Monday, December 12, 2011

Home Thai Restaurant

Haven't been eating out much since having the baby. So not much to blog about. For the sake of keeping the site active, here are some photos that I took ages ago but never got to post about them. Now, because it's been so long since I had that meal, I can't really remember much about them anymore :p That's why only posting the photos up. 
Seriously can't remember what this was. Have a feeling it's a tom yum gong but not 100% sure. 

Some kind of crispy pork belly and stir fried vege. 

Hoi Jor - Deep fried pork, crab meat, water chestnut wrapped with bean curd served with plum sauce - $7.90

Yum Hua Plee - Banana flower with chicken, prawn, shallot, coriander, onion, dried coconut, cashew nut, fried shallot, chilli jam with chef's dressing - $14.90

Gang kew - Green curry paste with coconut milk, cherry eggplant, apple eggplant, basil, lime leaf and red chilli - $12.90

Somtum Thai - Green papaya with garlic, chilli, tomato, green bean, dried shrimps, peanut, lime juice, palm sugar - $8.90

Have a feeling this was the whole barramundi with tamarind. Not 100% sure again... Not a good photo of it anyway :p 

Sai Groog Isan - A homemade Thai sausage traditionally from eastern part of Thailand frilled and served with fresh ginger and vegetable - $10.90

Par Thung - Bread stick with pandan custard - $5.00

Mango Sticky Rice - $6.50

I can't remember what this is called but I remember this dish. They were making this by the window so while waiting for seats outside the restaurant, everyone was watching these dumplings getting made. I remember this dish because it made an impression. It was on the dessert menu. It looked like a dessert, pretty like a dessert so we ordered thinking it'll be something sweet but it was savoury!! It was weird... as a dessert that's why I remember them. It should be an entree I reckon. We even told the waiter that it's more suitable as an entree heehee

Home Thai Restaurant
Shop 1 - 2 
299 Sussex Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Tel: 02 9261 5058

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

La Guillotine & The Chocolate Room

At the moment I'm going through all my new + old photos that I haven't posted before. Here's 1 of the not so recent visit to the French restaurant La Guillotine which was quite but didn't get posted earlier. 
We wanted to bring Robin's mum out for dinner 1 day. Can't remember what occasion though. I think it was her birthday? Wanted to bring her to somewhere she normally wouldn't go, so we took her to try some French food at La Guillotine. 

For entree to share, we had the Country style chicken liver and pork pate - $15. It comes with some herb bread, olives and gherkin. Been there twice, both times we ran out of bread before we could finish the pate. 

Another entree to share Homemade traditional onion soup with croutons and melted cheese - $13. I didn't really get to try much of this because there were 4 or 5 of us. 

Cant' remember whose main this was, but it was the Char-grilled lamb cutlets with herbs, whole grain mustard butter, ratatouille and mash potatoes - $32. 

This was probably the nicest of all mains that we had. Beef fillet topped with a slice of Foie Gras, port wine sauce and saute potatoes with onions - $44. Bit expensive for a steak, but it was very very good. 

Another main Duck breast with a cherry and Kirsch sauce on a gratin of potatoes - $44. Don't remember much about it, but I guess it's a good thing that at least no complaints :) 
Note: Prices posted here might have changed since it was quite a while ago when I visited. 

After dinner we didn't have dessert at La Guillotine, instead we went to The Chocolate Room to have some coffee and dessert. 

Didn't take photo of the menu, so I don't have the price for the things we ordered here. This was probably the ice-chocolate. 

Here's a hot chocolate with 3 pieces of chocolate from the counter, anti-clockwise from left: Pearl - 70% Dark chocolate ganache with Marc of champagne dipped in white chocolate, Cafe au lait - Milk chocolate caramel coffee dipped in milk chocolate & finished with a coffee bean trasnfer, Rum & Raisin - Macerated green Iran raisin soaked in rum, milk chocolate ganache coated in dark chocolate & drizzle with dark chocolate. 

Pretty looking latte.. 

Another sort of hot chocolate. Can't remember what flavour this was though. 

Pretty sure that was the waffle. Quite pretty and yummy :) 

La Guillotine French Restaurant
518 Kent Street Sydney NSW 2000
Tel: 02 9264 1487

The Chocolate Room
Shop 210 Maestri Towers

Corner Sussex & Bathurst streets
Sydney NSW 2000
Tel: 02 9269 0004

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Canberra Weekend Getaway

We've been saying we want to get out of Sydney for a while. Never got to decide where to go, who to go with and it was such a hassle to try to organise something with more than 2 people - these 2 have to work on weekend, that 2 can't take leave on those days etc etc. So in the end we just thought forget it, we'll just make a short trip on our own and enjoy some good food. So here we were, ended up in Canberra for a weekend. Left Sydney on Saturday morning, arrived at Canberra around lunch time. Robin actually booked a table for lunch at this busy little bakery called Silo Bakery. He was actually thinking of bringing me there for the desserts which looked awesome on their website, but unfortunately by the time we got there they sold out of ALL their sweets. So we just had lunch there.

