Monday, November 30, 2009

Il Tratto Ra Ro

It was a unplanned visit to this restaurant. We actually wanted to go to another restaurant in Concord, but we didn't realise it was closed. So we went through our beloved Entertainment Book and saw that this is another restaurant in the same area that's in EB too! So we just went in even though it's in the gold card section (usually gold card section means $$$$$ restaurants :p) We were VERY HUNGRY that time. Between the 2 of us, we ordered an entree, a pizza and a pasta. 

Our entree was Antipasto Caldo - ricotta & spinach crochette, grilled field mushroom, whitebait fritter and mozzarella fritter $17. I liked everything on the plate :) From left to right, whitebait fritter - we didn't think whitebait could be cooked this way. It's basically a ball of whitebait and fried in batter. Then that's the ricotta and spinach. The big rectangular piece is the mozzarella fritter, with big pieces of stringy mozzarella in it - quite chewy, very nice. Then there's the grilled mushrooms.

Pizza was simple but still very tasty - Sorrento - Prawns, fresh tomato and avocado $20. Unlike the usual fast food type pizza where all ingredients are covered up with shredded cheese, this is 1 where all the ingredients are on top of blobs of cheese - you can see round patches of cheese on the pizza base :) Robin reckons this pizza has a very 'homemade' feel to it - the base smells like homemade bread and the tomato paste taste like homemade tomato sauce made by his Italian neighbour. 

Our second main, generous serving of Farfalle Salsicce - Italian sausage, mushrooms, onion, tomato with a touch of cream $20. New things learnt : farfalle = bow-tie pasta; Salsicce = Italian sausage. Pasta was cooked al dente, creamy sauce, plenty of thinly sliced sausages and mushroom to neutralise the richness slightly. Half way through the pasta both of us were very full already, but the pasta taste so good that we still end up finishing the whole plate. Hence the reserved room for dessert was filled up :( 

If we weren't that hungry and happen to have our Entertainment Book with us, we probably wouldn't think of going into this restaurant. Certainly glad that we did :) It's gonna be on my 'good pizza pasta place' list from now onwards. 

Il Tratto Ra Ro
108 Majors Bay Road
Concord NSW 2137

Tel : +61 2 8765 8866

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Bentley Restaurant & Bar

A friend came from Hong Kong so we met up last Saturday. She picked this restaurant out of some travel guide she got from Hong Kong. I have just found out today that this restaurant was awarded 2 Chef's Hat in the SMH Good Food Guide! This is exactly why I have this ambition of not repeating any restaurants this coming year. There is just too many good restaurants that I don't know about in Sydney !!

As soon as we sat down, the waiter bring us the bread and olive oil :) The staff there is very attentive.

Look at my drink! It's smoking COLD!! :D I picked my drink based on the interesting name - Frozen Popcorn Hemingway. When the waiter served it, he warned 'be careful.. it's cold..'. Yeah I know .. I can see the smoke :p This is not technically a 'drink' because you probably can't drink it without your lips sticking to the glass. Hence it was served with a spoon :D You eat it - along with the liquid nitrogen among other Hemingway daiquiri ingredients that was used. 

Now, entrée. White Anchovy Stick with Pistachio Praline. I did go to the Bentley's website to have a look. Went to their gallery and saw this lollipop looking thing. Never a big fan of anchovy, but the picture did make an impression. So I decided to give it a try. This is definitely not a lollipop (not sure what I was thinking). The anchovy is savoury, but the pistachio praline is little bit sweet and crunchy. I can think of a few person who wouldn't like this though due to the intense fishy taste of anchovy. 

Another entrée - Beef Tartare with Liquid Wasabi. Another fascinating and 'unexpected' dish. You know how usually after ordering something, the waiters will just take the menu away and  by the time the dish is served, you have no idea what you've just ordered? That's always the case for me (due to my goldfish memory). I remember that we ordered beef tartare, but didn't pay much attention to it - thinking it's probably beef with some wasabi gravy or something. How wrong was I. See those green blobs?? THOSE are the wasabi!! No idea how they made it, but it's like pea size, a thin membrane with liquid wasabi inside! So when you bite the green blob, the liquid will just burst out. Not to worry, it doesn't have the sharp normal wasabi taste that unblock your nose, it's just mild wasabi 'juice'. It's fun :) 

Szechuan Specied Soft Shell Crab with Green Chilli Salsa. This becomes rather 'ordinary' compare to the beef tartare :) Don't get me wrong, doesn't mean it taste not as good it taste excellent too!! Crunchy deep friend soft shell crab with peppery crumbs outside and juicy meat inside, served on top the green chilli salsa smeared on the plate. The green chilli salsa goes really well with the peppery taste of the crab. 

