Archive for March, 2012

March 28, 2012

The Blocks by Penfolds

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The Blocks by Penfolds

The Blocks by Penfolds is pop-up wine bar by the water. Nestled along the pier, the sky high warehouse is filled with art installations, wooden totems and plenty, plenty of wines. The concept of The Blocks is to provide the full experience from smelling totems, eating tasty morsels, subtle music and exploring intriguing art installations.

The Blocks by Penfolds

A glass of vino is in order at the bar before we wander through the five wooden totems… and we do as we’re told; drinking and smelling each one. One smells woody, one smell sweet and fruity while one is complex and requires multiple sniffs to decipher. Luckily, there are sommeliers around who guide us through each totem explaining the story behind each one and its correlating art installation.

The Blocks by Penfolds

In true form, I’m naturally drawn towards the multi-layered oak totem with a wave of fresh and fruity flavours, symbolising the aromatic whites family; your rieslings, sauvignons and pinot gris.  The multi layers represent the high altitudes which these grapes are grown. Gosh, I’d wish all furniture would smell this great!

The Blocks by Penfolds

Five Australian artists were also invited to design pieces for the event, with #3 being one of the hot favourites by Kit Webster. Representing the varietal blends, the blending of the wines; the artist uses the ripples from underneath the pier moulded together by images of grapes. I love #5 so do check that one out, especially the awesome story behind the Russian styled, Kirlian photography and capture of “aura” from vineyards.

The Blocks by Penfolds

It’s not all art, as slowly, the temptation of food baits us towards the back of the warehouse where communal tables are set up and a exquisite menu with matching wines. The creative menu is created by Chef Jock Zonfrillo using locally sourced ingredients, and of course with his repertoire and numerous of awards including winner of Restaurant of the Year (Magill Estate Restaurant, Adelaide) – there’s no denying why the dishes are so delectable.

Without spoiling too much of what’s to come, there’s a sneak peak below…

The Blocks by PenfoldsNative Pepper Crab

The Blocks by PenfoldsWagyu Beef w/ truffle 

The Blocks by PenfoldsPotato & Pork

The inside will be for you to discover! My absolute favourites is the native pepper crab, silky smooth wagyu beef and for dessert, the chocolate, current and myrtle; a perfect sweet end. Only nibble sized, so don’t be alarmed if you’re not satisfied by the end.

The Blocks by Penfolds

The Blocks by Penfolds

The installation has been organised by London based designers Studio Toogood and teamed up with Penfolds Bin & Luxury wines, great local artists and Chef Jock Zonfrilo. Get in quick before this closes as this is one amazing pop-up wine bar.

The Blocks by Penfolds is open 16th March till 5th April 2012. Reservations can be made at http://www.theblockslive.com or on 0407 412 640.

The Blocks by Penfolds
Pier 2/3, 13 Hickson Rd
Walsh Bay, Sydney
www.theblockslive.com

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March 20, 2012

Bread & Circus

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Bread & Circus

Tucked away amongst the For Lease signs, industrial yards and hustle and bustle of trucks, Bread and Circus brings along delicious super foods in their rustic warehouse canteen. Stripy deck chairs, beams of natural light and plenty of scattered pots of herbs and vegetables.

Bread & Circus

Bread & Circus

The menu changes daily, but be sure to bump in early if you want dibs on certain dishes as sometimes I’ve been one step too late with hot favourites being scribbled off the menu. Your vegetarian friends will love you for bringing them here but for those who need a little more, there’s always a protein option add on.

Bread & Circus

The best option is to grab a plate of everything. Today’s salad delights were a mix of fried snake beans, roast zucchini, pear with couscous, potatoes and a smokey nutmeg eggplant. I love the diversity of flavours and Bread & Circus sure makes salads sexy again.

Bread & Circus

Bread & Circus

Honourable mentions go out to the snake beans with a jalapeno coriander kick, the amazing baked pear; sweet and indulgent but balanced with couscous goodness. Not much of a fan of eggplant in general, but my foodie companion scoffed them down a treat.

If salads don’t tickle your fancy, there’s plenty of canteen styled sandwich boxes with plenty of meat, sauces, salad and generous slices of fresh sourdough bread.

Bread & CircusPreservative free bangalow pork chilli kicked salami 

Bread & CircusPoached organic Ingewood chicken w/ basil oil & thyme biodynamic yoghurt

Amongst the sandwich boxes, you’d need to pull me in a tug-a-war to decide on a favourite. Whatever protein you’re feeling, there’s bound to be a box that best suits you. The salami brings along a feisty little kick, the smoked ham is thick and generous with a sinus clearing mustard, whereas the chicken is teamed with a beautiful basil oil and thyme yoghurt.

Bread & Circus

Bread & CircusGenmaicha

There’s also a list of fresh juices and pipping hot teas. I picked one of the most usual ones of the list, a roasted brown rice and popcorn green tea. It smells amazing but definitely for those who enjoy wild teas.

Bread & Circus

And if all the superfoods are making you feel really angelic, there’s a few sweets on the counter that’s up for grabs. Feeling cheeky, we grab a huuuge (size of our plate..) cookie with generous portions of chocolate chips and nuts. Oh boy…

Bread & Circus

Perfect spot for breakfast, brunch or lunch – and being very child (little tables and chairs!) and dog friendly; Bread & Circus definitely helps promote healthy food for a clear mind and body!

