Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Rhodes Phoenix, Rhodes

The Phoenix Chain is a powerhouse. With chains in Parramatta, Sydney City. Rhodes, Zetland and Castle Hill; the reputation has led long lines of hungry yum cha patrons waiting for their food!

Trolleys of dumplings and other delights wake up the sensations on an early Saturday morning. The food at the Phoenix chain is consistent. Freshly steamed dumplings and other treats are always well cooked. The Har Gow (Prawn Dumpling) is a must have and is a favourite. The steamed BBQ Pork Buns are also a favourite. They were delicious.

My local Rhodes Phoenix is a classic example whereby you need to get there at 10 to 10:30AM or you will be waiting for up to an hour. The food is consistent and without any competition in the area (Eastwood and Strathfield doesn't quite compete with Rhodes Phoenix); it's a the classic yum cha experience. Hustle, bustle, tea, chili, dumplings.. it has atmosphere.

If I was in the city, I would probably go to Marigold or The Eight or at the Fish Markets at Fisherman's Wharf instead of Sky Phoenix. I love variety and other yum cha restaurants just bring something different to the table.

Prices: $20 per person

Location: Inside the Rhodes Shopping Centre. 2 Rider Bvld, Rhodes. You can visit Ikea while you're there. Ikea is a good back up if Rhodes Phoenix is too busy. 

Rhodes Phoenix on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Sabu Restaurant and Bar, Parramatta

Sabu Restaurant and Bar in Parramatta is something different in Church St.

Sabu is now the place in Parramatta for Japanese Tapas. For Happy Hour Tapas, go on a Friday night and order between 5pm to 7pm. So Friday Night Dinner would be perfection for a bargain meal.

Sabu Restaurant and Bar is not really a traditional Japanese restaurant. I would say it's more a modern fusion restaurant. 78% like rate on urbanspoon is right on the ball!!! Great work guys

I ordered the King Fish Carpaccio ($10 in happy hour) which was not bad but I do miss the traditional flavours of zesty lemon with Carpaccio type dishes. The fish sauce for the king fish did not quite work for me and this dish is normally $16.

The Karaage Chicken Roll was nice and well put together (pictured below). I would recommend ordering this dish of crumbed chicken, cucumber, spicy mayonnaise and tempura crunch in a rice roll. It's normally $16 outside of happy hour.

The Momo dumplings ($10 in happy hour and normally $12) were steamed dumplings with wagyu mince, onion and coriander with Achar (an indian pickle).  They were very different and unique. I haven't had dumplings like these before. Worth a try if you like the look of them.

I definitely recommend the tuna tataki salad ($10 in happy hour, normally $18) which is a small portion of slightly seared tuna loin coated with sesame seeds (about 7 pieces in total) with soba noodles with coriander and dressing. The noodles were peanut -like and I really enjoyed all the components together.

For dessert, "Snow" pictured below ($16) was pistachio and matcha (green tea) crumbs, yuzu parfait, pistachio ice cream and pine foam. It was not bad. I would be tempted to skip dessert and go to Gelato Messina instead but for something different, I would suggest trying their desserts!

Parramatta is not known for any great Japanese-Fusion Restaurants so I think Sabu is probably going to be the highlight moving forward. Check it out!

Prices: $30 per person. Probably more outside of happy hour

Location: 321 Church St, Parramatta

Sabu Restaurant and Bar on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Olive Bar and Grill, Hornsby

66% is an appropriate like rate for the Olive Bar and Grill. Breakfast is at a very reasonable price and is a good alternative if you don't feel like cooking yourself. There was nothing amazing but sometimes you just need a consistent eatery at a reasonable price. You can get your classics so I got toast, two poached eggs ($6.50) and a hash brown ($extra $1.50). Everything was cooked well and the poached eggs were perfectly running on the inside.

For the more hungry, you may opt for the big brekkie. At $12.90, I thought this was a very reasonably priced breakfast. With fried eggs, bacon, baked beans, grilled tomato, mushroom and toast. The bacon could have been more crispy but all the other components were well cooked.

Prices: $10ish for breakfast

Location: Just outside Hornsby Westfield, Shop 2031 Florence St, Hornsby

Olive Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Grounds of Alexandria (Altrium), Keep it fresh launch

The Altrium @ the Grounds of Alexandria was the venue for the Glad Keep it Fresh Launch. I thought the breakfast was beautifully presented. So here are some pictures to show off the breakfast.

Fruit platter of many colours and fruits :)

Eggs, tomato, zucchini in a pan

Naughty Naughty pastries.

Cityexperts, A Google Event

City Experts is a great club to be part of. Each month, google reviewers who review over 50 reviews and 5 each month are considered City Experts and are invited to an exclusive event.  The November City Expert event was held at the Bucket List in Bondi.

This event was fantastic with google having a mechanical surf board, a make your own gelato messina stand and make your own dukka stand!  Naturally, there were drinks and delicious food by the Bucket List as well. 

The Bucket List was the perfect venue for the City Expert Event. Good food amongst the very beautiful scenic background. Given the Bucket List were catering for hundreds of people, I was very impressed.

The Sliders were perfection. I quite enjoyed the beef sliders and on their normal menu, you can get 3 for $20 which I think is a bit pricey but consistent with the location. They also had buckets of fish and chips which were also very delicious and are normally $27 which was very pricey for the portions.

What a view though (below); I can just imagine tourists who imagine coming to the stereotypical Australian beach who will not be disappointed with this view at the Bucket List.

Gelato Messina always delivers... I had to share my photo below of Vanilla and Raspberry Gelato, tim tam and brownie (below). Yum!

I love City Expert Events and this one was very well organised. I had a great time!

Please note: I am a City Expert and attended this event.

The Bucket List on Urbanspoon

Friday, 12 December 2014

Green Peppercorn, Fairfield

I would come back but I think on this occasion it was just an off night. I had such fond memories of my first adventure there. Normally, I'd agree with their 75% like rate. I had an amazing experience last time I went to Green Peppercorn but the second time round, it wasn't as good. The dessert was quite pleasant and the only highlight.

The above flat rice cashew noodle with chicken just didn't quite have the right mix of flavours in its sauce. There were large chunks of inedible herbs that I didn't quite enjoy. Very disappointing given I had the same dish last time and it was great.

I also ordered the crispy noodles with beef (below). A traditionally Chinese dish but a favourite for many. It was a good dish but awkwardly presented. The copious amount of gravy sauce really drowned the bottom of the plate and the noodles above really struggled to get any balance of sauce.

The Pandan Creme Brulee was the only highlight of this particular meal. (Pictured below); with bright green colours; it was perfect in flavours and textures. It was soft and gooey at the bottom with a hard sugary top. A great dessert.

Prices: about $15 per main

Location: 1 Hamilton Rd, Fairfield

Green Peppercorn on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Three Williams, Redfern

The very trendy warehouse restaurant 'Three Williams' in Redfern fills up quickly so get there early to be prepared to wait. I hate waiting! The atmosphere was quite homely and fresh. I quite liked the feature branch which hangs from the ceiling when you enter.

The very refreshing lemon iced tea with mint ($5ish) was el natural with very limited sweetness so I assume less sugar than your bottled iced teas. All their shakes are very tasty and packed of flavour ($8).  You can taste the milk and ice cream, which is delicious. 

The Merchant ($13) was the a fried egg with sprinkles of chili and spring onion, bacon, pickled slaw, ranch dressing on a bioche bun (below). It's what you would want if slightly hung over. It was consistent and a nice tangent on the traditional bacon and egg roll. The better choice on the day was the corn fritters though. 

The Corn Fritters ($18) below was served with bacon, sausages, tomato and capsicum salsa on top with potatoes and a touch of sour cream. This was a winner because it was just so homely and filling. The different elements of corn fritter with different textures of crunch from the bacon and potato with the tomato and capsicum salsa just worked really well. A great breakfast.

Prices: $11-18 for breakfast mains

Location: 613 A Elizabeth St, Redfern. Street Parking wasn't too bad to find. Get there early though.

Three Williams on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Assembly Bar, Sydney

Assembly Bar has two sides - a dark and dingey bar on the inside and green, fake grass with plastic plant walls and doors as tables in a picnic style operation on the outside. It caters for a quiet chat outside in the fake picnic environment or a flirty date inside in trendy dark corners with couches.

I caught up with an old mentor of mine which always helps when you have good company. We drank glasses of Holy Trinity Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre which was very easy to drink over old stories and memories over the ten years that we've known each other.

For a change, I ate at Assembly with delicious sliders and a side of fries.  The sliders ($5) each varied in pork burgers, vegetarian (tomato, cheese) and the crumbed lamb. They were quick, easy, bites to eat. A great snack.

The chips are what you expect at a bar, the truffle aioli was very watery. When I first came here, it was beautifully thick and full of truffle flavour. A bit disappointing but it didn't stop me from devouring the chips.

I'm a regular here, having regular chats to the barman who is studying engineering and often talks about the challenges of getting an internship.

Prices: Sliders were $5 each, chips were $9 from memory

Location: Bottom of Regent Place aka under KFC on George st near Town Hall. 488 Kent St, Sydney 

Assembly on Urbanspoon

Monday, 8 December 2014

Greenwood Chinese Takeaway, North Sydney

Greenwood Chinese Takeaway is the spin off the Greenwood Seafood Restaurant for quick take away meals. I would describe the Greenwood Chinese Takeaway as fancy Chinese.  For $10 or $11, you can go for special BBQ duck, chicken or pork dishes with beautiful noodles. 

You can also opt for the more typical oily/msg type chinese options too. I had the soy chicken with noodles and greens. It was something different for lunch. The chicken was good, the skin was a bit weird looking but I still ate it all as it was tasty, There were tonnes of noodles that I couldn't finish but I was pleasantly surprised when they weren't too oily. Great noodles.

Prices: $10-12 for most main meals

Location: Right next to Greenwood Seafood Restaurant in the plaza, 101 Miller St, North Sydney

Greenwood Chinese Takeaway on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Keep it Fresh Launch by Glad

Most households are bound to throw out a lot of food. Glad's reckons we throw out about $1000 worth of food every year. I normally use Glad products anyway but they have a new formula for their cling wrap which is meant to keep food fresher for longer. I find that Glad wrap normally is tighter than the cheaper brands anyway but good to know that it's even better.

Guests hosts and ex My Kitchen Rules contestants Carly Saunders and Tresne Middleton chatted along with Angelo Sosa (Contestant on American Show, Top Chef) about keeping food fresh. One of the best tips that Angelo mentioned was talking about how to keep herbs fresh.

I took his advice and got my coriander and wrapped this in a paper towel which was lightly drenched in water. Then I tightly wrapped this with Glad wrap like a sushi roll. The herbs lasted much longer, a good week longer then how I normally store them (sitting in a jar of water). It worked quite well!!!!

Above is a quick snack or breakfast treat that Angelo suggested making for any left over vegetables. It makes the eggs look very sexy. I went home and took some other advice and I chopped up some left over vegetables and froze them in the glad sandwich bag for later use. It worked well actually.

So I quite enjoyed this launch by Glad which just raised more awareness of wastage and suggested ways of preserving your food!

P.S: Angelo Sosa is so tall!

Note: Please note I was invited as a guest to this launch.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Chef's Gallery Macquarie, Macquarie Park

The 47% rating on urbanspoon is harsh! Chef's Gallery in Macquarie Centre is a great addition to the other new eateries in the centre.  It's a consistent eatery and I had a good experience. It wasn't amazing but 47% is below average and way too harsh. It's located just by the Cinemas in Macquarie Centre. (I can't help but eye off Snag Stand when I go to the cinema there.)

Best described as posh, clean and tasty Chinese food, Chef's gallery seems to have a lot of queues outside of their eatery. I would suggest you get there a bit earlier for a brunch.

I love Asian drinks so I ordered the soy milk and the mango ice shake (pictured above).  I had a great seat which had limited space but had a great view of all the action that was going on in the kitchen.

The pricey ($30) pork belly and fish dish below which you roll in the lettuce leaf and dip in the peanut / honey dipping sauce was nice. The fish was a bit dry and the pork belly was crunchy. It was a pricey dish which had good elements but I would not recommend ordering this dish overall.

I love handmade noodles.  I ordered the handmade thick noodles wok fried with terriyaki chicken. red and green capsicum and pineapple topped with black and white sesame at $16.90. I quite like the subtle flavours of pineapple and lightly flavoured terriyaki chicken.

I would probably suggest you order the handmade noodles in a tomato based sauce with prawns over this dish though. Check out my former blog here. That dish was amazing!

Finally, I ordered the Prawn and Pork Wontons in a Shanghainese Spicy Sauce (5 pieces at $9.90). I absolutely devoured and enjoyed this dish. I love the sauce which is a sweet, slightly spicy dish. Drop by, it's so convenient by the cinema!

Prices: $20 or 30 per head

Location: By the cinema, within Macquarie Centre. 157 Herring Rd, Macquarie Park.

Chefs Gallery Macquarie on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Andy's Sushi, North Sydney

Andy's Sushi is Asian Fusion with Sushi, Pho and Bibimbap all available at very for value prices. I don't think I've ever encountered Japanese, Vietnamese and Korean in one place. When I was broke last month, I was looking for high-value lunches in North Sydney when I got sick of my own home made lunches and I must have come to Andy's numerous times.

You can get 3 sushi rolls for $6 which was great! While they are not the most attractive looking Sushi rolls, they were consistent in taste and for value! I got some variety with beef teriyaki, prawn tempura and salmon avocado rolls. There are some brown rice options as well. 

On another occasion; I ordered the beef pho (vietnamese noodle soup) for $8.  The broth is not as flavoursome as some of the 'truly' Vietnamese eateries but it was still tasty. There were plenty pieces of beef and accompaniments of chili and lemon.  There was a distinct absence of herbs as well.  But it is slightly cheaper than your typical $10-$15 bowls of pho.  I would only come here if you are on a budget and those few dollars make a difference. I would go to Pho Express instead for the proper pho experience.  I'm sure Viet's Pho would also give Andy's Sushi a good run for its money. 

Prices: Cheap and cheerful - $6 for three rolls of sushi, $8 for Pho

Location: 153 Miller St, nearby the MLC building

Andy's Sushi on Urbanspoon