Our last entrée - Pressed Lamb Shoulder with Tagine Sauce and Chickpeas. When we saw this, we went "cool! 4 pieces of lamb,  4 of us, we'll just take 1 each". Grab our forks, poke, splat. *Oops!Scoop..Scoop*. Should've used a spoon :Þ That's how tender the lamb is. 

If I get 4 servings of this thing here - Chickpea Chips, we probably could have a game of Jenga on our table :D Again, this is something that you won't be able to tell what you're getting without a photo on the menu. I was expecting thin slices of chips (like potato chips), but these Jenga blocks came out instead. They are very filling because they are solid stick of mashed chickpeas. Again, crunchy outside, soft inside. If it's not so heavy, I can just eat this non-stop. 

(I think this is my longest post as yet.) Here's my main - Barramundi with Globe Artichoke, Potato Yoghurt Puree and Squid Ink Crumbs. This is my first time eating artichoke and squid ink crumbs. The crumbs are sort of 'powdery'. The fish is cooked just right, not dry, moist, fresh. 

Slow Cooked Lamb Rump with Jerusalem Artichokes and Hazelnut. You know that this lamb is cooked perfectly looking at the colour. Brown outside, light pink, then bright pink, no blood. 

Roasted Duck Breast with Lentil Puree, Pumpkin and Rhubarb. 2 out of 4 at our table ordered this yummy duck breast. 

Even though none of us knew what to expect when we were ordering, but I'm sure all of us were very satisfied with everything that we've ordered :) However, when the bill comes, straight away I know that this is strictly a "special occasion only" restaurant for me :þ
320 Crown St
Surry Hills

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Musashi is 1 of the Japanese restaurant that I don't mind going over and over again. If I have to put all Sydney restaurant in 3 categories ( 1. cheap not so nice 2. not so cheap but nicer 3. very nice and very expensive) musashi will be in category 2. It's not as expensive as those like Sakana Ya or Rengaya and the food taste quite good too. 

Here's the sashimi main. 3 out of the 5 of us actually didn't touch it much. So CL and I pretty much cleared this plate between the 2 of us. 

BBQ Beef Tongue - I like texture of beef tongue. If overcooked they can get very chewy, but if cooked right, they are firm to bite which is a bit different to other parts of beef. 

My favourite dish from Musashi. My favourite type of sushi even - Salmon Aburi. Flame seared salmon gives the toasty smell that normal sushi don't. It's amazing how different they taste simply by searing the salmon slightly. 

BBQ Calamari -  I thought each plate comes with 1 (photo on the menu shows 1 squid), but our plate had 2. Not sure it's because they are smaller or the restaurant is feeling generous :)

Photo wise, this is my favourite of the day - Scampi Sushi. I don't think anything can go wrong with scampi sushi as long as the scampi is fresh, which this is :) 

Good thing about going out with a crowd is that you can order a lot more things to share. Even a whole fish like this - Grilled Rainbow Trout

Lastly, dessert time! The whole table ordered just 2 types of dessert - 4x Green Tea crème brûlée and myself with Tofu Pannacotta with Mango Sauce. I've tried the green tea brulee before, so I've decided to try something different. The tofu pannacotta is quite nice, I can't seem to figure out the difference between that and a normal tofu though. As in both are jelly-like wobbly thing. Maybe I think this is slightly firmer than the usual tofu. So it's like eating a soy bean flavoured jelly with mango sauce :) 

447 Pitt Street(Cnr. Pitt & Campbell Street) Sydney
(02) 9280-0377
Note: Bookings are only available for following hours. 
LUNCH: before 12:15
DINNER: before 18:00

Friday, November 20, 2009

Peace Harmony

We thought we gonna be good and eat something healthy for once. So we went to this vegetarian Thai restaurant in the city - Peace Harmony. They have a restaurant and a takeaway branch couple blocks away. We went a bit early that day, so there weren't many people inside yet. So we picked our table and sat down at a quiet section of the restaurant. They were playing some praying/ chanting/ hymn on the speakers, not too loud, but loud enough to know that I have absolutely no idea what language it is - most likely Thai I say. The wooden table was a bit sticky so it was a bit eecky :p 
Anyway, we ordered 1 entrée, a quick meal size dish (with rice) and a main size dish. 

We TRIED to be healthy, we tried. Somehow everything just came out deep fried :p Here's the Mixed entrée with satay, curry puff, spring roll, money bag and Tod Mun. Yes, all vegetarian, including the vegetarian chicken satay. Money bag is the dim sim/ fried wonton looking thing in the middle. Tod Mun is like a vegetarian patty fritter thingy with bean, corn, chilli paste. Robin didn't really like them, but I thought they are not bad. 

Then comes the main. First is the Crispy Beancurd. Again, deep fried :p According to the menu, it's "deep fried beancurd sheet with mixed vegetables and topped with Harmony sauce". The taste is not bad, tofu skin is definitely very crispy, however, the sauce is definitely too sweet. It definitely needs the white rice there to go with the sweet sauce. 

The last dish, main size Hor Mok. This is my favourite of the 3. It's veggie fish mixed with mushroom and vegetables cooked in thick red curry and coconut milk. No mention of tofu in the menu, but there's also some tofu in there. The sauce is thick and creamy, the red curry flavour is rich. I think because of the tofu and thick sauce, this dish is very very smooth. In terms of spiciness, it is very mild. It's a bit heavy to have this on its own, but with some white rice, it's great! 
Worth a try if you feel like having vegetarian for a change or if you're vegetarian and want some Thai food, but this is not necessarily a healthier meal if you order like we did :p 

Restaurant at 44 Erskine Street 
(02) 9262 2247

Take Away Shop at 29 King Street

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Buffet Lunch @ Sheraton on the Park

I got asked by our HR to take some staff profile photos of a few colleagues who came to Sydney from other states. They were having a meeting at Sheraton so I was told to go there at lunch time and take some photos while they were having a break from their meeting. So I got there and was offered to have lunch with them! Of course I had to say yes to a buffet lunch at Sheraton :p 

As the whole group of people who came out of the conference swamp to the restaurant, the queue was a bit long. So I started taking photo of the dessert while queuing up. 

Because everyone has only started to have lunch, that's why the desserts were still untouched. 

Cute mini pavlova lining up nicely on the tray :) 

When it was my turn to get the hot food, I had to hold the plate and fill it up with mountain of food. So I actually didn't get to take any photo of those hot food. Had some lamb korma, some pappadums, steam fish, etc etc. 

I did manage to get some oysters and sushi though. Prawns look pretty, but never a big fan of prawns because I have yet to find a non-messy way to peel prawns :p 

Here's my plate of desserts. I have a turkish delight, creme brulee, scoop of chocolate ice-cream, a small chocolate dessert thingy (no idea what's the name of it) and a blueberry cheesecake. 

I was so full after a plate of oyster and sushi, a plate of hot food and a plate of dessert. I soooo wanted to have some cheese and crackers too but was just too full. Should've left some room for cheese. *sigh*...

Anyway, great day out on a working day :) Get to get out of the office at lunch time, great lunch and even get to go for a bit of camera backpack shopping. Just didn't end up getting anything. 

  • 161 Elizabeth Street, Sydney

    Phone: (61)(2) 9286 6000

Monday, November 16, 2009

Romans Restaurant

Found this restaurant in Entertainment Book while I was looking for somewhere to eat near Concord. Didn't end up using the voucher in Entertainment Book because the restaurant itself is giving doing a  promotion where if you order 2 entrees, 2 drinks and 2 mains, 1 of the main will be free (which is the same as using the entertainment book where you buy 1 main and get 1 free). Since we were gonna get 2 drinks and 2 entrees anyway, so didn't have to use the EB voucher. 
The first entrée: fried camembert cheese with cranberry jelly

Good size serving, but I think there's more crumbs than cheese though. I personally would like it with more cheese inside. 

Second entrée:  chilli napolitana baby octopus with toasted bread

Another big serving of entrée. Baby octopus was nice and spicy. However, the bread was soggy after soaking up all the sauce from the octopus. It would've been better if the bread was at the side or served separately. 

Then there's our main. I ordered a Romans chicken but was given this. At first I didn't think much of it and started eating. Bit too salty. Then I saw pieces of mushrooms, I thought 'hmm.. didn't remember reading about mushrooms on the menu" then continue eating. Then I remember "hey.. where are my prawns??" I remember the menu says layered with prawns. Then I called the waitress over and ask if this is the Romans Chicken. She said no and offered to swap. While waiting for the kitchen to make my Romans chicken, the waitress came back to offer to re-do MC's risotto - "Scallops risotto with peas, preserved lemon & mascarpone as well".

It was very nice of them to offer to make another risotto but MC didn't want another 1 because he probably couldn't finish it. So I just watched him eat while they make my Romans Chicken :p
Finally here comes my Romans Chicken. The prawns were very very nice. Big piece of chicken breast and lots of cheese. Too full to finish the whole thing so I just ate all of the prawns :p
All in all, I can't say the food is excellent, but service was very good (even though they gave me the wrong chicken but they are friendly and offered to swap the risotto as well) and servings were big - good for hungry people.

43 Majors Bay Rd
Concord NSW 2137

Phone (02) 9743 5544

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sweetness The Patisserie

I had a last minute cancellation of an appointment on a Thursday evening. So I was thinking "No plan for the day now! What should I do on evening of a late night shopping day?" the answer was simple enough - shopping! Except I didn't go clothes shopping or shoes shopping. Went lollies shopping instead! :D Went to this marshmallow shop at Epping called "Sweetness The Patisserie". 
The shop's specialty is marshmallow, but they sell a lot of other cake/cookies/macarons/tarts etc etc. 

I walked into the shop thinking I'll just get some spiced pecans (Sorry, photo of the pecans didn't turn out good, so I'm not gonna post it this time. I'm sure there'll be 1 next time.) I really really like the pecans, but MC didn't think they are that good. It's sweet when you put it into your mouth from the sugar, like those glazed almond or macadamia, but after a few bite you'll get a bit more savoury flavour from the different spices and will end up with a bit of spiciness from the chilli powder. I'm just very amazed/fascinated/impressed. 

Anyway, as we walked in, straight away we saw this tray of desserts right next to the door in front of the display window. As soon as I saw that, I forgot that I was supposed to ONLY to get the pecans from the shop. "hmmm... that looks yumm.." "maybe I should try that..." "I want that too!!!". 

Next to the tray of display desserts are these chocolate and strawberry macarons. Looks like they are the 'in' thing now. Everywhere's selling macarons and they are not cheap. Anyway, at least these are the 'normal' flavour macarons. Yet to visit Zumbo for those black truffle or wasabi flavoured ones. 
Here are some other desserts that were selling in the  shop: 
Sweet Mallow Sandwich

Iced Lime & Poppy Seed Shortbread 
Ginger & Lime Shortbread Cremes

Here comes the main attraction of the shop : the handmade marshmallow! So many different flavours of them. To name a few flavours that you can never find in supermarket : rosewater, lavender, mango, peppermint, coffee, and many more!!

Now, here's the fun part. After picking and choosing flavours and colours, we went to dinner and then to MC's place where we set up a studio for our macarons and marshmallows. 

I don't think I did well with the post processing, but definitely very fun to play with the tent, the flash, the shadows, the angles, etc etc. All MC's fault that now I have to save up for a light tent, 2 flashes, and also the transmitter + receiver :p  Anyway, hopefully next time will have better studio photos. Maybe after I set my studio up I'll be more interested in cooking/baking at home. Then I can make my own things to shoot in my studio :) 

38 Oxford StEpping NSW 2121
(02) 9869 3800

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sakana Ya

Long overdue 2nd post!! I think I should post more often if I want to make this blog a popular 1 out of the thousands :p 

Anyway, here's some photos from 1 of my favourite Japanese restaurant in Sydney. Excellent food, there's not a single thing that I don't like about it - other than the price that makes it a 'special occasion only' or 'someone else is shouting' place :p 

Mixed sashimi with extra scampi sashimi. Everything was very fresh. After we finished the sashimi, the waitress asked we want to use the scampi heads to make miso soup and we did. The miso soup were so much more 'sweeter' with the scampi heads in them. 

 Next, tuna sashimi salad. Thick slices of tuna sashimi on top of some salad leaves and those japanese salad dressing. Anyone know how to make those japanese salad dressing? 

Just a few days ago I was wondering why is tuna belly sushi so expensive. I was told that it was because of the spread of fat on the meat (like wagyu beef). So when I was eating my tuna, I was looking at colour and the 'marble pattern'. I could see there are pinkish part on the meat but not sure if this is consider a good cut :p 
Next, grilled swordfish. We were given the choice of teriyaki style or salted. We went for salted. This fish is very very very very nice. It looks dry outside, but inside is still very moist and cooked just perfect. Very fresh piece of fillet,  all natural flavour. In terms of look, it doesn't look as 'interesting' or colourful as the barasushi or the deep fried flounder, but this can easily be my latest favourite.

All time favourite - Barasushi. Since the first time being introduced to this dish probably more than 5 years ago, I've been ordering this almost EVERY SINGLE visit (oh, maybe except the 1 time when I went there for just dessert). 

Another dish that is guaranteed to be nice is their deep fried flounder. My favourite part of the fish? All the crunchy bones!! If given the whole fish to myself, the first thing I would do is snap away the fins and tail and start crunching.

Next, cold green tea soba. A very 'dangerous' dish if you don't dissolve the wasabi completely in the sauce/soup. I took some soba, dip them in, stir them a bit, took them out, luckily I didn't put them straight into my mouth. Put them on the plate and saw a blob of light green stuff in my soba. A very close call.

The ONE thing that I didn't get to take photo of is the mochi. The 1 that says to take 20 mins to prepare on the menu. SOMEBODY took a bite of my mochi before I got to take the photo of it. It's a palm size mochi with red bean inside. This is the thing that made me go all the way there for dessert a while ago. Oh well, something for next time... :p 

336 Pacific Hwy
Crows Nest NSW 2065
(02) 9438 1468