Bondi Pizza, Parramatta ($$)

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Address: 320 Church Street, Parramatta NSW

Tel: (02) 9891 9221

Website: http://www.bondipizza.com.au/

* * *

A recent Friday night meant cousins catch up time for me!

I decided to organise a dinner with my cousins, Rach, TheAviator, Shaniqua and her husband Benjasingha. MC also came along.

Sadly my bro Wicko and some of my other cousins were unable to make it but “next time”, they assured us!

Atmosphere

We decided to check out Bondi Pizza and after discovering that roads were closed on Church Street, we parked at Westfields Parramatta and walked over.

The atmosphere in Parramatta is usually quite busy on Friday nights but due to Parramasala being on, it was a little quieter in Church Street as most people were down at the Park.

At Bondi Pizza, we were able to get a table for 6 in the outside seating area, despite not having a reservation.  We were pretty pleased with ourselves and even though we would have preferred a seat inside, we were not prepared to wait the 25 minutes for it!

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Front of the restaurant from outside

Service

Service was fantastic. Our waitress was helpful, friendly, polite, and funny.  She was really nice and made us all feel comfortable and looked after. She was also very efficient and quickly brought out food and cleared plates when we were done.

Excellent service!

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My grapefruit juice and MC’s apple cider

Food

MC and I decided to share a couple of side dishes along with a pizza as I was not really hungry (having had sausage rolls and pies for afternoon tea at work!).

MC chose the Chilli Prawn Pizza.  I was pleased with his choice as I am a seafood lover (prawn in particular), and also love a kick of chilli.

I was also pretty impressed that he chose the chilli prawn option, as he was never a big fan of chilli previously.  I like to think that this shows that my influence is having a positive effect on his food choices, making him branch out and eat things he would never have had before! :p

The pizza itself had a delicious soft yet crisp base, and a lovely spicy sauce.

It contained, prawns, basil, roma tomatoes, roasted capsicum and pesto with a chilli sauce (probably more like a chilli oil).  The pesto added some saltiness and colour, but was a little unnecessary as there was already plenty of sauce and oil.

I would have liked to see whole prawns instead of pieces of prawn, and also some fresh herbs and a wedge of lemon on top.  Otherwise, it was a pretty tasty pizza.

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Chilli Prawn Pizza, $25.95

We also got a side of Garlic Bread, which came as two halves of a large roll, drenched in garlic butter and sprinkled with fresh herbs.

This was a delicious side which we both enjoyed, although we could only manage  one half between the two of us as we were so full.

For an extra $1.50 you can order the Garlic Bread with Cheese as well!

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Garlic Bread, $4.95

Finally, I ordered a Rocket, Pear and Parmesan Salad.

As I wasn’t too hungry, I wanted a light and fresh salad to break up the pizza and garlic bread.

While the pear and rocket was delicious and fresh, there was a lot of parmesan which counteracted that! That said, it was good to see a generous portion of parmesan, plenty of pears and fresh rocket.

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Rocket, pear and parmesan salad, $11.95

Overall

The food was pretty good, especially that soft pizza base which was crisp at the bottom.

Service was fast, friendly, efficient and enjoyable- our waitress was definitely the star of the show.

The atmosphere in Parramatta on a Friday night is pretty good and there are plenty of places to go to for dessert or drinks afterwards, so it is a good spot for a laid back night out.

We visited Yogurberry for Rach’s first fro-yo experience. My prediction? This girl is going to be a regular!

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Rating:

I would rate my experience (out of 10):

  • Service- 8.75
  • Food- 7.75
  • Ambience- 7
  • Value – 7

Bondi Pizza Parramatta on Urbanspoon

Sushi Hotaru, The Galeries Victoria ($)

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When I first met MC in 2011, he had never had sushi before. I loved it and had been a fan for many years.

Eventually, when we went on a first date, he took me to a sushi train at Broadway shopping centre – a brave move for someone who had never tried sushi before!  introduced him to the more tame sushi first (chicken and avocado, prawn and avocado and tuna) and he really enjoyed it.  I too enjoyed the entertainment of seeing his face when he tried wasabi for the first time!

Now, a few years down the track, we both consider ourselves to be sushi pros! MC has also progressed from eating only chicken and prawn sushi to loving seared salmon, sashimi, scallops and more.

