Archive for April, 2012

April 29, 2012

El Capo

by minibites

El Capo

If you want a place with attitude, this is your place. Straight up. Welcome to El Capo, “a good place for bad people”, dishing up Latin American soul food from grits, ceviche to pork belly and donuts.

El Capo
Pine tables, mismatching school chairs, a nasty portrait of an angry chicken sprawled on the wall and stacks of dollar bills as stools. You can’t get any more “I’m top boss” than that.

El Capo

The menu’s great for sharing or if you’re selfish enough to devour whole dishes to yourself. There’s a mix of entrees, mains and a handful of desserts to get you on your merry way. It is Latin American food, so if you’re not a spice fan, I’d order a round of old school Coca Colas right up.

El Capo
Guacamole

First up is the guacamole, and at first you’ll be like “yeah, okay” but once you dip their huge corn chips with the biggest scoop of guac you can get, you’ll realise your mouth is raving with flavours. I can easily say hands down that this is the best guacamole I’ve ever had.

El CapoColombian Empandadas

El Capo
Sticky Pork Belly

Another round of entrees circulate the table with everyone biting into the empandadas, pipping hot beef parcels with a side of salsa. The pork belly fans at the table suddenly have a sparkle in their eye when the strips of sticky pork belly arrive – they’re tender with a slight glaze of chipotle and cola sticky sauce. Sharing is the way to go with this cheeky fella.

El Capo
Arroz Con Pollo

The mains are of a more substantial size for sharing. I smell an amazing aroma of spices, and I turn to see the spicy caribbean chicken rice. Subtle flavours, but absolutely amazing with the guac, so save a bit to have with this one. It’s like devouring a naked burrito.

El CapoTwice Cooked Duck with Pasilla Sauce

The duck had the troops divided; some loved and some weren’t so impressed. I enjoyed the flavours of the duck carnitas (little meats) and duck leg but the duck breast didn’t hit the mark with me, as well as the tortillas, which were too thick and dry to roll up.

El Capo
Encocado De Pescado

On the contrary, the fish curry was delicious. With a neutral slice of fish, the curry was perfect as it was a good balance of spicy, sweet and sour exploring a mix of flavours which I’m not usually familiar with together.

El Capo
Chocolate Tart

It’s lunch, but you still have to end of a sweet note… The chocolate tart is deceiving. Albeit looking like just chocolate ganache tart, the guilty tart has subtle hints of passionfruit and a super crumbly base which everyone loves.

El CapoDoughnuts w/ Cream and Rum Syrup

Doughnuts seemed like an incredibly naughty choice but none of us could say no. We all turned into Homer Simpson drooling over the plate of pipping hot, house made doughnuts soaking in a rum syrup. Super fluffy inside with the perfect cinnamon crust on the outside. A definite must!

El Capo

Winter’s coming and the comfort of El Capo’s style is worth a drive by.

El Capo is now closed.

El Capo
52 Waterloo St
Surry Hills, Sydney
www.elcapo.com.au

El Capo on Urbanspoon

April 24, 2012

PaperPlanes

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Paper Planes

Okay, I admit that I have a little crush on the Barge brothers and the delectable cocktails and dishes they bring to the scene. Teamed up with Phil Capaldi, the boys have a new addition to the family in a hidden, reformed alleyway along Campbell Parade. Walking in, your eyes are casted to the 400 and something skateboard roof, flying origami cranes and an enticing long bar at the back.

Paper Planes

We kick off with some chilled beverages and in true LL Wine & Dine style, there’s an innovative cocktail menu. Tonight I’m on the Tokyo Pop, a fruity mix with a cheeky popping candy rim. The boys are on tap beer, Orion, which is of course Japanese.

Paper Planes

The menu is designed to share and there’s a mix of old and new Japanese. The entrees and mains are a modern take, while the sushi menu keeps it simple but offering good ol’ favourites with a sprinkle of PaperPlanes magic.

