Archive for August, 2010

August 29, 2010

The Passage

by minibites

This place scratched the my itch, my itch to uncover another local bar with a chilled out atmosphere, great cocktails and food with their own little twist. Walking in, the bar is endless and a lightbulb goes off with the relevance to its name. There’s little corners you can nestle in or if you’re feeling social, a communal table or a seat at the bar.

We kick the night off with some spicy almonds and diving into some cocktails. My cocktail of choice is the Coconut & Kaffir Lime Daquiri, a whirl of coconut, lime and hint of pandan and rum. Smelt absolutely amazing and tasted even better, I had many of the girls fighting over this one.

Vodka cured salmon, beetroot puree and baby coriander

Crispy calamari, sweet chilli oil and aioli

Stuffed zucchini flowers with goats’ cheese and truffle honey

The menu is tapas based, so the more company you have, the more dishes to dine and share. Of our starters, my favourite would be the crispy calamari with sweet chili oil and a side pot of aioli; the calamari was crisp without being too heavy and overwhelming with batter. This dish just goes to show that you don’t need to have fancy bar menus and that you can take a good ol’ regular and add a creativity to reinvent the dish.

The zucchini flowers had crunchy stems and cheesey filled buds with a drizzle of truffle honey, which made all the difference to an otherwise simple dish. The vodka cured salmon was a new one for me, as I’m not so much a fan of sashimi and as far as I go is smoked salmon, but I didn’t mind a little piece on top of the toasty bread and a dollop of beet puree.

Twice cooked pork belly, corn puree and blackbean viaigrette

Sirloin with hand cut rosemary potato chips and confit garlic

Spicy meatball “toastie” with fennel salsa

I was already quite impressed with the starters but the mains were definitely drool-worthy. My favourite would be the twice cooked pork belly and it completely blew me away. I love pork belly and each piece had a thin layer of crackling which was perfect without breaking any teeth and generous portion of tender meaty goodness. And not to forget, the sirloin, perfectly cooked with nice grill marks and glaze over the top, served with the most amazing potato chips. It reminded me of a dish at Pony, but oh these chips…

The meatball toastie was a little on the drier side, but such comforting food. And what made the dishes so delicious were the companions to the main star to the dish. Each dish had its own sauce that was well thought out and complemented the protein as opposed to just being there.

Vanilla pannacotta with strawberry spiced syrup

Full to the brim, we took a breather with another round of cocktails and ended the night with dessert. I’ve never seen a pannacotta so rigidly constructed, and dressed with a syrup that was very intriguing indeed, which proceeded many tipsy attempts to place bets on the ingredients and confirming this with the kitchen.

Get in quick before it starts to fill with hustle and bustle!

The Passage
231A Victoria Rd
Darlinghurst, Sydney
www.thepassage.com.au

The Passage on Urbanspoon

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August 14, 2010

Moose General Store

by minibites

Southern pulled pork roll

Lamb sandwich

Bacon & Eggs

On the corner of the streets of suburbia, this little shop is a jam and granola pumping factory early in the week and a cafe serving homestyle comfort foods in the latter end of the week. I first read about this in Time Out Sydney and I would have ever ended up in that neck of the woods. There’s decor that brings me back to my childhood, like the bright mismatching furniture and china. The owners have put a real good effort into making the little details count – with blankets for those unlucky to sit outside (or would like to admire the nature strip), menu storybooks and little treasures such as the china tea set.

It was disappointing that we didn’t return from our adventure with a jar of Gin & Tonic jam and with service was a little on the slower side – although, who could have blamed them… It is a Friday! It’s all forgiven when the food is finally served and my eager and hungry colleagues demolish their lamb sandwich and pork roll. There was probably a solid 5 minutes of silence with a few nods, hmms and ahs. I dig into the Bangalow sweet-pork bacon and scrambled organic eggs served with sourdough toast – and it’s delicious. Eggs are well cooked, bacon is crispy and the bread is super toasty.

We also got to sample some jams with some amazing bread which lead to a impulse buy of many jars and a bag of granola. I hope they keep pumping the different jams and stop burning the Gin & Tonic – because we’re looking forward to it!

Moose is now unfortunately closed, but still trade through their online store.

Moose General Store
18 Cooper St
Redfern
http://www.moose.com.au

Moose General Store on Urbanspoon

August 9, 2010

Fico

by minibites

This little gorgeous wine bar is hidden away within the quiet suburban streets of Surry Hills. With the curtains pulled down, anyone can easily pass on by without a second thought, that is until you carefully listen for the whispers of chitter chatter and the clanking of wine glasses.  Enter inside and it’s a warm, homely feel with modern wooden accents and dark corners to sink into with a glass of French wine.

Snuggled away from the rain, wind and the cold, we have a few glasses of wine and tapas to share. The food are your Italian staples from meat and cheese platter, ravioli, lasagne and small plates of good ol’ pasta favourites. My highlight of the evening setting aside the vino, is the mixed dessert platter. Favourite dessert platter to date with all three hitting the right notes; the tiramisu has the perfect balance of sweet and bitterness (even satisfying my non-coffee loving companion), the chocolate mousse has a surprise burst of peppermint and the pannacotta just jiggles in all the right places.

Fico
544 Bourke St
Surry Hills, Sydney

Fico on Urbanspoon

August 3, 2010

Red Star Luxury Burgers, New Zealand

by minibites

After beating the fatigue after our Treble Cone battle, we explore the town of Wanaka for Red Star, Fergburger’s arch rival. Rocking up with the expectation that it is another mass production line with burgers pumping out every single minute, I was surprised that it was a little corner burger joint run by a few local Gen Y’s.

It was refreshing to see the fact that the menu had a variety of burger options which was a good break from the usual Fergburger and potato fries. My choice was the Five-O, a grilled chicken burger with bacon, pineapples, edam and bbq sauce with a side serving of kumara (a type of sweet potato) fries and aioli. Despite the wait, my burger was delicious with generous fillings with a big dollop of sauce tucked inside two cosy warm buns. My foodie companions have also raved about the Beef Mofo and Chicken Satay… definitely next on the agenda.

Final verdict? All things naughty too many times in one week is never good. Although there is a divide in the group with this burger battle; Fergburger has this undupliacatable sauce and when caught at the right time of day (try at 10 in the morning) then the bread is wonderfully toasted, the wait is minimal and there’s a cosy bench for you to enjoy your burger. But this round, Red Star just stole my heart with softer bread, happier lettuce leaves and more creative burger combinations.

Red Star Luxury Burgers
26 Ardmore St
Queenstown, New Zealand

August 3, 2010

Kia Ora!

by minibites

Another short hiatus while I was snowboarding away in New Zealand but I’m back! Unfortunately I didn’t have too many food adventures since the trip was shorter and only in Queenstown, so our diets were primarily occupied with quick junk food fix after a big day on the slopes. Back to reality and ready to indulge in fresh fruits, salad and more salad…