Atmosphere

We eat at  Sushi Hotaru Bathurst Street about once a week as it is consistently good – good variety, good quality, good price and good location and we’ve also been to Sushi Hotaru at The Galeries a number of times.

The atmosphere at Sushi Hotaru in The Galeries is one of hustle and bustle with hungry city diners waiting for a spot at the popular sushi train. The walls feature an interesting and colourful design reminiscent of a scene in Tokyo, and the roof and tables and chairs are in a sleek and modern black.

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Hungry diners come and go, choosing from either the sushi train, a conveyor belt of random sushi items; or the ipad screens at each table which feature a large range of menu options, including made-to-order soups and hot food.

The sushi train is topped up by the staff, preparing fresh sushi and checking the colour and temperature of the fish every couple of hours to ensure freshness and quality.

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MC and I are big fans of the ipad system and are a little bit snobby towards restaurants that don’t have this feature. This is because it makes it really easy and fun to order!

You can peruse the menu, order drinks, food and desserts, check what you have ordered and call for the bill! Very easy and much better than trying to struggle to get a waiter’s attention!

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Food

The menu at Sushi Hotaru changes three to four times a year. You also have the option of ordering what you like from the ipads, so you are not limited to just the sushi train and best of all, most of the dishes are only $3!

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We tried a number of dishes including:

MC’s favourite, seared salmon sushi- pieces of seared salmon atop a bed of rice, with a spicy seasoning.

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Beef tataki sushi- pounded beef atop a bed of rice, with onions and shallots.

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Grilled salmon and scallops sushi- soft and just seared seafood with a slightly smoky taste!

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Soft shell crab and egg handroll- with rice inside and seaweed wrapped around it. Super hot, crunchy and delicious- a new favourite.

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Chicken karaage- basically deep-fried chicken, Japanese style.

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Salmon sashimi- delicately sliced raw salmon. Another favourite; the sashimi is delicious and oily, no fishy taste, it just melts in the mouth.

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Sweet chilli chicken sushi – deep fried sweet chicken with rice and seaweed, topped with mayonnaise.

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Renkon chips (see here)- lotus root chips, crunchy and deep-fried until golden. These were a little burnt but that didn’t stop us from demolishing them!

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Deep-fried prawn- in a panko bread crumb with a delicious mayonnaise on the side, these are very crunchy and one of my personal favourites! A crowd pleaser!

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Mochi cake with marshmallows and lollies for dessert. Mochi is a Japanese rice cake and has a very chewy, soft texture.  This one was filled with a sweet paste and was quite yummy – a good way to finish off the meal.

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Recap

Overall MC and I enjoyed our meal greatly. The food was tasty and we are big fans of the variety of dishes on option and the no fuss ordering system. We had no issues in ordering and the staff were friendly and helpful when we went to pay.

I would rate my experience (out of 10):

  • Service – 6.5
  • Food – 7
  • Ambience – 6.5
  • Value – 8

TCFB and MC dined as guests of Sushi Hotaru.

* * *

Address: The Galeries Victoria RP1, 500 George Street, Sydney NSW

Tel: (02) 9264 9917

Website: http://yesfood.com.au/hotaru.html

SUSHI HOTARU The Galleries on Urbanspoon

ABODE Bistro, Park Royal, Darling Harbour ($$$)

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ABODE restaurant is located at the Park Royal hotel in Darling Harbour, just a five minute walk from Town Hall Station, down Bathurst Street.

TW and I headed over to ABODE one particularly stormy night after work and stumbled into the restaurant out of the rain, soaking wet and looking thoroughly dishevelled. No pretentious stares or disapproving looks here; we were shown the direction of the ladies room so we could dry off, without any fuss at all.

Once we were satisfactorily dry, we were seated in the bistro area, a modern and bright space featuring white and sandy-coloured furniture.

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Atmosphere

The restaurant has recently undergone a huge redesign and now features both a casual bar area and a more formal bistro.

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The decor is fresh, modern and laid-back with a beachy vibe. The place is great for a casual lunch or dinner when you want to be able to hear conversation over dinner, rather than having loud music blaring at you or huge crowds of people swarming around, like some of the other city venues.

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Service

Our lovely waitress Anna showed us the bistro menu, which is slightly different to (and fancier than) the bar menu.

Anna was very professional, friendly, and had great knowledge of the menu items. She explained each one very well and made some good recommendations.