Paper PlanesHomemade Pork & Cabbage Gyoza

Paper PlanesSalmon Tartare Nachos

Entrees kick start with dishes of edamame, gyoza and salmon nachoes. The homemade gyoza is limited each week and are served with a chili oil and ponzu mix; the ponzu adding the perfect amount of tartness. Th salmon nachoes are kept cool in a wooden bath of ice and served with crispy prawn crackers.

Paper PlanesSpicy Tuna Makisushi Roll

There’s a selection of sushi and sashimi to choose from; my favourite is the spicy tuna with the refreshing inclusion of apple while the spider roll has a firey kick with hidden fresh wasabi.

Paper PlanesSake Flamed Teriyaki Chicken

Paper PlanesBraised Beef Short Ribs

The mains are hearty and keep us warm from chill and rain – the sake flamed teriyaki chicken is deceptively flavoursome and perfect with a bowl of rice and the sauteed mushroom mix. The braised beef short ribs are perfect for the lazy as they are off the bone swimming in a sauce of yakiniku (sake, mirin, soy) – all balanced with the sourness of pickled vegetables.

Paper Planes
Tokyo POP plant

Paper Planes
The Black Egg

The desserts are adventurous. Our Tokyo POP plant is a lemon cheesecake in disguise, all of which would have been complete if there was a super crumbly biscuit base which we were all digging for! The black egg on the other hand, is delectable. It is a layered “egg” of macadamia nut oil, coconut milk curd and a floating disc of chocolate sauce (there’s not much, so you have to fight for it!).

Paper Planes

Follow the lighting strike and have a cocktail, or two.

PaperPlanes
178 Campbell Parade
Bondi Beach, Sydney
www.paperplanesbondi.com

PaperPlanes on Urbanspoon

April 15, 2012

Xanthi Bar & Restaurant

by minibites

Xanthi Bar & Restaurant

Xanthi feels as though you have magically stepped into an oversized tent with beautifully draped curtains, glowing lanterns, Persian rugs… there’s a degree of royalty when you walk through with cosy booths, generously large sized chairs and full view of the flames and action of the kitchen. Immediately you know you will be well look after… (cue the stretchy pants).

It is a lunchtime affair, so we opt the express menu with plenty of dishes to share and a glass of your choice.

Xanthi Bar & Restaurant
Tarama, Split Pea and Tzatziki

Xanthi Bar & Restaurant
Greek Salad

With a click of your fingers, our trio of dips and glistening Greek salad arrive at our table. Our trio included tarama (or taramoalata; mix of roe and potato), a smoky spilt pea dip and good ol’ refreshing tzatziki; perfect company with some toasty warm Lebanese bread triangles.

Xanthi Bar & Restaurant
BBQ Haloumi

Xanthi Bar & Restaurant
Vine Dolmathes

The banquet menu proves worthy by offering up two delicious Greek favourites – grilled haloumi, which is perfect without being tough and stretchy and are topped with figs, tomatoes and a dash of lemon. The parcels of vine dolmathes take me back to an Asian version wrapped in bamboo leaves; where the Greek do it with a lot more herbs and wrapped in delicate, edible leaves.

Xanthi Bar & Restaurant
Fried Calamari

Xanthi Bar & Restaurant
Lamb Skaras

A tapas sized bowl of fried calamari arrives and the aroma of paprika and spices fill the table; they’re lightly battered and not overpowering the tender octopus. The main star are the lamb skaras; slow cooked with spices with the meat falling off the bone and matched with potatoes and beans – a Greek homage to a massaman curry.

Xanthi Bar & Restaurant
Caramel Baklava Ice Cream

You can’t end a Greek feast without sweets, so Xanthi dishes up their version of deconstructed baklava with vanilla ice cream, pistachios and a pool of warm caramel.

Xanthi Bar & Restaurant
Corner Pitt Street Mall & Market Street
Level 6 Dining Precinct
Westfields’ Sydney
www.xanthi.com.au

Xanthi Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon