Yasaka Ramen
126 Liverpool St
Haymarket, Sydney

Sydney and in particular the CBD is home to many Japanese restaurants. Every corner seems to be a display of Iron Chefs, skillfully carving sashimi, nori and other delicious dishes. Japanese food however is more than just raw fish and bento boxes. Noodles and specifically Ramen are equally as famous and for some, the best product of Japanese cuisine. Yasaka Ramen is a modern ramen restaurant in the Sydney CBD, located on Liverpool Street, close to World Square. It might be a modern restaurant, with an industrial bar style fit out downstairs and a more relaxed restaurant style set up upstairs, but when it comes to Ramen, Yasaka is a place full of tradition.

Arriving early for dinner on a weeknight we took our seats upstairs, surprisingly, Count N felt like a beer (it may have been the weather, it was a hot evening). We don't drink beer very often but when we do, Asahi is one of our favourite choices. Japans No 1 beer has a clean, crisp and refreshing taste.

We haven't met many people that don't like Gyoza ( we love it ) and here at Yasaka, they are made fresh on premises (like everything else). Filled with delicious pork, shallots, these light yet tantalising flavours explode in your mouth as you bite into each piece. This dish didn't last long.

We then moved on to some very special Takoyaki. According to the menu - once you try you will love. These fluffy Octopus balls were slightly crispy on the outside, tender soft in the inside and smothered an in rich sweet sauce that had us coming back for more, ball after ball. They look like they would be heavy to eat but quite the contrary, they are quite light and so addictive.

Whilst we were waiting for our first dish we had the pleasure of meeting Yasaka's head chef, Takeshi Sekigawa.

Full of skill and precision, Takeshi showcased to us how using only whole wheat noodles, he creates authentic ramen so delicious, it has people lining at the door waiting to try it.

Takeshi also gave us a sneak peak of a new menu item, yet to be introduced, a mouth watering pork bun.

This Kakuni bun was a heavenly soft milky bun wrapped around a succulent piece of pork and drizzled with a creamy heavenly sauce.

Just a word of warning with this one, it isn't made to share. If you are in a group, make sure you get on each, as you may end up fighting over it.

It was now time for some Ramen.

The Kakuni ramen with simmered soft pork bone came out first. This spectacular ramen with thick whole wheat noodles and a delicious thick sauce was bursting with flavour. We would expect to see pork belly in a Kakuni ramen but this one had the softest pork falling off the bone that melted in your mouth. It was amazing and we enjoyed it with a hot chilli sauce.

We then tried Yasaka's special Tsukemen ramen. You may be familiar with Tsukemen which is basically a dish of ramen, eaten after dipping your noodle in a separate bowl of soup. It's a great way to enjoy ramen and here at Yasaka they have 5 soups to choose from.  Black garlic, soy miso and spicy just to name a few. The ramen is, as you would expect, delicious and mixed with the soup, a great noodle dish.

There's a trick to eating this dish though. You need to pick up the noodle and dip it into the sauce. Never mix soup and noodle. Although we tried, I don't think we mastered the Tsukemen skill.

The motto at Yasaka is no ramen no life and we can tell you, they mean it. They also have a cool members loyalty program which gets you some cool discounts with all their partnered restaurants.

If you like Japanese food and you love Ramen, then you need to make your way down to Liverpool St.

The Counts, who review for Sir and Mlady Dine Out, dined as guests of Yasaka Ramen.

Yasaka Ramen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 


Essen Restaurant and Beer Cafe
133 - 135 Broadway
Ultimo, Sydney

Essen - it means to eat - and eat we did at this excellent European establishment in the heart of Ultimo. 

The suburb is trendy and Essen keeps up, balancing old and new in a beautiful space. Walking in, you instantly feel transported to an eastern European country. Traditional decorations adorn the walls, and the vibe is comfortable with a touch of class.
German beer is a favourite of ours, so it was hard to choose from the generous range of local German beers such as Erdinger, Dreher, Radler amongst others from Australia and New Zealand.

We chose a Frueh Kolsch which was crisp and clean, very refreshing on a hot day, and a Liebenweiss Bavarian wheat beer poured to perfection.

The schnapps menu also caught our eye and we kept it in mind for later in the evening.

How can you eat European food without having a brezel?

The pretzel shaped bread can be hit or miss, but at Essen it was definitely a hit.

Soft, warm, salty and served with herb butter, this pretzel looked, smelled and tasted like the real deal.

It was simply delicious.

Duke has had his fair share of Schweinehaxe (pork knuckle) in his lifetime - he’d eat it every day if he could.

Keeping with tradition when eating at a restaurant such as Essen, Duke ordered the pork knuckle, complemented with jus and sauerkraut.

Plated as any pork knuckle should be - bold and obnoxious - Duke’s eyes lit up when it was placed in front of him. The ultimate hearty meal, the knuckle defeated Duke, but he did his best with the crispy skin and moist pork...truly mouthwatering.

A European-style meat fanatic, Duchess ordered the meat plate for 2. Yes, for 2.

It’s the best of all the meat worlds - weisswurst, cheese kransky, pork belly, rosti, lamb shoulder, chicken schnitzel, beef goulash, sauerkraut and blaukraut, and finally jus. This plate really is for two - it was seriously impressive, with hearty servings of all the meat styles.

The weisswurst tasted just like the real thing, with German mustard to complement. The cheese kransky had just the right amount of cheese ooze. The rosti was great as an in between meat to cleanse the palate, and it was equally as delicious. The goulash had a bit of a kick and incorporated some capsicum and potato for those worried about their veggie intake. The lamb shoulder was beautifully cooked, falling apart when cut. The pork belly was the ultimate - soft, flavoursome, juicy and the perfect snap crackling on top. The Chicken schnitzel is always a classic choice, and this one was so right with the perfect crumbed layer and succulent juicy chicken.

Overall, the mains felt like authentic European meals. You almost forget you’re in Sydney. An added bonus is that all the condiments are on the side so you can pick and choose as you like.

Finally it was time for dessert - but not without a sneaky schnapps beforehand!

We had the Baerenjaeger - basically like a fiery honey.

For dessert we naturally chose the apple strudel to end a very European meal. The strudel looked absolutely divine, perfectly cooked, flaky pastry and copious amounts of apple filling.

Just the way it should be. Served with vanilla bean ice cream and Chantilly cream. All of which seemed freshly made and perfectly ended our night.

The staff and service was efficient and friendly, and the atmosphere was great. Essen also has an upstairs section you can hire out for events which has a great feel to it and plenty of space - plus it’s free to hire!

Duke and Duchess, who review for Sir and Mlady Dine Out, dined as guests of Essen. Thanks to the team at Essen for looking after them so well. Special thanks also to Chrissy Symeonakis from Creative Little Soul for this invitation.

Essen Restaurant & Beer Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 


Ramen O San
Dixon House
B1 Little Hay St
Haymarket, Sydney

Ramen - that hot steaming bowl of rich meat or seafood based soup and packed with noodles and often topped with thin sliced meat - goodness in a bowl.

It's popular for very good reasons. We just love it - it's a meal in a bowl - and usually a big meal.

Ramen O San is well known for - well obviously its ramen. There are a heap of varieties available to cater to all tastes.

Their original tonkotsu ramen is a great full flavoured pork based broth filled with noodles and topped with mushrooms, thinly sliced pork and greenery.

We loved it and eagerly finished the lot even though it took a while!

Main meal number two was the very appropriately named sumo ramen. When you see the word sumo you think big - and boy was this a big beautiful dish!

Yes, it was again that lovely pork based soup filled with noodles, sprouts and veggies and topped with big chunks of pork belly.

Oh my - this was ramen heaven.

Ramen O San is in a bustling food court in Chinatown and yet it still attracts a good crowd for its food.

This speaks volumes for the quality of the food. Once it's served the quantity is also very obvious. This is a place well worth visiting.

Sir and Countess D dined as guests of Ramen O San. Special thanks to Yuri from Washoku Lovers and SD Marketing Global for inviting us.

Ramen O-san Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 


Adamo's Pasta
725 Botany Rd,
Rosebery, Sydney

“Fresh is best” is a phrase you hear a lot but when it comes to pasta, it couldn’t be more true.

This lovely little pasta heaven in Rosebery is full of wonderful choices.

As you walk through the door you are faced with an impressive cabinet of fresh and award-winning pastas of all shapes and flavours.

From plain linguine and tagliatelle to spinach or beetroot flavoured flat varieties, there is a lovely range to entice you. If choosing a pasta is hard, choosing a sauce is no easier - lots of tempting flavours to mix and match.

If it’s filled pastas you’re into, there are plenty of fillings on offer including spinach and ricotta, duck and sweet potato, porcini mushroom, quattro formaggio and pumpkin gnocchi, to name a few. The fridges are full of them!