She was very attentive and would often fill up our water glasses or ask if we wanted another drink, or clear plates and cups away once we were done.

Food

The restaurant uses fresh and seasonal local produce which is really reflected in the items on offer, which include a raw bar and fresh oysters. These ingredients are transformed by Chef Ryan Hong, who serves up delicious modern Australian dishes with a few Asian-inspired desserts and entrees.

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We started with drinks. I enjoyed a delicious cocktail of Sloe Summer Breeze which had gin, liquor 43 vanilla liqueur, muddled berries, lime and pomegranate juice. The drink was fresh and fruit, with a strong pomegranate and berry flavour and I liked the fact that the gin wasn’t too overpowering.

TW had a rose, but noted that it wasn’t as sweet as she would have liked.

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Sloe Summer Breeze, $20 and Rose by the glass

We started with delicious warm bread and Pepe Saya butter.

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Bread and Butter, $3 per portion

For entree, TW chose the calamari- cuttlefish ink tempura, sriracha chilli gel, mint, herb aioli.  The calamari was very well cooked, not at all chewy or rubbery. It had a glorious deep black colour which contrasted with the fresh herbs and chilli sprinkled on top. The sriracha was fiery and moreish and we also loved the fresh aioli. This was one of our favourite dishes and is highly recommended.

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Calamari, $18

I chose the pork belly dish with seared scallop and carrot two ways. The scallops were golden on top and well cooked and the vegetables were caramelised and still retained their firmness. The pork belly was very tender at the base, falling away easily when I tried to cut it. The crackling was also super crunchy and delicious. Unfortunately, the top of the pork belly was quite fatty, which made it hard to cut and not very appealing to eat, but I guess that is the nature of pork belly! Overall the dish was well-presented and had some well-executed components.

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Pork Belly, $19

For mains, TW chose the rack of lamb with aubergine puree, crispy artichoke and pressed ratatouille. She was not impressed with the presentation and thought that it was not very neat and was not presented as a lamb rack, but more as a couple of lamb chops with some vegetables. However, she said the meat was perfectly cooked and was tasty.

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Rack of Lamb, $38

I chose the Cone Bay ocean barramundi with broad bean and artichoke ragout and Lemon arancini. The dish was pretty as a picture on the plate and the serving size was generous. The barramundi was well-cooked with crispy, salted skin. I also enjoyed the crunchy arancini which had a fresh lemon and cheese flavour. The bed of mushed peas and broadbeans completed the dish and added some colour to the plate. Would order again.

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Barramundi, $34

For dessert we ordered one dish to share, as we were very full by this point!

Anna informed us that the Opera Cake is ABODE’s most popular dessert but in the end we could not resist the pandan cake with coconut sago broth, coconut and lime sorbet.

The dessert looked very interesting and comprised of a broken up warm pandan cake spread length-ways across the plate and lined with grilled pineapple pieces. The sago and coconut broth were spread on either side of the cakeand a scoop of lime gelato and a sprinkling of toasted coconut completed the dish. It was a very light and refreshing way to end the meal, just what we wanted!

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Pandan Cake with Sago, $15

We also enjoyed a latte and a peppermint tea.

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Tea or coffee, $4 each

Recap

TW and I really enjoyed our experience at ABODE and were impressed by the modern atmosphere, excellent service and innovative dishes. We loved the entrees and desserts the most as they were super exciting, although the mains would be great for those seeking a classic dish such as steak or grilled fish.

Rating:

I would rate my experience (out of 10):

  • Service – 8.5
  • Food – 7
  • Ambience – 7
  • Value – 7

TW and TCFB dined courtesy of ABODE restaurant and Park Royal. 

* * *

Address: Park Royal Hotel, 150 Day Street, Sydney NSW

Tel: (02) 9260 2945

Email: rsvp@abodebistro.com

Website: www.abodebistro.com 

Abode Bistro on Urbanspoon

Ms G’s, Potts Point ($$)

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MDS and I had been wanting to try Ms G’s for quite some time but could never quite bother to head over to Potts Point when there are so many good places to try in the CBD.

One Thursday afternoon we decided to venture out, catching the train to Kings Cross station and walking down to the popular restaurant.

Atmosphere

Ms G’s is another of Justin Hemmes’ quirky little restaurants. With Executive Chef Dan Hong, of El Loco and Mr Wong fame at the helm, and Head Chef Patrick Friesen from Canada also in the mix, you know the food is going to be interesting and inspiring!