I ordered Vegetarian Pates - $12 which came with some sourdough.
The pates came in 3 different flavours: (Clockwise from top left) Pumpkin & walnut, mushroom & almond, pimento & hazelnut. My favourite was the pimento & hazelnut which was a bit like the crunchy chilli and tomato dip. Little bit spicy with the crunchy hazelnut on the freshly baked soft bread.. yummmm.. Can't have the real pate, I really wouldn't mind having these vegetarian pates instead. 2nd flavour that I liked was the mushroom & almond. The only problem with the pumpkin flavour was that it was sweet. Almost like a dessert. Still good, but just a bit weird with the sweetness in there.

Robin ordered the Oyster blade beef braised in beer & onions - $24. It was good too! I ate almost all the bread with my pate, so Robin only had a bit of the bread to go with his nice gravy. Should've ordered more bread. It was still very good though, tender beef with soft potatoes at the bottom soaking up all the yummy gravy.

So that's it for our lunch. It was a pity that we didn't get to eat any of the sweet pastries and stuff. Oh well, maybe another trip.

After lunch we went to the Questacon just to do some touristy thing when we were there :) Drove the mini blimp through a hoop, went into a pitch black dark tent to see the star lab, just basically being a kid again haha.. It was fun. I used to really like to visit all these science centres. Lots of cool things to play with.

Anyway, after that we went to our hotel and checked ourselves in. Had a bit of rest there before heading out to dinner. We were lucky that in our room there was this book. Can't remember what it's called now, but it's basically a where-to-eat-in-Canberra book. So we picked 1 of the restaurants in the book and guess what? It was at the same block as the Silo bakery that we went for lunch. The restaurant that we picked was the Kennedy Room. It's half restaurant and half pub. So the restaurant half had tables and chairs set up, the other half was the bar with some tall tables and stools and plenty of space for people to hang around and chat.

For entree to share, we ordered the Caramelised roast pork belly with chilli & coconut vinegar - $16. The meat was really tender, it was nice to go with the sweet and sour dressing. The only thing missing for me was the crunchy crackling. It would be so much nicer if it had the crackling at well.

Initially we only ordered 1 entree. Then we saw our next table ordered this and it looked really good! So we ordered 1 for ourselves as well - Fried calamari spiced with sumac & black pepper. It was really good too! Cooked just nice, very crispy outside, soft and tender inside. With a bit of lemon juice over it, it's easily 1 of the best fried calamari I've had.

We thought we should be 'healthy' and ordered some greens, but we ended up didn't finish it anyway :p I had to save some space for dessert and Robin's main came with some greens too.

I had the Almond & sesame seed crusted barramundi fillets with Ver Jus - $32. The fish was nice, it wasn't overcooked or anything, I just didn't really like the crust. It was like the dukkah that could be bought in some deli, which I thought the smell of herbs was a bit too strong for the fish. I probably would enjoy it more if it had just a layer of crispy skin. The potatoes with the creamy sauce were really nice though.

Poor Robin had to wait extra long for his Ribeye steak (400g) w beer battered chips, green peppercorn sauce & steamed vegetables - $36. The waitress took our order, even asked him how he would like the steak done, but when she got to the computer or something she just keyed in barramundi twice. So they made us 2 barramundi and didn't make the steak. So I just ate my fish first while Robin waited for his steak to be made. Apparently not worth the wait though. I didn't really try the steak but Robin said it wasnt' as good as expected. The best part of the dish was the chips. Sauce was good too. Just the meat not as tender as Robin thought it should be.

I ordered my dessert while Robin was eating his steak - Lime & coconut pannacotta with oven-dried pineapple - $13. When I took the first bite of the pineapple, it felt almost like I've discovered a new continent! I love everything pineapple - fresh pineapple, can pineapple, even (fake) pineapple flavoured gummi! So being introduced to this oven-dried pineapple was like "I've found a new way to eat pineapple!!" It was sooo good. The pannacotta on its own was very sweet, but together with the slight tartness of the pineapple they were like the perfect match. Wobbly + crispy; sweet + sour... Just made so much sense when put together. The only watchout was - the pineapple tend to stuck to the teeth hehee.. I didn't mind it at all, but I know it could be annoying at times :p

After dinner we just went up to the Mount Ainsley lookout. Wanted to take some star trails photos, but sky was too bright from the city lights and the big bright moon. Also, it was only 3 degrees at that time. So we didn't stay long there.

