Archive for April, 2011

April 26, 2011

The Winery by Gazebo, Surry Hills

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The Winery

The Winery has been around for quite some time now, and since my last visit it has been busy expanding its cheeky elegant glamour all over Sydney. All aside, it’s a gorgeous sunny day, and time to wind down with our annual company lunch banquet, so it’s back to Crown St!

The interior is an amusing mix, much like walking into the vintage store of a hoarder; overmelted candles, animal prints, uncoordinated draped curtains, stuffed animals on the wall and mismatching photo frames and furniture.

Veal & chorizo sausage roll with tomato & chilli jam

Rocket, parmesan, grapefruit & pinenut salad

Stuffed roasted mushrooms with ricotta, pineuts & pesto

To kick start our lunch feast, there’s fresh breads to share along with an amazing gourmet sausage roll, simple rocket salad and stuffed mushrooms. The chorizo sausage roll seems like simpleton food, but the real key is solid meat with crunchy leave-flakes-all-over-your-chin pastry. Delish! Alongside are juicy mushrooms generously stuffed with cheesy ricotta with a drizzle of pesto.

Sauteed pumpkin & ricotta ravioli, sage, pine nuts, burnt butter & confit cherry tomatoes

Slow roasted sirloin, creamy mash, caramelised eschallots & a Pinot jus

Grilled Tasman salmon on crushed peas & broad beans with a saffron, lime & tomato buerre blanc

For my main, I devoured a delicious tender grilled salmon sitting on a generous bed of crushed peas and broad beans. The fish is cooked perfectly with just the right touch of seasoning. And to think that The Winery is all girly, it serves up a mean steak. I steal a bite of the man sized steak off my colleague… Juicy and meaty with enough delicious jus to round it all off.

Double chocolate brownie, fairy floss & vanilla bean ice cream

No feast is complete without a sweet and sugary dessert. The decadent warm double chocolate brownie topped with cold vanilla ice cream and sweet, sweet fairy floss seriously brings everyone at the table to a chocolate comatose state. Delicious yet deadly.

The Winery
285a Crown St
Surry Hills, Sydney
www.thewinerybygazebo.com.au

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April 14, 2011

Cumulus Inc, Melbourne

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Cumulus Inc

It’s the only time that I have appreciated a no bookings policy, meaning that we could rock up nice and early to grab a seat along the marble bar to watch young chefs in action. Andrew McConnell’s slightly more casual diner, Cumulus Inc. Cumulus Inc brings fresh dishes which are a little less experimental than Cutler & Co, but still keeping it sexy and interesting. It’s an open room with high ceilings, gorgeous windows looking out to the alleyway and most importantly, an open kitchen and beautiful white marble bar.

Cumulus Inc

Cumulus IncMoonlight en surface rock oysters

Cumulus Inc Slow cooked octopus with aioli, dehydrated olive

Cumulus Inc

There’s delicious warm bread that arrives in a small pan to keep us occupied. The work station of the chef who prepares our dishes happens to be right in front of us, and casually serve our entrees; freshly shucked rock oysters and an intriguing and vibrant dish of slow cooked octopus. The oysters were oysters, but the octopus were amazingly interesting with the unexpected firey pow wow! A definite try to kick start the taste buds.

Cumulus Inc Seared scallops, fresh bacon, pearl barley & sorrel

Next along the agenda was a gorgeous dish of seared scallops and generous tender confit duck leg. The scallops are slightly seared on a bed of pearl barley and bright green pureed sorrel with cubes of fatty bacon.  One of the most ingenious marriage ever: bacon and scallops, and my favourite dish of the night.

Cumulus Inc Aylesbury duck, confit leg, roast breast, plum sauce and spiced turnips

The confit duck is tender and falls off the bone and well balanced with sweet plum sauce and slightly spiced baby turnips. If no one was looking, I would have picked up the duck leg and nibbled through…

Cumulus IncChoc-chip and black olive semifreddo with strawberries

Cumulus Inc

Lemon curd madeleine

The dessert menu is of the obscure kind, but if you’re thinking of dining at Cumulus Inc, your mindset should already be out of the box. Our first sweet delight is a choc-chip and black olive semifreddo; a slather of black olive tapande added a touch of bold flavour to a seemingly simple and stone cold semifreddo. And to finish off the meal and to cleanse the palate; a piping hot, light lemon curd madeleine. Delish!

Cumulus Inc
45 Flinders Lane
Melbourne
www.cumulusinc.com.au

Cumulus Inc. on Urbanspoon

April 12, 2011

Bar Lourhinã, Melbourne

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Bar Lourhina
Bar Lourinha is like visiting your grandmama for dinner; homey, comfort food with rich, meaty dishes. Buzzing on a week night, plenty of people fill the table at the bar with metal pans of meaty delights with a serve of fresh boiled potato. Walk into a room with walls of an assortment of photo frames, different sized mirrors, unusual antlers mounted on the wall and hanging spoon collections.

Bar Lourhina

Bar LourhinãPancetta “soldiers”

There’s a line but instead of rubbing our hands in the cold, we hang around in the hallway for a drink and some nibbles. Our drink of poison is “The Stolen Town Bike”; a concoction of Frangelico, Amaro Lucano, Gin and mixed with pomegranate juice and rose water. The nibbles include toothpick skewers of green olives and a generous cube of lemon curd ocean trout. Bewildered to what “soldiers” were, we’re pleasantly surprised with a soft crispy bread cube with garlic butter wrapped with flavoursome salty panetta. Simple yet amazingly good.

Bar Lourhina Pork neck, almond sauce

Bar Lourhina Roasted mushrooms & garlic cream

Bar Lourhina Home made free range chorizo & cider

The dishes are quite meat heavy, so it’s wise to select one or two along with a dish of veggies. Our meats for the evening were a pork neck served with almond sauce, and a thick home made chorizo in cider; both served with a boiled potato. The pork neck is tender and the almonds add a nice crunch. The chorizo sausage is generous and genuine with an array of herbs and spices mixed through. The favourite dish has to be the whole roasted button mushrooms with garlic cream, which were incredibly delicious. If you love creamy mushroom sauces, then this is perfect to top off pulled pork neck.

The dishes aren’t pieces of artwork, but they taste homey, simple and wholesome. The meats are of the different kind, but it’s great to see restaurants acknowledging the other kinds of the animal than the typical pork belly, shoulder or sirloin steak.

Bar Lourhinã
37 Little Collins St
Melbourne
http://www.barlourinha.com.au

Bar Lourinhã on Urbanspoon

April 6, 2011

Jurassic Lounge @ The Australian Museum

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Jurassic Lounge

Jurassic Lounge

It’s not your average bar setting with sticky tabletops, olives, flowing bottles of wine and dim lights; but rather, sky-high dinosaur skeletons, animals behind glass, living stick insects, bugs and lizard paradise.

The Australian Museum launched Jurassic Lounge to get people back into the museum to explore and become fascinated with the world of dinosaurs, birds, fish, mammals and insects. With the help of a pop-up bar, a live band, live tattooing, a silent disco and plenty of things to see and do.

Jurassic Lounge

Jurassic Lounge

Walking through the museum, there are plenty of things to discover and rediscover. Armed with our wine glasses, we wander through pressing our noses to the cabinets filled with eerie animals of the extinct and endangered. We also take a moment to sit amongst the dinosaur skeletons while headbopping to a live band and in the other room, silent disco dance around brightly illuminated information boards.

Jurassic Lounge

Jurassic Lounge

Entry is $15 with a drink on entry; and although the food menu doesn’t extend beyond a meat or veggie pie (small menu aside, it is actually an amazingly good gourmet party pie!) the wine keeps flowing. Jurassic Lounge is luring back adults for a night at the museum.

Jurassic Lounge is happening every Tuesday till the end of April!

The Australian Museum
Cnr of College & William St
Sydney
www.jurassiclounge.com

April 1, 2011

Izakaya Den, Melbourne

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Izakaya Den

Melbourne bars really make you work hard. To earn this feast and Asahi; we persisted through a number of spins, till we landed in front of a set of stairs, a heavy glass door, through a black curtain to lead us to the gorgeous vertical dining room of the Izakaya Den. We take a seat at the bar (and it’s a must) to watch all the Japanese chefs dressed in black and coloured bandanas in action.

Izakaya Den

Unroll the architecture map sized menus and your eyes wander up, down and across the variety of sakes, shochu, wines and beers. An izakaya is a casual bar in Japan with shared bar snacks; all the dishes are categorised as small, hot, cold and chargrill.

Izakaya Den Spicy tuna tataki, garlic soy

Izakaya Den
Sweet corn kaki-age

For entrees, the spicy tuna tataki sitting on a creamy garlic soy fire up our tastebuds. Tataki is type of technique to prepare fish and meats, particularly tuna, that slightly seared. Not a usual tuna fan, but this dish worked really well with the garlic soy to give it a firey kick, and one of the favourites of Izakaya Den. Next are the simple and sweet corn clusters which were amazing. Sweet, crunchy and light.

Izakaya Den AAco’s Wagyu grade 7+ porterhouse

Izakaya Den
Den fried chicken

Izakaya Den

For mains, the wagyu beef is off the char-grill menu, simple and plain, but served with a sweet soy that made all the difference – it adds a sweet touch to a plain steak, Jap style. Not crazy but the den fried chicken certainly is. It may look fried, bubbly and all things oily, but the different herbs and spices used to coat the chicken pieces are delicious. Best downed with half litre of imported premium Asahi.

Izakaya Den Black sesame brulee, orange peel

Izakaya Den Houjicha ice cream

While watching at the bar, my dining companion became fascinated by the Paco Jet machine on the counter. It’s a food processing machine that makes ice cream in a flash. So… dessert with ice cream was a no brainer.

To keep with the Japanese theme, dessert starts with a black sesame brulee with orange peel strings; and it tastes like good ol’ black sesame, and not the artificial kind. The brulee top cracks wonderfully and it’s absolutely addictive. We dig into the houjicha ice cream, an in-house made ice cream using the Paco Jet machine with roasted green tea. The flavours are subtle and so incredibly fresh – no icicles or wateriness.

Izakaya Den is as close as a Tokyo bar can get… including whether you can find it!

Izakaya Den
Basement, 114 Russell St
Melbourne
http://www.izakayaden.com.au

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