These Dames are here for a dine-in lunch so we checked out the menu and today’s specials. There is a ready-made selection behind the side counter which has you salivating. This appealing range of hot dishes is great for a grab-and-go or a very quick sit down weekday lunch.

We had time, so we decided on the Burrata and a Caprese salad from the specials board to start with.

The Burrata (a cheese ball with a mozzarella-style outer and a creamy centre) was served on spinach with pomegranate and hazelnut dressing.

It was fresh and light and the crispy Parmesan wafer on the side was really good.

The Caprese salad was a simple but fresh and tasty combination.

It was a mix of sliced tomato, torn basil and big hunks of sliced buffalo mozzarella cheese.

We love a good Caprese salad and this one could easily be described in one simple word - yum.

We followed this with a traditional beef lasagna, which had caught our attention at the counter.

It’s reportedly the most popular dish here and it was rich with oozing layers of cheese and meat sauces.

The pasta was obviously superior due to its freshness.

The next dish to arrive was Pumpkin Ravioli with black beans, ricotta and beetroot leaves. It was on the specials board and it sounded like an innovative combination.

What a light and summery dish it was too, with the soft, fresh ricotta complementing the pumpkin pasta. The addition of black beans gave it a nice contrast both in colour and texture.

Now who could pass up a good cannoli? We just had to try their crunchy, creamy delights, filled with vanilla and chocolate. So good!

Adamo's is open Monday to Friday from 7.30am to 7.30pm and there are some lovely light meal options especially suited to a summer dinner. Also open Saturdays from 8.00am to 4.00pm.

Those Dames, who review for Sir and Mlady Dine Out, dined as guests of Adamo's Pasta. Thanks to owner Adamo Pavirani and also to Alessandra for looking after us so well.

Adamo's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Madame Nhu
Shop FM8, Hawker Lane,
Westfield Chatswood, 1 Anderson Street, Chatswood, Sydney

Madame Nhu has been serving Vietnamese food to the people of Sydney since 2007.

Now boasting five locations, their latest is part of the foodie enclave of Hawker Lane in Westfield Chatswood.

Madame Nhu highlights that they were the first to bring vietnamese summer rolls to Sydney back in 2007.

We tried them on our visit and they were delicious. The fresh crisp flavours shone through and the dipping sauce added some extra intensity.

It's so easy to see why these are so popular, but they have plenty of other choices there as well including a wide range of pho.

We were impressed with
the freshness and flavours of the rolls at Madame Nhu. It certainly makes us want to try their other options too and with plenty of other restaurants across Sydney it's not hard to find them.

Sir and Mlady visited Madame Nhu as guests of Westfield Chatswood. Special thanks to Julia Murray of Sibling Agency for this invitation.

Madame Nhu Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Taste of Malaya
Castle Towers Shopping Centre - The Piazza
6-14 Castle Pl
Castle Hill, Sydney

The Piazza at Castle Towers has always been a popular food destination over the years - and this is still just as much the case today.

It's bustling and busy with some dining there before hitting the movies next door while others just settle in there for the night.

Taste of Malaya, like many of the other places in this precinct, is a longish restaurant. It has a lovely outdoor area for al fresco dining under cover as well as a larger indoor area stretching back from the Piazza.

We started with the roti - as we often do when eating Malaysian.

It was a thinner roti than we've normally had, but still with the complexity of many layers and it tasted lovely.

A few glasses of the house red - a very affordable Merlot - capped of a great start to the meal.

Red and roti is such a great combination at any time.

We've had plenty of mee goreng in our time - and it's still a favourite - but when we saw Duck Meat Malaysian Style Mee Goreng on the menu it was an instant choice. There was plenty of duck in this dish. It was a rich and quite tangy meal with a thickish tomato paste around thick noodles and interspersed with plenty of fresh chilli. We both agreed that this was one of our favourite dishes of the night.

Then it was on to another old favourite - beef rendang.

The beef in this dish was slow cooked and so tender it practically melted in our mouths.

The gravy, or curry, was nicely fragrant and rich, as it should be, and we even ladled it on our rice after the meat was gone.

Our final main course was a much lighter dish. It was Kapitan King Prawns.

These lightly battered King Prawns were big and juicy.

The sauce they were resting in was a mix of coconut, curry and lemon juice.

It was a mild sauce with fragrant flavour that didn't overpower the prawn meat. We loved this dish and would eagerly have it again - and again!

Taste of Malaya offers an interesting range of both Malaysian and Chinese dishes in a pleasant setting. The food tastes great and arrives quickly in good sized servings. Service is fast and friendly. It's an affordable place to go for a good meal.

Sir and Mlady's visit to Taste of Malaya was supported by the Malaysian Kitchen Programme.

Taste of Malaya Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Saute Thai Restaurant
18 Phillip St,
Parramatta, Sydney

Mlady and her friend Madame C decided to have a nice lunch. So we went to Saute Thai in Parramatta. The décor inside is nicely themed with lovely wooden floor boards.

It's stylish with red comfortable lounge type seating against the walls whilst other chairs are richly covered in a red and gold fabric. The kitchen is open and you can see how your very tasty and fragrant meals are created.

We arrived at noon and chose to sit outside which is still under cover, as it was a nice day. It did not take long for the chairs to become occupied. This place is popular!

It was relaxing sitting watching the business of Parramatta whilst we both sipped on cool and refreshing lemon, lime and bitters. Mlady thought that this made a nice change from her usual red wine and she was right. The menu is very diverse and there was so much to choose from but Mlady and Madame C chose to share a main as well as ordering an entrée.

As an entrée we chose the Steamed Vegetarian Dumplings. They were described in the menu as made up of  "water chestnuts and a vegetarian mixture wrapped in wanton pastry and steamed to perfection. Served with a mixture of chopped chillies, sweet soy sauce and brown vinegar". When they arrived they were show cased in a black slate type tray with the sauce in a separate dish. These really were very tasty. They were so fresh and full of the wonderful fillings and they certainly were "steamed to perfection".

We ordered a small steamed rice to accompany our shared main which was Penang Curry and we chose to have this with beef. The menu stated that this was "red curry flavoured with fresh red chilli paste and paprika, tossed with fresh red chilli, basil leaves and coconut milk". How good was this! The beef was nicely cooked as were the accompanying vegetables in the dish and we both loved the sauce. We soaked up as much of this oh so nice sauce with the rice.

The quality of the food here is good and the service is both friendly and helpful. It's a great place to sit with a friend, a few friends or socialise in a group.

Sauté Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Shanghai Dumpling
Victoria Ave
Chatswood, Sydney

Sitting on the main street that runs through Chatswood - Victoria Avenue - is the second venue for Shanghai Dumpling (their first being over in Ashfield). Their Ashfield restaurant opened 10 years ago while Chatswood has only been open a year.

This isn't a fancy place - they don't go overboard on frills. It is comfortable though and they do serve some really good dumplings here. Their dumplings are made fresh on the premises each day and when they run out they run out - there aren't frozen ones thawed to use here. They also don't serve hundreds of varieties of dumplings, but there's always plenty of variety on offer every day.

We sipped on a Chinese tea while we studied the menu trying to decide what to start with.

A dish made up of thinly sliced cucumber isn't something Sir would normally devour - but here he did.

The cucumber chunks were thinly sliced almost through and served in a bowl with a generous pouring of vinegar. The sharpness of the vinegar went beautifully with the fresh crispness of the cucumber.

The first dumplings to arrive were fried and had chive and pork and also Chinese cabbage and chicken fillings.

Pleasingly these were clearly quickly and lightly fried and so they weren't oily at all.

The light pastry went well with fillings that also tasted great.

Next were some lovely steamed dumplings filled with a great mix of salted duck egg and pork inside them.

These were simply presented but tasted great.

The filling was delicate and divine and the pastry again didn't overpower the flavours or textures at all.

The chilli dumplings that arrived next were certainly stronger in their hit and more colourful in appearance too!

These were shown on the front page of their menu and had caught our eyes immediately.

The bite of the chilli was so lovely as was the tang of the whole dish.

The spinach dumplings arrived next swimming in a very light and delicate broth.

This not only kept them warm it added great flavour to each mouthful.

We couldn't help eating - well in reality drinking - all the broth after eating all these dumplings.

The most unusual dish of the night arrived as our final "main course".

This dish had dumplings in a savoury soy milk broth.

It looked like milk too but had a great almost nutty taste with no sweetness at all - yet not bitter either.

We loved this and would eagerly have it again.

The finale to our meal was a lovely serving each of sago with mango ice cream.