Next morning we woke up around 10am. As we were packing up, got a phone call from the reception to say that check out time was supposed to be 10 and it was almost 11 already haha. I thought I requested for late check out when I booked the room online, but I guess they didn't see my comment (or they ignored it). Anyway, so breakfast was skipped and we consulted our 'bible' of the trip again. Felt like having a Thai lunch, so we picked 1 of the Thai restaurants in the book. Guess what? It's located at the same block as Silo and Kennedy Room! haha.. I guess that block of shops at Kingston got plenty of good restaurants. Got there, restaurant was closed. So Robin suggested we go to the other suburb which he knew had plenty of nice restaurants too which was Manuka. So we went there and we saw another Thai restaurant which I remember was in the book too. It was the Bann Latsamy Thai Restaurant. By the way, sorry for not being able to provide prices for the dishes here. I took a copy of their menu, but couldn't find it now :p

For entree, we had the Rice paper prawn rolls. It was very similar to those that we get in Vietnamese restaurant. Refreshing sort of entree with fresh cucumber, some sprouts, cooked prawns and some rice noodle wrapped in rice paper.

There were a few options for rice on the menu and we picked the 1 that we never tried before: Saffron rice. It was bright orange in colour. Taste wise, I actually couldn't taste anything special. Robin said it taste like coconut rice, but I had a feeling the coconut taste came from the red curry, not the rice itself.

This was the Duck & lychee red curry which I thoguht contributed to the coconut taste in the rice when ate together with rice. It was very tasty, rich and full of coconut flavour. Generous servings too! Another thing that I liked was that all the duck meat was deboned :D Usually when order duck curry in Thai restaurants, I find that they give very little duck meat, just lots of vege. This was the opposite. Lots of meat, lots of big juicy lychees, very very good.

Another main that we ordered to go with our saffron rice - Stir fried tofu with cashew nuts. It wasn't too bad when eat with the rice, just a bit too sweet with the sauce. I would soak my rice with the red curry sauce but I wouldn't do the same with this. This plate of tofu + vege was really big too. We ended up asking for 2 takeaway boxes and packed ourselves 2 boxes full of lunch to bring to work the next day. Too full from these entree and mains. Didn't have any room for dessert :(  I would get the mango sticky rice if I had room in my stomach.

Overall, it was a very relaxing trip. Very happy with all the food there. Did some touristy thingy like visit the questacon & the parliament as well. Experimented with making timelapse video too which you can see here. At first we thought what are we gonna do in Canberra for 2 days, but when we got there, there were actually more things that we wanted to do than we had time for. Not a bad place for a short trip at all :)

Silo bakery
36 Giles Street
Kingston ACT 2604
(02) 6260 6060

The Kennedy Room
25 Kennedy Street
(02) 6162 2318

Bann Latsamy Thai Restaurant
M Centre
Shop 9, Flinders Way
Manuka ACT 2603

(02) 6295 0426

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Samcheonggak (三清閣)

I think it's about time I update my blog :p Haven't been eating at many new/interesting places lately. So not much of new material to write about. There are still stuff that I haven't posted though, so here's 1 of those. Just been feeling very tired lately, everyday after work, go home, have dinner, shower and sleep. Don't even have the energy to turn on my computer, let alone to sit in front of it to process photos or write. 

Anyway, let's talk food. Went to Seoul earlier this year for holiday. Most of the stuff we had were street food, little things or supermarket food court stuff. I think I'll just make 1 post later to show all those in 1 post. For this post, I'll write about our meal at Samcheonggak. It's 14 course Korean fine dining :D It's the most expensive meal the whole trip. ₩110,000 per person (which roughly converts to AUD 110). 

Started off with some fresh vege sticks with dip. Some chinese cabbage, celery, carrot and I'm not sure the other 1 was potato or pumpkin or something else. Didn't touch the celery. Not sure what dip that was too. I think it was some sort of bean paste kind of thing. Very strong flavour. Only need a little bit. 

This was the pumpkin porridge. A bit like pumpkin soup, but with some oats and grains to bite on. Served together with the pumpkin porridge was the watery kimchi. 
A better picture of the watery kimchi. It's a bit like the radish/carrot pickles that sometimes get served at the side of certain dishes in Vietnamese restaurants. 

Here's the Seasoned King Prawn with Squeezed Pine Nut. The first thing that came to our mind was 'It's a bit small for King Prawn'. It was nice, but the prawn is not as big as expected. Just a normal size adult prawn we normally get in Sydney. 

We had a bit of problem following the dishes that were served looking at the menu. It felt as though they just served whatever that got prepared quicker. Hence, this dish which was supposed to be the appetizer came after the prawn. Anyway, I quite like these tiny wraps. The wraps were really soft, with some vegetables inside. It was something light which would be good to start the meal with. Pity it didn't come out in order. 