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Ms G’s has a grungy look to it.

The dark room with large wooden tables and graffitied walls has a sort of behind-the-dumpster look.  It is dark, yet interesting, the sort of place that, if it wasn’t a popular restaurant by a reputable company, I might be too scared to go to.

The rows of white graffitied words on the wall add some colour and depth to the room, while the low, dim lights keep it simple and intimate.

I like the look of the place overall, and it seems to fit right in with the area and the hipster set that come for dinner.

Service

We got to Ms G’s and put our name on the list for a table for two.

Two people. Shouldn’t take too long to get a table should it? Nah… that’s what we thought.

We were told it would take about 30-40 minutes to get a table. That’s not too bad, we said.  You can just grab a drink while you wait at the bar upstairs, they said.

MDS and I grabbed a drink. A very interesting drink. It was call a G’n and T’d Slushee.

The drink contained beefeater, green apple and peach liqueurs, pink grapefruit juice, jasmine and pearls.

Despite not being a big gin fan, I really enjoyed this drink as it had a slighly mandarin-like flavour.  It was sweet but still a little sour from the grapefruit, and the pearls gave it an interesting texture.

It was an interesting concept, having a cocktail in a plastic, sealed cup. Being an Easyway/Bubble Tea fan, I definitely enjoyed it and loved biting on the little pearls.

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G’n and T’d Slushee, $14.00

About an hour and twenty minutes later we FINALLY got a table.  My phone rang (I had put my number down on the list), and we were asked to come to the ground level, where we were led to a table.

Having perused the menu for, oh about an hour, MDS and I already knew what we wanted.  We quickly ordered and waited hungrily for our food.

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The food didn’t take too long to come out, although we were a little disappointed that the dishes came out one by one rather than all together as we had hoped.

This meant that we had to eat them in the order they came out in, and couldn’t enjoy the salad with the ribs, as we wanted to.

That said, the staff were pleasant, but they seemed a little tired, perhaps because it was the end of the night.

Food

We started off with the Spicy Snow Crab Sesame Leaf.

We ordered two and although they looked a little scary (reminded me of the betel leaf I had seen in Sri Lanka), they were quite nice.

The soft crab contrasted well with the bursting roe and the tangy mayo to make a refreshing starter to our meal.  It was a good way to ease two hungry diners in to dinner.

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Snow Crab Sesame Leaf, $12.00 ($6.00 each)

Next out was the Crispy Pork, Calamari and Pineapple Salad.

This dish was tropical and great for summer.  The fresh mint and tangy pineapple (one of my favourite fruits) was beautiful with the crunchy fried corn kernels, parsley and soft and salty pork belly.

The one thing I didn’t really enjoy about the dish was the calamari, which I thought was a little tough, despite being beautifully presented in scored swirls.

This dish could also have done with a sweet and spicy dressing.

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Crispy Pork, Calamari and Pineapple Salad, $16.00

Jow’s Sweet and Sour Lamb Ribs are to die for.

The sticky sauce was not unlike the sauce on the ribs at Sweethearts Rooftop BBQ, around the corner.

There were about six ribs, which was more than enough for MDS and I who were already starting to get full, but would not have been enough for MC or Wicko had they come along.

The lime was great to cut through the fat and oil, and the parsley on top added a touch of colour to the presentation.

These are definitely a must try as they are soft, tender, sticky and moreish!

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Jow’s Sweet and Sour Lamb Ribs, $23.00

Finally, we ordered the Malaysian style Butter Prawns with Curry Leaf, Chilli and Lime.

I was surprised when the dish came out as I expected a rich, creamy curry with some rice.

Instead, the dish consisted of some large prawns with a thick covering of a coconut sambol (not unlike the Sri Lankan kind) and a generous sprinkling of chilli and herbs.

While the dish was tasty, with well-cooked prawns and nicely flavoured coconut, I would have been disappointed had I ordered this as a main for myself, as it would have been hard to eat without some sort of side.

Also, the dish does not look anything like what it’s name sounds like.

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Malaysian style butter prawns, curry leaf  chilli, lime, $29.00

Overall

Overall I was a little disappointed by Ms G’s.

The service was upsetting. After waiting almost 1.5 hours for a meal you do get quite fed up of sitting around hungrily waiting for food.