Bread & Circus

Bread & Circus

And if you’re wondering where the coffee aroma is lingering from… don’t forget to check out Don Campos who are at the front of the warehouse. They also offer a few more tasty pastry morsels for the hungry.

Bread & Circus
21 Fountain St
Alexandria, Sydney
www.breadandcircus.com.au 

Bread & Circus on Urbanspoon

Don Campos
21 Fountain St
Alexandria, Sydney

Don Campos on Urbanspoon

March 13, 2012

Four in Hand

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Four in Hand
Miso Smoked Salmon

Four in Hand has always been on my radar; I’ve always been a carnivore, and the thought of delicious tender meats with interesting team ups gives me a grin from ear to ear. Normally lunch and dinner is served in the main dining area… but with a last minute surprise reservation, we grab a seat in their private dining room filled with wooden accents, a fireplace and view into the streets of Paddington (ha!).

A entree arrives with deep, smokey miso salmon with a seaweed, radish and cucumber salad. Fresh and simple to get the tastebuds revving.

Four in HandLicorice Braised Beef Brisket 

Super cheeky for lunch as we completely devour in super tender beef brisket and roast sucking pig. Served with the tinest baby carrots and Four in Hand’s infamous onion ring, the brisket falls apart wonderfully and although braised in licorice; the flavour is subtle and clean and not too daunting at all.

Four in Hand

Four in HandRoast Suckling Pig

Next is picturesque platter of roast suckling pig which is so beautifully presented with greens, cauliflower, prunes and a bowl of the world’s creamiest potato mash; colcannon, a Irish dish consisting of mash and cabbage. Tricked into eating pig’s ears, I would have never known as Colin does so wonderfully well.

Four in Hand

Four in HandRoast Peach

Dessert to finish was perfect after an indulgent afternoon of meat and potatoes. A juicy roast peach is served with a peach salad, jar of cream and a refreshing Hoegaarden popsicle.

Four in Hand
105 Sutherland St
Paddington, Sydney
www.fourinhand.com.au

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March 7, 2012

Greenhouse by Joost, Melbourne

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Greenhouse by Joost

Pop-ups are ever so delightful to run into. After wandering along Southbank for breakfast and coffee, there was noticeably a large number of shipping containers, oil drums and green folliage from a distance. Parked opposite Crown Casino and as part of the month long Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, Greenhouse by Joost has popped up in Melbourne.

Greenhouse by Joost

There’s no denying that the view out into the water could be as glamorous as Sydney‘s, but the look, feel and certainly woody smell still lingers around in this Melbourne pop-up.

Greenhouse by Joost

Coffee is served only for the dine in guests, but they are more than happy to fill a reusable cup. Coffee in is served in very cute terracotta tumblers, while fresh orange juice is squeezed and served in glass jam jars.

Greenhouse by JoostScrambled eggs & toast

Greenhouse by Joost

Greenhouse by JoostPoached eggs & toast

It’s early morning so there’s only a handful of dishes available for breakfast. Scrambled eggs are generous and protein perfect to start my day (loooong day at a conference!) while my foodie companion digs into the style of poached eggs on toast. They came with a pre-warning caution as the poached eggs are cooked differently to create a “just under” egg white and super runny egg yolk; I have a suspicion that they were cooked using a sous vide machine.

Greenhouse by Joost

Greenhouse by Joost is always worth a wander into if it ever pops up in your neighbourhood. It’s architectually interesting and food is equally intriguing.

Greenhouse is open from the 2nd to 20th March 2012.

Greenhouse by Joost
Queensbridge Square
Southbank, Melbourne
http://byjoost.com/greenhouse

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March 2, 2012

Spice I Am – The Restaurant

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Spice I Am

Spice I Am has been a Christmas tradition with my work girls. Every Christmas we wine and dine at the Darlinghurst restaurant to exchange gifts and as cliche as it sounds, giggle throughout the night sharing the best moments of the year. It’s been three years now without fail. There’s just something special about traditions.

Spice I Am

There’s an off-shoot of this restaurant in Surry Hills but the Darlinghurst one has an amazingly extensive food and cocktail menu. My favourite cocktail is the Tiger Paw with a secret ingredient that binds it altogether. Most of the cocktails on the menu are refreshingly fruity to counteract all the spiciness later on…

Spice I Am Massaman Curry Nua

Spice I Am Gaeng Ped Yang

The curries are without doubt delicious; both creamy and flavoursome. Our favourite is the massaman beef as we dive into the tender pieces beef; a result of patient slow cooking! Another familiar is the roast duck curry with plenty of kicks of kaffir lime leaves and thai basil garnished on top.

Spice I Am Moo Gob Prik Khing

Spice I AmMoo Gob Pik Pao

There’s no holding back with us girls. We love to indulge, and in a bit of pork belly so the next two dishes are naughty as can be – stir fried, super crispy pieces of pork belly with a dash of chili jam or red curry paste and plenty of chillis, green beans, cherry tomatoes and a hint of greens to balance it all.

Spice I Am

If you can handle the heat and spice, this is the perfect place to be (and don’t forget their extensive cocktail list!)

Spice I Am
296-300 Victoria St
Darlinghurst, Sydney
www.spiceiam.com/the-restaurant 

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