Archive for November, 2010

November 28, 2010

Rockpool Bar & Grill

by minibites

After a little whine to the boyfriend about never going out to dine at anywhere new, he surprised me with a “just because” dinner at Rockpool Bar & Grill. Pushing through a pair of strong glass doors, enter into a gorgeous room with a sky high ceiling, dim lights, marble and a beautiful wine glass centerpiece. The dining room is a mixed bag, filled with couples on dates, business men doing final deals and seated next to us, an old married couple on their date night.

Charcoal roast squid and pork belly

The menu is extensive, and my eyes are barely keep up as they zip through left right and centre; with offerings from the cold bar, salads, hot entrees, pasta and meats from the grill. And every day, there are slight alterations to the menu to keep up with the produce in season, so the our shared entree is sometimes on and off their menu.

Wood fired lamb cutlets and chops with mint jelly

Free range chicken with Tuscan white bean, tomato and bread salad

For some strange reason, I played it really safe and chose the chicken cooked on the wood fired rotisserie, served with a Tuscan white bean, tomato and bread salad – and unfortunately being safe didn’t pay off as I salivated over my companion’s lamb cutlets all night. The chicken had the perfect crust with on a light and tangy salad but there wasn’t anything that pushed the dish over the edge. The lamb cutlets and chops were amazing – served with a mint jelly on the side, the lamb was tender and juicy, and probably the best lamb I have ever had.

Doughnuts with poached pear jam and walnut ice cream

Vanilla panna cotta with strawberry salad & rose granita

Busting at the seams, I was told I was not allowed to go home without picking a dessert – and for once, I’m happy I didn’t argue back and nodded in agreement. Sharing some good ol’ doughnuts, which shouldn’t be dismissed off the menu straight away as they were surprisingly heavenly; warm, light and soft and wonderfully contrasted with cold ice cream. My highlight of the night alongside the lamb, is the vanilla panna cotta served with beautifully sweet fresh and dehydrated strawberries with a sweet smelling rose granita. So incredibly good.

Rockpool Bar & Grill
66 Hunter St

Rockpool Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

November 28, 2010

Bentley Restaurant & Bar

by minibites

So it’s the birthday my best friend, holiday buddy, dessert-brunch-anytime food loving companion, so I couldn’t think of a sweeter treat than a dessert degustation. After reading, or rather salivating over the recent circulation of reviews of Bentley Bar, I thought it was overdue for our turn.

Caramelised Pineapple

First on the path of destruction are tiny cubes of caramelised pineapple teamed with with barley cream, biscuit crumbles and topped with a beer sorbet. I hesitated a little when I saw “beer sorbet” on the menu because I’ve had beer sorbet before, done with a bitter and cheap beer. It does work however, when it is teamed with a great yet subtle tasting beer. Great dish to gear up the tastebuds for some interesting flavours and textures for the night… (and it did end up becoming my favourite dish for the night!)

Milk Cake

Second on the menu is the milk cake was served with magnolia ice cream and white chocolate – a dish with an amazing number of different textures from spongey, ice creamy, crumbley and airy. The magnolia ice cream was my favourite component on the dish with its amazing floral scent.

Beetroot Sponge

The third dish is the beetroot sponge, confusing my mind and tastebuds, but afterall that is the wonder and mystery of molecular gastronomy. The beetroot sponge was served with a dark chocolate custard, sour blackberries, chocolate soil and beetroot sorbet. And although I prefer my beetroot in my hamburgers, I didn’t mind too much of the beetroot sponge cake; it was light and airy, with subtle beetroot flavours. The chocolate was absolutely spot on!

Toast custard

The final art on a plate is the toast custard served on a bed of lychee puree and chocolate parfait. Being a chocolate junkie, of course I enjoyed the chocolate parfait, but there was something really mind boggling about the toast custard, which involves sourdough bread toasted until dark and infused with the custard. And amidst the creaminess of the parfait, crunchiness was added from the see-through film shards of lychee sweetness added the perfect crunch.

Interesting flavours showing that desserts can be savoury or sweet. Would love to do this again so my fingers are crossed that the menu keeps changing!

Bentley Restaurant & Bar
320 Crown St
Surry Hills, Sydney

Bentley Restaurant and Bar on Urbanspoon

November 28, 2010


by minibites

There’s been a lot of hype and chatter about this place, so after an afternoon at the Oh Really! Gallery, it was a shot to see whether we could score a table. Luckily enough we did, even though it meant being seated downstairs in the dungeon so there was a little loss of ambience..

All the dishes are designed to share, so after contributions around the table – we settle with some fried bean curd rolls, crispy chicken wings and the much FourSquare promoted polenta chips with gorgonzola. The fried bean curd rolls were a favourite and resembled a fried dim sim with a crispy outer and a meaty ball of crab, pork and shitake mushroom on the inside. The not so favourite were the chicken wings with yoghurt remoulade, and the hyped up polenta chips, but I was told I was being a minimalist with the gorgonzola sauce.

Grilled milk fed lamb

The mains roll out and the smell is amazing. The fish special of the day included a poached fish (sadly I am absolutely horrendous at remembering and identifying fish types) that was flavoured with miso and eel sitting on a bed or asparagus. Another drool worthy main is the grilled milk fed lamb served with a black bean puree, fennel and green beans – tender and juicy, and perfectly grilled.

Bloodwood trifle

But right before the get-go of selecting savouries, I had my eyes set on the Bloodwood trifle – served in a tall glass, it’s filled with fresh sweet strawberries, pound cake, mascarpone and champagne jelly. And indeed it was the perfect dessert it was to finish the evening.

Nice bar with potential as they’re exploring different flavours and going beyond the square. If they keep heading in the direction with what their mains are at, it’s going to be a continued hit.

Bloodwood Restaurant & Bar
415 King St
Newtown, Sydney

Bloodwood on Urbanspoon

November 20, 2010

Mad Cow

by minibites

Mad Cow

Birthday time again and looking for something different yet low key and not too fancy, we (the boy & I share the same birthday!) decided on Mad Cow from the Merivale family in the Ivy complex. Mad Cow hides behind the main bar area of the Ivy, and walking into the space, it looks like a New York diner, furnished with little counters, plush white leather seats and splashes of sunshine yellow. Gorgeous.

Fresh oysters

For starters, we share a few rock oysters that are freshly shucked with red wine vinegar pearls, salmon roe and black pepper embedded in a toffee. Interesting additions to the humble oyster making it slightly sweet in flavour.

Wagyu inside skirt steak

Slow roasted pork belly

For mains, he chooses the Wagyu steak, cooked medium rare served with homemade chimichurri sauce and a side of green salad and shoestring fries. The chimichurri sauce packs a kick and a punch to the steak and is commonly served with steaks in Argentina – made with tomatoes, peppers and many herbs. Nice and tender, but I did prefer my brick slab of crispy pork belly sitting on a bed of king brown mushrooms, apple and jioama, topped with a white scallop. Tiresome to eat after halfway, but I love a good pork belly.

Chocolate decadence

For dessert, we share the chocolate decadence, which the staff nicely surprised us with a lit candle on top. Decadent as described, it included a chocolate mousse made from Valrhona chocolate (a french chocolate) that included a raspberry delice and topped with chocolate pearls, with a side of chocolate sorbet and florentine biscuit. Not so much a fan of non-fruity sorbet but the chocolate mousse and pearls were divine.

Mad Cow
330 George St

Mad Cow on Urbanspoon

November 15, 2010


by minibites

My birthday week just passed, and I have wined and dined like the Queen! Dinner with girls, we explored beyond our usual circle of bars to check out Porteno – Sydney’s own little South American gem. Get transported into the 1950’s, where the waitresses rock the pin curls and the waiters have slicked back hair, suspenders and moustaches to match.

We’re welcomed in, and we kick off with some cocktails off the extensive drinks menu  – I start with the Evita, an ode to the first lady of Argentina with a mix of zubrowka vodka, peach liqueur, lychees, cucumber and a drop of fresh citrus; light and fresh. Another one that takes my fancy is the Tierra del Fuego, perfect midway with the meat – freshly muddled strawberries, honey, triple berry syrup, campari and pimms topped with blood orange and pink grapefruit.

Tira De Asado

Chanchito a La Cruz

The menu is tapas styled and very meaty – so make sure you bring along your carnivorous appetite. Amongst our entrees, my favourites of the night is definitely the meat – we share the Coorong beef short ribs and the woodfired sucking pig, absolutely drool worthy and the most melt-in-your-mouth meat I have ever had. And like what all the others say, there’s no such visit to Porteno without having the beef, pork or lamb.

Southern American Pavlova

Chocolate pudding

And being my birthday, there was no going home without some sweetness. Gathering advice from the Maitre d’, we couldn’t go past her suggestion of the Southern American pavlova with pieces of mango, dulce de leche, salted peanuts, sponge cake and crunchy sweet meringue pieces. My pick would be the chocolate pudding, with a warm oozing centre, walnuts and a subtle banana sorbet. But then again, I’m a sucker for chocolate puddings and fondants… and anything with oozing melted centres.

Great food with the staff to match.

358 Cleveland St
Surry Hills, Sydney

Porteño on Urbanspoon