food was great, the location was amazing and the staff were very helpful and knowledgeable. We would certainly recommend this place.
Those Dames, who are now doing reviews for Sir and Mlady Dine Out, dined as guests of Pier One. Special thanks to Freya from Pier One Sydney Harbour for the invitation. Our thanks also to the lovely Zoe and Micolle for their service and input.
11 Hickson Rd
Walsh Bay, Sydney
The new chic signature restaurant making waves (and looking out over them) at Pier One is The Gantry. Their Executive Chef, Christopher Irving, brings a wealth of pedigree and experience here, having cooked for the Queen, the Beckhams (as their private chef) and worked with Gordon Ramsay. It's a CV that gets any appetite excited and mouths watering.
The Gantry has both indoor and outdoor seating and makes the most of its prime location right on the edge (and in fact over) Sydney Harbour. There's also a lovely bar area with comfy lounge seating - or bar seating - and again more of those water views.
The building itself is over 100 years old. It has so much history and even has old celebrities names in the cement outside.
Whilst the name is a clear nod to the Beckhams, it also stands for Pier One Sydney Harbour. Nice touch.
This was a great and healthy start - having quinoa, artichoke, orange, pomegranate and hazelnut.
She loved it.
This was extremely good - in fact exceptional. It had crispy shallots and garlic, blackcurrants and kaffir lime - giving it crunch and a slight tang but oh so subtle.
Mlady had a lovely Terrazas Malbec, Vistalba Terrace Mendoza 2012 and Sir had a fuller 2013 Penley Estate, Phoenix Cabernet Coonawarra SA.
It was time for our main courses next and Mlady kept in theme with the waterfront location and chose the Cone Bay barramundi.
It was perfectly cooked and arrived served with eureka lemon, gremolata, silver beet and crispy diced chats.
We also had rocket with Annie Baxter buffalo milk cheese - so simple but great a flavour combination.
Sir has this thing for duck, as readers of these pages will know.
Therefore it wasn't a surprise that he chose the jumjum Muscovy duck.
This was served with Hawksbury carrots and cabbage and a lovely citrus glaze.
He was extremely impressed with the flavours of the dish, and the duck was beautifully cooked too.
The second side dish we had was so unique and delicious all in one. It was beetroot home fries - deep fried beetroot wedges served with a killer dill mayonnaise. We'd never had deep fried beetroot before and somewhat surprisingly it worked brilliantly.
The Vahlrona chocolate tart came with quince in it and was served with a meringue vanilla ice cream. It was a great big chocolate hit for the real chocolate lovers and Mlady the chocoholic loved it. Sir went for a lighter dessert, the Reiby Farms apple parfait. It was beautifully presented and made with Pepe Saya mascarpone, coconut and coriander, giving it a tropical feel.
Sir and Mlady dined as guests of The Gantry. Special thanks to Zoey for looking after us so well and also to Chris Irving for the great food. Big thanks also to Sophie Muir of The Mint Partners for arranging our visit.
(Inside the Four Seasons Hotel)
199 George St,
Pei Modern has been in Melbourne for a while. It sits up in the Paris end of Collins street inside the Sofitel Hotel and has developed a strong reputation and local following. Well late last year its sister restaurant, also called Pei Modern, opened its doors in Sydney. Again, it's inside a hotel, this time the iconic Four Seasons Hotel Sydney on George Street at the start of The Rocks area. Pei Modern is an elegant space, expansive but not overbearing, nicely decorated but not over done.
It has an upmarket feel to it yet still manages to be relaxed and comfortable at the same time.
Mark Best was again behind opening Pei Modern in Sydney, as he did in Melbourne. Also from Pei Modern in Melbourne is the new chef for Sydney - Matt Germanchis. They have put together a diverse and diversified menu with plenty for every taste. Pei Modern is open lunch Monday to Friday and Dinner Monday to Saturday and a "Quick Lunch" menu of 2 courses plus coffee for only $35 is a bargain.
If you've read our write ups before you'd know about our lust for croquettes. It's one of the reasons Spain and Portugal are also on our Europe itinerary in a few months. The salt cod croquettes here were a little different to what we expected - a bit less traditional in shape - more like fritters in some way. Fortunately they were also tasty - cod and croquettes - delicioso. A fruity and tangy salad of beetroots, fig and braised mustard seeds was a nice side to this.
A very simple butter lettuce salad with chardonnay vinegar and new seasons olive oil was a nice offset.
The Kurobuta pork cutlet came served with some interesting accompaniments - fermented blueberries, spinach and lemon puree. The sweetness of the berries and the tartness of the lemon puree combined so well with the nicely cooked pork.
It was a great combination.
It wasn't like any other chocolate tart she had eaten before. It was a stretch even calling it a tart. There were layers of thin chocolate piled high on top of a rich gooey filling all resting on a pastry base. She absolutely loved it - all of it - and every mouthful of it. Even the eucalyptus cream was raved about with frequent outbursts of OMG!
To match, Sir had a 2009 Ridgeside Winery Vidal Icewine , Niagara Peninsular from Canada and Mlady had a NV Romate "Cardinal Cisneros" Pedro Ximenez from Jerez, Spain. Both were great with dessert.
Sir and Mlady dined as guests of Pei Modern and the Four Seasons Hotel Sydney. Special thanks to Ozgur, Emelda, William, Fabian and Caitlin as well as their highly capable sommelier Mikey and restaurant manager Tara. A big thanks to Hansni Bhagani, Director of Public Relations at the Four Seasons Hotel Sydney for inviting us.
143 George St
The Rocks, Sydney
The Push is old world which isn't a surprise as it's in the historic Rocks District and in a building that's been around forever.
They've kept to the theme as well - we loved the marble tables and brass high shelves that were around this small intimate bar.
From our booth we could look up and see through the middle of a staircase that stretched towards the upper floors that have accommodation. The decor of The Push matched the dark timber banisters of the stairs - and in fact everything else. The period was certainly maintained.
There's a front area that has a number of high tables. The side/rear area has lower dining tables/booths along one wall and the main bar area along the other wall.
The crispy seitan slider - the one vegetarian option - had a bite to it and was very tasty. For me, the pulled lamb slider was my favourite with plenty of tender lamb. Finally, the pork rib was almost as good as the lamb. They were decent sized sliders too, so quite filling.
They were shown in the menu as crumbed calamari strips with sichuan and kaffir lime and soy dipping sauce.
Presentation was nice as it came in a cute silver bucket with the sauce as a side and it was an interesting combination with the soy dipping sauce.
Bars mean drinks and we weren't going to miss out on trying a few. Mlady had a Pushover - a signature cocktail of The Push. This was made from Zubrowka vodka, Chambourd, muddled raspberries and a hint of lime. It was ideal for those seeking a sweetish cocktail. I had a Captains Remedy, not surprisingly a rum based tipple as I'm a rum drinker. It was made from Captain Morgans rum mixed with Disaronno, lemon juice and bitters and served on crushed ice. They tell you the longer you leave it the better it gets - but sadly I didn't leave it that long and it still tasted great.
It was slow cooked lamb shoulder with crushed peas in a hot baking dish and topped with sebago mash.
It had a vibrant green side of watercress salad.
This was a nicely presented dish that tasted just as good as it looked.
Mlady is a fish and chips fan and it's not unusual for her to head this way on a menu.
Here she chose the barramundi which arrived nicely presented in a mini deep fryer basket.
The herb battered barramundi was nicely cooked and rested on top of a generous pile of very tasty hand cut chips.
This was served with house made tartare and a separate plate of mushy peas,
Mlady's verdict - she thoroughly enjoyed it.
As a side we had a generous serving of seasonal vegetables which came with a scattering of crisped prosciutto and a slightly creamy eschalot dressing.
I had the jaffle, made from bread and butter pudding with dark chocolate custard and salted caramel.
This was simply amazing. Having grown up on jaffles, I'd never had one for dessert before. Presentation was simple but appealing and it was a dessert I'd eagerly have again.
The dish was a ball of macadamia ice cream coated in crumbed ANZAC, resting on a pool of rum butter sauce.
This dessert was reminiscent of fried ice cream and she said it was simply delish and a must have.
Whatever you do, save room for dessert here!
Sir and Mlady dined as guests of The Push. Special thanks to Millie for looking after us so well on our visit. Thanks also to Kimberley Stewart of Agency G for arranging our visit.
Pier 7, 17 Hickson Rd
Walsh Bay, Sydney CBD
Hickson's only opened in October 2013.
It has brilliant views of Walsh Bay and also of the harbour bridge in the distance.
Hickson's is a bar and a restaurant. It's in an ideal location for a drink and a nibble. It's also very close to the 900 seat Sydney Theatre - in fact it's right across the road from it - and they cater for people having an early dinner and getting to the show on time.
Hickson's is the brainchild of Nathan Kam and Zenta Staley. Both come from a strong hospitality background and with chef Ian Prendergast they have put together an innovative menu matched with an imaginative wine list with plenty of options from around the world.
Mlady loves fresh beetroot so we were very keen to see what this dish was like. The beetroot was beautifully soft and tender and the sheep yoghurt and chard went perfectly.
This was such a simple dish that was so effective.
We then moved on to another beautifully presented and plated dish. This was a work of art and almost a pity to eat!
It was buffalo mozzarella, basil, confit tomato and aged balsamic which came served on crusty sourdough.
It was a variation on bruscetta and the truss tomatoes were a nice playful touch.
Perfectly seared scallops resting on a bed of slivered green Batlow apple and shiso (a type of Asian mint) arrived on a square of black slate.
This was a refreshingly light dish. The Batlow apples added great flavours to the scallops and combined so well.
The salmon was served on a bed of spinach and garnished with radish slices, baby coriander and small dollops of gazpacho.
It was lovely and the crackling-crisp salmon skin was to die for.
So in keeping with the lovely seafood available at Hickson's our next course was mulloway which was served with eschalot, creamy mashed potato, super crisp speck and a lovely basil emulsion.
This was a great dish with a beautiful mix of textures and flavours.
The quail was so nicely cooked and the deep fried quail eggs were perfect and still had their runny yolks! This was a blend of subtle flavours that was delicious.
We were keen to try the chocolate and roast coconut brownie with mango - it just sounded like a great combination.
It tasted great. We both love chocolate and coconut together and this blended them so well. The freshness of the mango went well with this tropical sweet dish as did the dollop of double cream on top!
Sir and Mlady dined as guests of Hickson's. Special thanks to Nathan Kam and Zenta Staley for inviting us. Thanks also to Ian Prendergast and his kitchen for the great food and to Ben for looking after us so well on our visit.
|Nathan Kam and Zenta Staley|