Shanghai Dumpling was a delight. This simple place hand makes delicious dumplings fresh every day. They also sell them to heat at home and occasionally freeze some for take away too. It's well worth visiting.

Sir and Mlady dined as guests of Shanghai Dumpling. Special thanks to Carlton for arranging our visit.  

Shanghai Dumpling Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 


Simmer Huang
The District, Podium Level,
Chatswood Interchange
436 Victoria Ave
Chatswood, Sydney

We had heard  the Simmer Huang chain of restaurants have over 500 restaurants throughout Asia alone , so we were very excited about attending the opening  launch in Chatswood recently at the Interchange building Victoria Avenue.

They have a very good reputation, but we were completely blown away by the extravagant detail they had gone to in the décor of the new four week old restaurant.

As well as warm reds, timber furniture, birdcage light fittings and modern murals gracing the walls, the architecture was skillful with a gorgeous low lit ambiance which was instantly relaxing .

The feng shui seemed to breeze through the establishment, heightening  the senses and calming the mood.

Much to our delight they had enlisted their 1st ambassador, Alvin Quah of Master Chef fame who is on a mission to increase awareness of Asian food in the western world with his signature seasonal marinades, sauces and dishes. Simmer Huang wishes to capture these new exciting flavours into their already sensational menus.

Upon arrival we were greeted by Alvin Quah.  What  a charming and lovely guy. Alvin certainly is not just another pretty face. Not only is Alvin a fantastic cook but has a degree in science, which take him into other areas and interests. He told us he had prepared two dishes - one being the Asian duck and the other his signature hot pot. We couldn’t wait to taste them both.

Cocktails were presented at the door, Dame C was given a Bubbling Asian Plum Blossom, main ingredient being rice wine, while Dame J was given Under the Hawthorn Tree. This was a Hibiki 12 year old scotch with Chinese hawthorn sugar, hibiscus tea, crème de mure & sea salt sparking apple juice.

Both had a very different taste but both extremely delicious.

Once seated we were presented with lightly salted soy beans in the pod. Always a favourite and went extremely well with our Asian inspired cocktails. Our table exhibited the mandatory hotplate in the middle while the décor was colour matched with signature crockery, place mats and chopsticks.

First was the Hometown chicken, sliced with special sauce. We ate this delicious dish while savouring every mouthful. Sweet delicate flavours ignited our mouths. It was pure bliss.

The next dish was spicy tofu. This consisted of cold bean curd strips with spicy sauce.

Very different, very interesting and very very tasty.

Next was Alvin's special. Asian duck (smoked in 5 spice, star anise, cinnamon and honey) coupled with delicious marinade , chilli and vegetables. We were sorry when that was gone.

Throughout the evening Alvin was checking up on us.

What did we think of his creation. We told him the truth  - absolutely gorgeous.

The next signature dish inspired by Alvin then arrived at the table.

This was the hotpot he was proud of. Sliced and braised Barramundi, this included every part of the fish.

It was coupled with fresh vegetables and the winning special sauce.

We sat breathing in the tantalising aromas while it bubbled away cooking in the middle of the table. We could hardly wait to taste it.

Dame C ordered a pink lemonade,  and not ordinary as this one consisted of lychee lime bitters, lychee puree, lime juice and bitter lemonade. Very cleansing to the palate. Dame J ordered a wine. We were ready for the finale. It was ready. It did not disappoint. The fish was so tender it broke apart into bite size pieces and coupled with the vast array of vegetables and predominately Asian infused sauce, was definitely the star of the evening. A fabulous dish. Alvin again waited on our verdict. We gave him our seal of approval.

We told him it was a huge success and once word got out Simmer Huang would be inundated with hungry patrons wanting to visit the interchange restaurant.

This did not end there. After we had eaten as much as we were able.

Our lovely waitress turned the hotpot into a tasty noodle hotpot soup.

The egg noodles were rolled, cut and separated at the table and added to make the soup.

Not only did we have sensational food but were entertained all evening with the food being cooked at the table.

The evening was brilliant, We would definitely recommend to family and friends for both the food and the entertainment factor.  Watching the food being prepared at the table was an added attraction to the enjoyable experience.   Staff were extremely friendly and accommodating. All this and we got to meet one of our favourite Master Chef finalists, Alvin Quah.

Those Dames, who review for Sir and Mlady Dine Out, dined as guests of Simmer Huang. Thanks to Alana Garton and Katie Stow from Wasamedia for the invitation.

Simmer Huang Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato