Archive for August, 2011

August 28, 2011

The Coachmen

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The Coachmen

I have a Russian partner-in-crime that over time, I have slowly educated her in crazy feng shui superstitions, what taro and pandan is, and fed her addiction to Din Tai Fung dumplings and Easyways. I’ve also been equally as interested in her world; so after our adventures at Borsh Vodka & Tears and Food Society, it was back to ol’ school Russia at The Coachmen.

And of course, we let her take the reins of ordering…

The CoachmenHerring in a Fur Coat

The Coachmen
Olivier

Two Russian entrees rolls out, and the first isn’t a stranger despite it’s interesting name. It’s a traditional salad with layers of potato, beetroot, herring, mayonnaise and topped with finely shredded eggs. Herring might be a shriek factor for some, but surprisingly it’s all disguised in this salad and works quite wonderfully.

Olivier is another Russian salad, this time with a crunch and tang. Similar to a coleslaw; it’s made of cubes of boiled potatoes, eggs, pickles, carrots, peas and onions and dressed with mayonnaise. Would have gone lovely with a ton of meaty goodness.

The Coachmen
Potato Dumplings (Pelmeni)

The Coachmen Pancakes “Coachmen”

My request of the night are the Russian meat filled dumplings. It’s as simple as it be, served with a clear stock and a dollop of sour cream. But one of my favourites are the warm savory pancakes filled with chicken and topped off with mushroom sauce. If we didn’t have to spilt into quarters, I would have devoured the entire lot…

The Coachmen
Grilled Lamb Georgian Style (Shahshlik)

A spice and rustic aroma filled the table when the first of the mains are served. Lamb fillet, deliciously flame grilled and served with the most amazing spicy tomato sauce with reminisces of chimichurri sauce. I think even the lamb haters would be won over by this firey skewer.

The Coachmen
Veal Goulash

The Coachmen
Beef Stroganoff

Two other familiar dishes came out with the veal goulash cooked in a ceramic pot with an interesting caramelised onion toast as its lid. The beef strogonoff is served with a mountain of jasmine rice; although tasty, I prefer stroganoff with a lot more sauce.

The Coachmen

The vibe at The Coachmen is exciting with live music flowing throughout the restaurant. The clock strikes 8:30pm and three gorgeous dancers in the “modified” Russian traditional dress  (meaning hello! A no bottoms getup) rip up the dance floor in high pace, electric moves. Line dancing, high kicks, spins; these girls had the entire crowd mesmerised.

The Coachmen

And don’t forget a shot of vodka before every course. I’m sure whether it really is tradition, or if our gullibility is to blame… But bottoms up we were told, and down went the peach vodka, honeydew vodka….

A night of hearty meals, vodka shots and live entertainment that you can’t help but clap and bounce around to.

The Coachman
763 Bourke St
Surry Hills, Sydney
www.coachmen.com.au 

Coachmen Russian on Urbanspoon

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August 25, 2011

Meat Wine & Co

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Meat Wine & Co

A special occasion deserves for a delicious dinner in a classy room. The newly renovated Meat Wine & Co on Darling Harbour has revamped its interiors since our last visit. We dine inside the Rhino Dining Room, as we sink into our large, leather seats looking over a polished, wooden table. Instantly impressed, we rub our hands together like as we are plotting the run the world.

A set menu is on the agenda tonight with a choice of entree, main and dessert.

Meat Wine & Co Entree; Bruschetta

Meat Wine & Co
Entree; Chicken Wings

Starving, my instincts choose the bruschetta; two pieces of toasty woodfired ciabattas topped with all the bruschetta goodies of tomatoes, spanish onions, pesto, basil and crumbled fetta and shaved parmesan and finally topped with a balsamic glaze.

Glancing over at my neighbour’s BBQ chicken wings, I nicked a piece and they were as absolutely drool-worthy as they looked. Good ol’ chicken wings served with blue cheese sauce, which were really unnecessary with such flavoursome wings.

Meat Wine & Co Main; 300g Rump – Angus 120 days grain fed

Being at Meat Wine & Co, most of us took no second doubt to order the steak. It was grilled to order in their in-house basting sauce and served with a fresh handful of crunchy fries. I was hesitant that I couldn’t order my usual teacup of mushroom sauce but surprisingly the basting was enough to flavour the meat with just the right amount. Other menu choices included chicken, salmon and pasta.

Meat Wine & CoDessert; Creme Brulee

To sweeten our palates and round off the meatiness, we dug into a vanilla bean cream brulee topped with diced strawberries. It was perfectly creamy with the right balance of sweetness, and although we were all beginning to burst at the seams, we continued to shove spoonfuls into our mouths…

Meat Wine & Co

Grab a few mates and dine in style in one of the private rooms (min. spend of $2k).

Meat Wine & Co
31 Wheat St
Darling Harbour, Sydney
www.themeatwineandco.com

Meat & Wine Co on Urbanspoon

August 22, 2011

Food Society

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Food Society

Being an ex-neighbour of this bar, it was bittersweet to be back in our old neighbourhood, amazed by how they transformed a run down cooking school into a lavish restaurant and bar. The dishes are designed to share with a modern Eastern European flavour, so think of warm soups, meaty dumplings and slow cooked meats; perfect for a cold Winter’s night. Much to my delight, it began to remind me of our memorable night at Borsh Vodka and Tears.

Food Society

We wander through the brightly lit reception where bubbly staff greet us and our coats are taken and stored away in vintage closets. The feeling is intriguing with Euro trance beats pumping in the background, floral wallpaper, grey walls, antique pieces and persian rugs.

Food Society Beetroot & Vodka Cured Ocean Trout Blini

Food Society
Pierogi w/ organic pork

Appetizers roll out, beginning with soft blinis (pancakes) topped with a ribbon of beetroot & vodka cured ocean trout, roe and dill cream; and they were absolutely amazing with multiple flavour bursts. Next up are the meaty pierogi which are another variation of the Polish dumpling, uszka, but uses a slightly different dough. They’re filled with organic pork and roasted shallots with sprinkles of salty bacon pieces, mmmmm!

Food Society
Borscht w/ organic smoked ham hock 

The borscht is next companied with mini bowls to share; a Ukrainian soup mainly made of beetroot and served with organic smoked ham hock and of course, a dollop of sour cream. It tastes like a beetroot puree with strands of ham, although my Russian counterpart is less impressed of its texture.

Food SocietyBeef short rib 

The “substantials” on the menu are the meatier and heartier dishes. The beef short ribs braised in dark beer sit on top of a soft white polenta and are served with buttered sprouts on a wooden block. The meat is slightly overcooked but with a few spoonfuls of the sauce, it’s salvable.

Food SocietyTen hour braised lamb shoulder 

Alongside the pierogi dumplings being my favourite of the night, the ten hour braised lamb shoulder is amazing. Served in a red hot ceramic dish with field mushrooms, white bean puree and fresh mint jelly; it gets many nods of satisfaction across the table.

Food Society
Selsko Meso

The Selsko Meso is a Balkan style slow cooked stew filled with pork neck, red peppers, tomatoes and spices aplenty. With pork neck being more muscular, flavoursome and fattier than the shoulder, being slow cooked, it’s as tender as it can get amongst the stew of spices.

Food Society
Society Baked Pashka

Food Society
Sour Cherry Dumplings

Disappointingly, the desserts are not up the scratch. The Food Society’s take on the pashka, a Russian cheese dessert is a little bland and not as sweet as anticipated, despite the jam and almonds drizzled on top. As for the sour cherry dumplings that my Russian foodie was so excited about was another let down. Possible that our cravings for sweet ending tarnished our judgements, but hopefully more inventive desserts could blossom in the future.

Food Society

It’s the beginnings of a great new restaurant with Euro ambience and flavour to match.

Food Society
91 Riley St
Darlinghurst, Sydney
www.foodsociety.com.au 

Food Society on Urbanspoon

August 17, 2011

Jazushi

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Jazushi

There’s always an occasion for live music and good food; blind first dates, reunions, meeting the in-laws; all potential cases for long silences and awkward pauses. Jazushi’s been around for a while now, nestled on a corner on Devonshire St. The interior is bare with exposed brick walls and a few framed records and paintings, but the ambience is warm and chilled out at the same time.

Dinner tonight is a farewell for my colleague and in particular from my team, so her bright smile and samba moves will be missed. The set menu is organised at $55 per person with all dishes served banquet style.

JazushiSalmon & Kingfish Carpaccio

Jazushi
Green Tea Noodle Salad 

Japanese at Jazushi is contemporary but keeps true to its roots. The salmon & kingfish carpaccio is a minefield of flavours with even the pickest eaters munching on a few slices.

The green tea noodle salad is intriguing, a cold noodle mixed through a mix salad with a sweet soy onion dressing. Seemingly bland on paper but filled with amazing flavour for such a humble salad.

JazushiSilver Cod w/ Saikyo Sauce

JazushiCamembert Tempura

Next are bite sized pieces of silver cod flavoured with saikyo sauce, which is one of the most amazing fish dishes I have ever had and, my favourite of the night. Saikyo is a sweet miso based sauce, using more rice than soybeans and uses less salt than normal misos, reducing it to a sweeter, buttery taste.

Cheese is not one of my favourite things (being lactose intolerant explains why…) but I had to give the tempura a go. Cheesy, but not as intense had I imagined and the batter was devilishly crunchy.

JazushiJFC 

JazushiMixed sushi 

The main dishes began to roll out and of course, the JFC was on the menu with many izakaya styled restaurants following suit. The JFC was Jazuhi’s Fried Chicken with a lighter karaage style batter served with yuzu citrus sauce and tartare sauce. And of course, a few nigiri pieces with sneaky dots of wasabi underneath…

JazushiKakuni Pork Belly

Dishes of pork belly begin to roll out and we all salivate over its tenderness. The pork belly is melt-in-your-mouth tender as it’s cooked kakuni styled; meaning cubes of pork belly simmered in dashi, soy, mirin, sugar and sake and being slow cooked, all the fat begins to break down, mmm! The dishes didn’t stop there with the final dish of Wagyu beef steak served with sweet teriyaki and garlic sauce, and by this time I had fallen into a food coma.

JazushiCreme Brulee 

The top of the night, it’s a creme brulee in the tiniest ramekin, and it’s no wonder the Japanese stay so thin by keeping their dessert portions!

Jazushi

Perfect for delicious contemporary Japanese delights and sways to live jazz music every night.

Jazushi
145 Devonshire St
Surry Hills, Sydney
www.jazushi.com.au

Jazushi on Urbanspoon

August 8, 2011

Mission Bar & Restaurant

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Mission
Swing around the other corner of Chippendale, and there’s another gallery displaying contemporary Australia art. But nestled in the street floor of this old church is Mission Bar & Restaurant. Push through the refurnished french doors is a modern eatery with shiny polished floors, slick wooden furniture, bright orange feature walls and intriguing pieces of hanging art.

Mission

Mission

The menu is dynamic. From the blackboard specials showcasing chef specials for the day, there’s a range of dishes to cater for everyone’s tastes and nibbles. For lunch, there are fulfilling toasted sandwich options, while the menu dives into Mediterranean flavours that packs a punch. Not your everyday lunch spot but perfect for something a little special.

Mission
Slow roasted lamb shoulder with green cardamon, chilli & tahini 

Mission
Minute steak with caramelised onion, cheddar cheese & capsicum jam

To avoid falling into food coma, I opted for the safe option of the minute steak sandwiched between fresh seeded turkish bread. The steak was slightly overcooked, even for my raw phobia, but the juicy caramelised onions and house made capsicum jam made up for it. I did linger over my colleague’s lamb shoulder with envy, because it was absolutely delicious! Melt in your mouth meat with an abundance of flavours and textures. Delicious!

Mission

On a second occasion, I am back and it’s nice to see the feature walls with new pieces of intriguing art. We grab a seat on the casual couches as we’re both opting for some sandwiches that are only available for lunch.

MissionBalsamic braised corn beef w/ provolone, dijon mustard, tomato & pickled coleslaw

MissionPiri-piri roasted chicken w/ roasted corn, watercress & aioli

My lunch companion opts for the corned beef sandwich which sadly I didn’t get to pick at, it did get gobbled down quite quickly. Feeling clucky, I choose the piri-piri roasted chicken but unfortunately it felt like the chef accidently dropped the salt shaker into the mix. Hopefully this was a once off and my chicken isn’t salty next time…

Another great gallery cafe in a little alleyway for a little bit of artsyness and delicious food.

Mission & NG Art Gallery
3 Little Queen St
Chippendale, Sydney
www.missionbar.com.au 

Mission on Urbanspoon