Again, another out of order dish - Platter of Dried Five Delicacies. This was supposed to be the very first dish according to the menu. It became the 4th to our table. I have no idea what they were, I'm guessing from left to right: dried pumpkin, then some sort of dried fruit, another dried something, candied walnut and dried strawberry. Strawberry looked a bit funny though. The top looked pale pink, the bottom look greenish. Almost like a mouldy strawberry :p Not a big fan of dried fruit. I guess these were alright since I did finish them all. 

This was probably the best course of the whole meal - Stir fried abalone. The abalone was fresh and soft. Not chewy at all. Stir fried with some sesame seeds and sesame oil which gave it the great smell. As soon as Robin had a slice of it, he told me he would try making this back in Sydney (nope, never happened :p). 

Something extra for us. Couldn't find this in the menu and have absolutely no idea what it was haha.. Can't really tell much from the photo other than there's a slice of cucumber sitting on top a pile of stuff. 

Jeju Sliced Boiled Pork Belly. Not sure what those green leaves were, they were very aromatic which went very well wrapping the pork and ate together. Using the 2 different leaves even with the same meat would give 2 very different taste to the dish.

This blob of red thing was the Korean Beef Steak Tartare. A blob of raw meat like that just didn't look very nice to me :p It wasn't too bad though. Just didn't think it was too special that's all. 

This was the Grilled Duck Breast & Angelica Salad. It was nice, but again, didn't think it was impressive though. It wasn't dry or anything, but it could be nicer if the skin was crispier. 

This was the Wrapped Kimchi. It taste like the normal red kimchi, except presented slightly differnetly. All the smaller bits and pieces were wrapped in the big chinese cabbage leaves and put in a bowl like a ball of vegetable. Then it was cut open with a pair of scissors in front of us at our table to expose the filling inside. 

This is another dish that was really good. Couldn't decide which was my favourite between this and the abalone. This was the Braised Short Beef Rips with Abalone. Beef was really soft, abalone was just as nice as the previous version the gravy was sweet and fragrant. Just couldn't get enough of it. 

This was the Seafood Sinseollo i.e. royal hotpot. This was the 'special' in the menu. The whole meal would've been cheaper if we didn't have this. Just thought since I went all the way there, might as well see what's the fuss about. Nothing spectacular. Just a seafood soup. What was interesting was the pot itself :D It was a mini hot pot that was meant for 1 person only. It was soooo cute! Tiny little hotpot. We tried to find it in supermarket and department stores in Korea, couldn't find them. I should've taken another picture that show the size in perspective. It was around 15cm tall, 10cm diameter. 

Some Oyster Kimchi as a side dish. By then we were so full already that we hardly touched it. Big oysters though. 

Our last savoury dish - Seasonal Hot Pot with Rice. Basically a vegetable soup with rice. Different sorts of mushrooms, some chilli, tofu, greens, etc. 
Rice that came with the vegetable hot pot was nice. It was purple in colour with lots of grains in it. Chewy and little bit sticky. I was so full that time but I still tried to eat as much of the rice as I could. 

This was the only dessert that we had. No idea what the name was, only cinnamon dessert was mentioned. It looked like a mochi, when I saw it I was expecting something sticky and chewy, but it wasn't like that at all. It was more a soft fudge sort of texture. Can't say that I liked it, but it was o.k. 

Cinnamon Tea was served at the end of the meal. Even though I didn't like the cinnamon dessert, but I thought the tea was nice. Maybe because the cinnamon taste is not as strong as the dessert. The cinnamon was a bit more 'humble' here. Tea was little bit sweet with the smell of cinnamon and some pine nuts floating on top. Good end to the 14 course meal. 

Overall, I think for the same price I could get something better in Sydney. However, I probably shouldn't compare it this way, since it's totally different sort of experience, different sort of cuisine. The only thing I didn't like was the way they served. Dishes came out in the wrong order (they knew that too because they actually said to us "we serve this first, that will come later"). Also, it felt like we were being rushed. Usually in a degustation menu, dishes come out 1 by 1. Here, even before we finished our first dish, they would served the second dish on the table with the 3rd dish waiting at the side. Maybe the mentality is not to have us waiting, but I still don't think they should serve the next dish before we finish eating. From my experience with degustation menus, a 10 course meal would probably take 3 hours if not more. Over here, we finished our 14 courses within 1.5 hours. It wasn't 'eat slowly and enjoy', it was more like 'quick! next dish is here already!'. 

Seoul-si Seongbuk-gu 
Seongbuk2-dong 330-115 

We were there for lunch, the restaurant had lots of windows around so it was nice and bright to take photo. Very spacious seatings as well.