Archive for ‘Cocktails’

November 7, 2011

Sugaroom

by minibites

Sugaroom

With the emergence of daily deals and coupons, dining out is no longer reserved just for a special occasion but of a matter of expiry urgency. Nevertheless, daylight saving has kicked in and warmer nights, so it was perfect excuse (along with an expiring voucher) for a night overlooking the water.

Sugaroom is in a hidden nook of Pyrmont from a renovated sugar refinery site with gorgeous peaceful lookout onto the water. This part of Pyrmont is rarely explored so it’s not chaotic and parking is plentiful. Our voucher offer tonight is an awesome deal to taste test as it is for 3 courses from a shortened list off the a la carte.

SugaroomEntree; Shortcrust Tarte a l’onion w/ Wirlof, Blue cheese, Creme Fraiche

The first entree is an onion tart that’s surprisingly moist and, quite non-oniony at all. The shortcrust pastry encases a mince and onion mixture with a crispy crust to top it all off. The salad on the side, I don’t care so much as I’m tucking into this tomato salad…

SugaroomEntree; Tomato, Pickled Red Onion, Mozzarella and Pancetta Salad Basil Pistou

The tomato salad looks like a simpleton’s dish but it’s complex in flavours and textures. Perfectly red tomatoes act as the mini plate for soft mozzarella cheese, subtle picked red onions, ribbons of salty, crispy pancetta, drizzled with the best, ever, balsamic and olive oil and fresh basil. Perfect dish I’m hoping to replicate this Summer.

Sugaroom
Main; Pan Roasted Dory, Fennel Fondant, Radish Salad

My choice for mains is the dory; and boy, if you’re a lover of crispy skinned fish, this dish is the way to go! The fish still breaks apart perfectly but the skin has the lovely crunch. And speaking of crunchiness, check out the super bright and yes, crunchy broccoli.

Sugaroom
Main; Caramelised Pork Belly, Baby Bok Choy, Crispy Shallots

Next is our fatty piece of pork belly sandwiched between baby bok choy and shallots with drizzles of sticky, sweet caramelised sauce. The meat is deliciously tender and sweet but sadly missing a layer of oily pork crackling. Delish but I’d be prepared to share… (even though you’re never really meant to share pork belly).

Sugaroom
Dessert; Chocolate Creme Brulee, Raspberry Marshmellow, Macerated Strawberries

Sugaroom
Dessert; Passionfruit Pavolva, Chantilly Cream, Fairy Floss

And being at the Sugaroom, of course the night has to be topped off with sugary delights. The chocolate creme brulee is delicious but ordinary; definitely not as lavish as the passionfruit pavlova with tingles of sourness and sweetness, and super light melt in your mouth fairy floss.

Sugaroom
Shop 2, 1 Harris St
Pyrmont, Sydney
www.sugaroom.com.au 

Sugaroom restaurant & wine bar on Urbanspoon

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October 18, 2011

Li’l Darlin

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Li'l Darlin

You gotta love a good bar like this. It’s nothing extraordinary but it just does what a good bar should do, ticking the right boxes with delicious bar food, scrumptious pizzas, alcohol and thankfully, plenty of seats. It’s buzzing on a Friday night with people kicking off their weekend escapades with spots at the bar, down the communal marble table, seats by the window or the cosy little two-seaters along the wall.

The menu is made to share, but the tapas sized dishes mean you can selfishly eat the whole dish without sharing (hint hint, like the peking duck pizza…..)

Li'l Darlin Salt & Pepper Calamari

Li'l Darlin
Seared Scallops

Feeling the generous and sharing mood, we’re kick off with some you-can’t-say-no salt and calamari with a side of sauces; delicious and piping hot bite sized pieces. Nothing amazing but it’s hot and fresh, and not elastically, so that’s comforting.

For something a little spesh, it’s the seared scallops. It’s not long when they arrive on a bed of cauliflower puree, crispy pancetta pieces, lime, tomato and a drizzle of brown nut butter sauce danced around on my tastebuds. Delish.

Li'l Darlin
Chilli-BBQ Ribs

Li'l Darlin Crispy Peking Duck Pizza

Continuing the two person chow down, next up are the messy and saucilious pork ribs. They pull off the bone with no trouble and are coated in Li’l Darlin’s signature chilli BBQ sauce. With our saucy grins and BBQ smelling fingers, we dive into the side of kipfler potato chips with aioli. Mmmm!

And when you read crispy peking duck pizza on a menu, you really can’t go past without ordering (plus having a food blogging colleague always helps, hello!). The pizza is crispy thin with lashings of peking duck, hoi sin sauce, shallots, cucumbers, coriander and the magical hints of star anise and cinnamon glaze that ties it altogether. Definitely giving Mad Pizza e Bar up the road a run for its money!

Li'l Darlin Homemade dough sticks w Belgian chocolate

The dessert menu is still sadly very short and it calls for the home made dough sticks. If you’re a lover of fresh bread then this is a treat. Warm, doughy goodness dipped in Belgian milk chocolate is not bad, not bad at all.

Li'l Darlin

If Li’l Darlin continues to kick on with crazy stunts like chilli bbq pork ribs and crispy peking duck pizza, then there won’t be spare seats on a Friday night soon…

Li’l Darlin
235 Victoria Rd
Darlinghurst, Sydney
www.lildarlin.com.au

Li'l Darlin on Urbanspoon

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

July 30, 2011

La Bodeguita de Medio

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La Bodeguita de Medio

Pushing through what seems to be strong glass doors guarding a Gotham city bank, it hides La Bodeguita de Medio, a Latin American surprise; filled with lively music, a well stocked rum bar and plenty of tasty and flavoursome morsels. The interior is theme fitting, with washed out sky blue walls, plenty of picture frames on the walls, wooden features and private booths to hide away in.

La Bodeguita de Medio

Ho ho ho, and a bottle of rum…! If rum is your choice of liquid courage, then this is the perfect bar to be at; with pages and pages of dedicated rum based cocktails and plenty of shots to share. We’re being well behaved as it’s still a school night, so cocktails it is.

I am cameraless tonight but the tapas to share are worth a nibble on, and the amazing ceviche with a tang and bite and braised lamb neck served with Cuban rice and black bean vinaigrette are worth a mention. I’m totally skeptical to raw food (my dad always overcooks meat) so ceviche has never been on my hot list, but this was damn delicious!

La Bodeguita de Medio
Passionfruit Pannacotta

La Bodeguita de MedioMocha Dome 

After a night of cocktails, we couldn’t resist some sweet delights while watching live salsa dancing around the tables and booths. The pannacotta is not the usual pyramid wobble, but little coins of pannacotta and passionfruit jelly, all on top of a bed of tapioca soup dressed with fruits and flowers. Usually a lover of tapioca, but I’m not sure it really worked for this dish…

The mocha dome on the hand was a chocolate delight – a decadent chocolate dome, candied peanuts, and salted caramel ice cream. Hello sugar overload but this one was a treat.

Perfect for some exotic foods, a mojito and a little dancing to wave the night away.

La Bodeguita de Medio
125 York St
Sydney
www.ldbm.com.au

La Bodeguita del Medio on Urbanspoon

July 27, 2011

Grandma’s

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Grandma's

Continuing the trend of “hard to find”, Grandma’s is hidden in the basement below a complex of corporates on the ever so busy Clarence St. Stumble downstairs to the basement and there’s a nice feel to it. Cheeky vibrant wallpaper, vintage lamps, mismatching ottomans, teacup candles and a wooden rocking chair fill up the bar. At Grandma’s, there’s an added element to the bar, with a pot of ginger bubbling away behind the bar.

Grandma's

It’s a Tuesday night so it was comfortably pleasant to swing around and breathe (on other nights, you may find it difficult to….) I had the pleasure of my fellow girls bringing the cocktails at my disposal. Grandma’s cocktail list is hella extensive and every single cocktail we had was absolutely delicious.

My pick of the night had to go to the Basil Grande, with all my favourites; vodka, basil leaves, Grand Marnier and Chambord, strawberries and cranberry juice, all shaken up – even my sour loving companion loved it.

Grandma's

In the words of Grandma’s, “drink less but better!

Grandma’s 
Basement, 275 Clarence St
Sydney
www.grandmasbarsydney.com.au

Grandma's Bar on Urbanspoon