The drinks were good however, and we both enjoyed the cocktail in a cup.  Food was tasty and interesting, but it would have been better if all the dishes came out at once.

All said and done, it is a good experience and worth a try (perhaps on a less busy night).

Rating:

I would rate my experience (out of 10):

  • Service- 4 (for the long wait)
  • Food- 7
  • Ambience- 8
  • Value – 7

* * *

Address: 155 Victoria St  Potts Point NSW

Tel: (02) 8313 1000

Website: http://merivale.com.au/msgs

Ms.G's on Urbanspoon

Meat District Co, King Street Wharf Sydney ($$)

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Sydney is generally a pretty happening place with plenty of new restaurants popping up, but the King Street Wharf area hasn’t changed much in the last ten years or so, so when I was invited to attend the launch of the brand new venue Meat District Co at Lime Street, I was pretty excited to see what it had to offer to the area.

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Meat District Co has been established in Pasadena, Los Angeles for many years and appears to be pretty successful there.  Platinum Restaurants have recently brought the concept to Australia, opening this venue only two weeks ago.  There are plans to open another similar restaurant in Parramatta, Sydney.

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The focus is, of course, on the meat; and Meat District Co has a broad “paddock-to-plate” menu featuring everything from burgers, to steaks, to ribs. The beef is hormone, steroid and antibiotic free.

I took MDS along to the launch as a plus one as she works in the Wynyard area and often heads to King Street Wharf for Friday night work drinks. We were both pretty impressed by the venue and the food and are keen to return again (note: they have happy hour!).

Atmosphere

The venue is quite large and has two levels with a spiral staircase in the centre and waterfront views on both top and bottom levels.

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The top level features a bar area with a beautiful view out onto the water, high bar tables and stools, and smaller tables for two. It’s a great spot for drinks in the evening or even a casual wine with an antipasto platter and would be ideal to hire out for a birthday or corporate drinks event.

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The bottom level has the kitchen and a much larger area for seated diners. It is also very bright and open – making it perfect for a weekend lunch or group event!

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Overall the venue has a rustic, industrial feel but with a modern bar area and new finishes; very much a “city bar.” The tables are mostly wood, and the bar stools are iron, all stamped with the Meat District Co logo.

Service

We were impressed by the friendly staff who were very obliging of our requests to take photos of the food, holding the heavy boards as steadily as they could while we did so. They were also pretty efficient and attentive clearing our plates, bringing out fresh cutlery and filling our wine glasses.

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Executive Chef Russel Rasheduzzaman has over 15 years of experience and has done a great job with the food at Meat District Co.  The menu features somewhat ranch-style dishes with plenty of meats and burgers, some great salads and delicious desserts!

When we arrived, a number of large antipasto boards were placed around the room, featuring cold meats, fried Lebanese bread, olives, crackers and pickles. The meats were so fresh and flavoursome and MDS and I loved the crunchy, salted Lebanese bread which tasted like Original Doritos! The board was very well presented and a generous serving, the only thing missing was perhaps some cheese.

???????????????????????????????Cured Meat Platter w. a selection of premium cured meats, fruits, pickled vegetables, skordalia. Served with bread, lavosh & grisini

Next we had some mini boats of Beet salad which contained roasted apples, beetroot, radish and watercress with a yogurt and pesto dressing. The salad was light and fresh and the dish was very summery and pretty to look at too!

IMG_0493Beet Salad w. goat curd, roasted apple, radish, watercrest & walnut pesto

We also enjoyed the compressed watermelon salad. The watermelon had an interesting texture; unlike the usual firm, lightness we expected, this watermelon was dense, sweeter and had a tomato-like consistency, holding together well when we tried to cut it with a fork. I liked the fact that it was grilled, which made it slightly charred and thought it was a pretty generous serving for the price we saw in the menu. I couldn’t really taste the hazelnuts in the dish.

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Compressed, grilled watermelon salad, sumac, goat cheese and hazelnut

Next were the sweet chilli and lime corn cobs with cheese. These were titbits of sweet and sour heaven. I am a huge corn fan and also love a good charred flavour so these barbecued corn cobs were perfect. The lime was quite strong and the chilli made its presence known on my lips! Definitely a winner!

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? Sweet summer corn w. chilli, lime & truffle parmesan

We tried some of the bone marrow as well, something which is quite new to me.  The bone marrow tasted pretty fatty so MDS wasn’t a fan.  It was a bit like foie gras, except that the garlic, parsley and mustard dressing added a lot more flavour to this dish. The olive bread was delicious though and I thought it was a good complementary dish.

???????????????????????????????Roasted bone marrow w garlic, parsley, mustard seeds, chilli. served w. bread

One of my favourite dishes was the crunchy onion rings. The rings were beautifully presented and on a tangy aioli.  The actual onion rings were large and the batter was extremely light and very moreish. Ate two….oh well – you gotta live a little? :P

???????????????????????????????Crispy battered onion rings w. truffle aioli

We also tried mini slider versions of the beef truffle, soft shell crab, brie and cranberry and chicken burgers. All were presented very nicely on cute little brioche buns with small black seeds on top.

???????????????????????????????MDC beef patty w. truffle parmesan, rocket, roasted peppers, tomato & truffle aioli

The beef burger and chicken burgers were super tasty and flavoursome. I also enjoyed the brie and cranberry burger which had creamy cheese and sweet cranberries inside. Unfortunately I thought the soft shell crab had a bit too much dressing for my liking, which masked the actual crab flavour.

 

??????????????????????????????? Crumbed chicken breast w. sesame seeds, almond flakes, tomato, coleslaw & horseradish mayo

The pork ribs were super tasty, had a great sauce on them and fell off the bone. The beef ribs were a little fatty but the meat was quite tasty.

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???????????????????????????????Half rack or full rack of delicious beef ribs

And finally, dessert; my favourite part of any meal. We enjoyed salted caramel tarts with delicious popcorn topping and an oreo cheesecake.

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Although I am not a cheesecake person, I didn’t mind the oreo cheesecake as it had a bit of a cream cheese taste, wasn’t too overpowering, and of course, had delicious oreos in it!

??????????????????????????????? Oreo cheesecake

My favourite however, was the salted caramel tart with its creamy centre, crunchy pastry and delicious popcorn on top. MDS and I each had two mini tarts!

??????????????????????????????? Salted Caramel Tart with popcorn and ice cream

We ended the night with a delicious cocktail spoon which featured a little jelly-like bubble that burst in your mouth. There were some great lychee, apple and floral flavours and it was a great example of some of Head Bartender Kai Cuske’s molecular mixology skills!

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Recap

Overall, a fabulous new venue in a great location, an with a nice view of the water. I love the atmosphere and styling and think this place will do very well in trendy Sydney. Service was friendly and food was delicious with plenty of variety on the menu and very good prices.

Rating:

I would rate my experience (out of 10):

  • Service- 8.5
  • Food- 8
  • Ambience- 8
  • Value – 8

TCFB & MDS dined courtesy of Platinum Restaurants and Meat District Co.

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Address: Shop 3, R11 Lime Street, King Street Wharf Sydney

Tel: (02) 9279 4115

Website: http://www.meatdistrictco.com.au/

Meat District Co. on Urbanspoon

Baja Cantina, Glebe ($$)

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A post-work “adventure” away from the usual spots led MC and I to walk down to Glebe for dinner.

We had no idea where we were going or what we wanted to eat, but we ended up on Glebe Point Road (turns out we weren’t the only losties as we ended up giving directions via Google Maps to some European backpackers looking for a hostel!).

After walking up and down the road trying to decide where to go, we eventually decided on Baja Cantina.

The fact that it was pretty packed out was, we thought, an indication that the food must be pretty good or that it was at least good value.  Turns out we weren’t wrong!

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Atmosphere

We walked in and were seated near the door at a small table for two.

Latin music, a full house and some interesting artwork result in a bright and interesting space with plenty of buzz! 

Chequered table cloths made the space feel quite Italian/Mediterranean, while the reds, blues and terracotta pots added a Moroccan feel.

Service

Staff were friendly and helpful.

MC and I know a bit about Mexican food but the extensive menu made both of us a little confused and lost.

The staff helped explain the difference between some of the options on the menu and gave us some guidance as to what the most popular dishes were (apparently the Nachos-typical!).

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MC and I decided to order a jug of sparkling wine sangria to share and because he was driving, I ended up having most of it!

The sangria was tasty and refreshing. As I am not a huge fan of red wines, I really liked this lighter and fresher option.   The jug was quite large and it was plenty for the both of us to sip on while enjoying our meal.

The only suggestion I could make is that the berries were frozen and some fresh diced or sliced strawberries would have improved the drink.

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Food

We ordered two dishes to share between us, so we could get a good taste of the options available here.

First up were the Prawn Fajitas.

This was a large (very large- enough for two people) dish of sauteed prawns with capsicum, which was served with a plate of cheese, onions, lettuce, guacamole, rice and beans.  It came with a side of salsa and three flour tortillas.

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The chunky salsa was tasty and added a little spice to the dish.

The flour tortillas (wrapped in the foil, above) were tasty and large, but it would have been better if they were toasted and if there were four instead of three- for easy sharing!

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As you can see from the above photo, the portion size was very generous and there was a lot of veg and toppings. There was a little too much for the amount of tortillas we had but then again, too much is better than too little!

The dish was well presented the combination of vegetables was great. Some Spanish onions would have been nice for a little more colour, perhaps.

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The prawns were cooked through and were so tasty. They were spicy and large and there were quite a few of them. There was probably too much capsicum for the dish and we ended up leaving about half of the capsicum (probably in part due to the fact that MC doesn’t like it).

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Prawn Fajitas, $26.90

We also ordered the Famous Nachos.

They consisted of corn chips topped with refried black beans, cheese, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, jalapenos and shredded beef.

The chips were crispy and delicious, although some at the bottom had softened from the sauce. There was plenty of cheese on top which made for a delicious combination with the spicy salsa and mild, creamy guac.

I am not a huge fan of black beans so I stayed away from them, but I did like the shredded beef and jalapenos.

MC loved the nachos as well and we both really enjoyed our meal.

I think presentation for this dish is a little messy, but quantity, value and flavour wise, it is pretty good.

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Famous Nachos, $15.00

Cost

All up, the meal came to about $60.

Rating:

I would rate my experience (out of 10):

  • Service- 7
  • Food- 8
  • Ambience- 8
  • Value – 8

* * *

Address: 43-45 Glebe Point Road, Glebe NSW

Tel: (02) 9571 1199

Website: http://www.bajacantina.com.au/

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The Far North, North Turramurra ($$)

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Note: the Far North now has a new menu- please refer to their website for more information.

The Upper North Shore of Sydney is a beautiful part of NSW. I always appreciate the natural beauty of the area and the peaceful and safe environment, but I do regret that we do not have many good bars or late night cafes!

It’s about a 45 minute train ride or a 30 minute drive into the city so it would be nice to have a place or two nearby as a fall back on the weekends or after work.

With the introduction of places like Max Brenner which is open quite late, and new wine bars such as Blackout Cafe and Tapas Bodega, the variety of options available on the North Shore has definitely improved.

The Far North was one of the places on my North Shore list and one day ClareBear, HannahBanana, Emma and I decided to visit for a sort of mini farewell for Emma before her departure to the UK.

Atmosphere

If you don’t know where to look, it isn’t exactly the easiest place to find.

However, once we had climbed the stairs and were seated at a comfy table at the back of the bar, I could have a look around and check the place out.

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The bar area is on one side, facing the little patio/balcony on the otherside. There are a number of stools, tables and little chairs scattered around the place but on this particular occasion, a weeknight, most people were seated at tables.

The place has a chilled out vibe with casually dressed staff and simple decor.  It is pretty typical of a wine bar and suited the small, dark space.

Service

We had a look at the menus and decided on a few things to share. We ordered at the bar and it didn’t take too long for the food to come out.

The bar staff were friendly and chatty and the wait staff were pleasant and helpful.

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Food

We ordered:

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Roma Tomato, Olives and Mozzarella pizza topped with fresh Basil, $16.00 (left)

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Fresh Prosciutto and Spanish onion pizza served with Rocket and Parmesan, $18.00 

The combination of toppings on the pizzas was tasty but the actual dough itself was a little undercooked and floury.

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Hot chorizo plate served with a balsamic glaze, tomato relish and locally sourced bread, $14.00 

The chorizo was delicious with the sticky and dark sauce that was slightly sweet and slightly bitter. It was grilled so that it was a little crunchy and tasted great with the chunky sauce and grilled bread.

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Pork Ribs (no longer on the menu)

I noticed that the Pork Ribs are no longer on the menu but I decided to include them in this review so you can see exactly what we had.

The ribs were quite a generous portion and were well presented.

Quality-wise, I didn’t think the pork was very good. The meat was a little tough and had a lot of chewy parts in it. Also, the sauce was nothing special and some sort of sticky glaze would have been preferred.

Rating:

I would rate my experience (out of 10):

  • Service- 7.5
  • Food- 7
  • Ambience- 6
  • Value – 6.5

* * *

Address: 1/270 Bobbin Head Rd, Turramurra

Tel: 0421 515 339

Website: http://thefarnorth.com.au

Far North on Urbanspoon

Sushi Club, Pyrmont ($$)

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Address: 137/313 Harris Street, Pyrmont  NSW

Tel: (02) 9692 8280

Website: http://thesushiclubpyrmont.weebly.com/index.html

Opening Hours:

Monday -Sunday
Lunch: 11.30am-2.30pm
Dinner: 5.30pm-9:30pm

* * *

SenoritaLay, MC, MRyan Photography and I hit up Sushi Club for some all you can eat seafood.

We headed over to Pyrmont after work, with MC and I parking in Darling Quarter and SenoritaLay and MRyan Photography parking opposite the restaurant in the Secure Parking.

Getting there was pretty easy as it is only a 5 minute walk from Darling Harbour shopping centre.

Atmosphere

The atmosphere was pretty quiet and calm.

There were a couple of other tables around us but, being a Wednesday night, no one was particularly chatty or loud. We were probably the loudest ones there!

The brick walls and florescent lighting didn’t help the restaurant’s appearance, although the red and white chairs did brighten it up.

Also, while I didn’t use the restrooms, I noticed that some people who did use them had to go to another room outside the restaurant, possible an outside toilet or something- not ideal!

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Service

Service was quite average.

When we arrived, MC and I went up to the registers and asked if we could have a seat and order a drink.

We were asked to choose our drink from the fridge, which we did, and were then led to a table outside.

As part of the all you can eat option, you have to finish one dish before ordering another. As there were 4 of us, each of us had to order a dish each time. At the end of the meal, MC and I were ordering dishes just to keep up, which is a bit of a waste as the restaurant could have just let SenoritaLay and MRyan Photography order a dish on their own (it would have been better for them!).

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Food

I ordered a mango green tea and MC ordered an Asahi beer ($10.00 total).

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To start off, we were each given a bowl of Miso Soup, which was…well, a standard Miso Soup.  Probably a filler for the main event, but that didn’t stop us!

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MC ordered the Chicken Karaage. It was crunchy and a bit oily, but we all loved it nonetheless! We ended up ordering another dish of it because we are all fatties who love fried food. The tangy mayo was perfect with it to freshen it up a bit and MRyan joked about having to eat the lettuce and orange before we could order another dish!

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We ordered a Smoked Salmon Roll which was quite large and presented nicely, if a little messily.

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We also ordered a Crumbed Chicken Roll.

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We ordered a Sashimi Platter for something a little more fresh.  Unfortunately it was pretty disappointing. There wasn’t a lot of fish, it was about half fish and half vegetables, and the few pieces of fish that were there were poor quality and had bits of skin on.  They were poorly cut and quite chunky.

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We ordered Chilli Edamame to munch on with the sushi and I have to say this was one of the better dishes I had. The chilli sauce was delicious and hot and it had a very strong garlic taste, which I loved. The beans were warm and fresh and overall the dish was an interesting take on the standard salted edamame.

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MC ordered a Teriyaki Chicken hand roll. It was a bit difficult to eat as it wasn’t tightly packed, but the teriyaki chicken was tasty and the rice was perfectly sticky.

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We also ordered Pan Fried Pork Gyoza. There were lots on the dish and they were crispy on the outside and tasty and moist on the inside.

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The Tempura Prawn roll was probably my favourite dish, as I love crispy fried foods and seafood.  The roll was tasty, the prawn crisp, and the extra fried pieces on top added some more crunch! This roll disappeared quickly!

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Finally, SenoritaLay ordered the Salmon Salad. This was an average dish, again with poor cuts of salmon.  However, there was a lot of roe and avocado in the dish and it didn’t taste too bad overall.

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Rating:

I would rate my experience (out of 10):

  • Service- 5
  • Food- 6
  • Ambience- 5
  • Value – 7

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