Archive for ‘Degustation’

January 21, 2012

Crave Sydney’s Abracadabra Lunch by Dan Hong

by minibites

It’s been a while since this delectable lunch by Dan Hong at Lotus, but after drooling over my archived photos, I thought I’d do a quick post so everyone else can drool as well. Missing out on the Dude Food Deg, the girls and I settled for the magic and mystery of the Abracadabra lunch.

Abracadabra @ Lotus
Tuna Sashimi, Sea Urchin and Scallop 

Usually the thoughts of raw seafood sends tingles my spine but I was pleasantly surprised that I polished this off clean… yes, even the sea urchin which extremely um, challenging. Think grainy, gooey and slimy. Let’s say that the sweet wasabi and fresh tuna sashimi definitely helped.

Abracadabra @ Lotus
King Prawns, Saffron Dashi Custard & Consomme

This dish was a flashback to March where Dan dished up a similar dashi custard; it’s a party in the mouth with Asian inspired flavours of laska, saffron, juicy king prawns and spicy consomme.

Abracadabra @ Lotus
Steamed Suzuki Mulloway & Pork Dumplings 

Next up is a generous slice of fish with a layer of crispy skin contrasted with delicate, fish flesh on the flip side – all served with pork dumplings dressed with Japanese flavours of sweet white soy and sour yuzu.

Abracadabra @ Lotus
Rangers Valley Wagyu Skirt Steak w/ Sweet Potato, Kim Chi, Teriyaki Sauce

One of my favourites is the Wagyu skirt steak… amazingly tender cooked medium rare and teamed up with creamy, sweet potato puree, spicy kim chi and plenty of magic from Liam Power.

Abracadabra @ LotusStrawberry Sorbet & Vanilla Milk Ice

To finish it off, it’s Dan Hong’s version of strawberries and cream with layers of strawberry sorbet, ice-cold vanilla milk granita, shards of chocolate meringue, and plenty of fresh strawberries… and of course, popping candy to entertain everyone at the table.

Abracadabra event was apart of Crave Sydney Food Festival 2011.

22 Challis Ave
Potts Point, Sydney

January 9, 2012

The Devonshire

by minibites

The Devonshire

Hidden amongst the other inner city terraces is The Devonshire. Peering through the window into the slim restaurant with all the trimmings, clean and sleek. Sitting inside, it’s intimate and a dash of fancy.

It’s eve before Christmas Eve and there’s no holding back, so we settle down with the 8 course degustation with matching wines.

The Devonshire

The Devonshire Salt fish brandade

The fresh bread arrives along and we’re spoilt for butter choice; salted and unsalted. A suspicious crispy ball arrives to tantalize our taste buds; nicely crisp on the outside with a soft, flakey fish centre.

The Devonshire
 Woodside goats curd mousse, zucchini flower, pickled beetroots and hazelnut

The first course is almost too pretty to devour. The crispy zucchini flower tries to be the centre of attention, but the dollops of goats cheese, colourful slices and cubes of beets, and spots of bloody, red puree takes away the attention.

The Devonshire
Cured Hiramasa kingfish, blood orange, spring onion and potato crisps

Speaking of pretty plates, next up is the cured kingfish so wonderfully pieced together with segments of blood orange, onions topped with thin shards of potato crisps. Not a clean plate in sight…

The Devonshire
Confit king salmon, buckwheat risotto, prawn, kohlrabi and dill

Not a foam fan, though I have to say that this was an exception. After the foam slowly melts, it becomes a sweet broth to team up with perfectly cooked salmon and a subtle, almost an umami flavoured risotto.

The Devonshire
Ravioli with roast chicken

If you love roast chickens, then this is the dish. Never judge a book by its cover, secretly hidden inside this huge ravioli are tender pieces of perfectly roast chicken; juices and all. On the side is my absolute favourite part of every roast dinner, the flavoursome bursts of herbs and spices of stuffing. Oh stuffing!

The Devonshire
Wagu rump cap, fondant potato, spinach 

Ready to unbutton the tops of our jeans, we were only prepared to pick at this dish, but within minutes… all four of us did not admit defeat and chowed it down slice by slice. The meat was cooked to the touch, meat juices and all. The potato cylinder isn’t for the faint hearted as it was double cooked in butter.

The Devonshire
Strawberries and Cream

The first of the desserts arrived and as simple as was, it all chimed a harmonious “mmmmm!” at the table. With layers of strawberry sorbet, vanilla cream, fresh strawberries and biscuit crumbles; it worked well as a dessert and palate cleanser after a meaty meal.

The Devonshire
Chocolate mousse, brownie crumble, honeycomb and orange

The finale is a chocolate wonderland with dark chocolate mousse strip, brownie crumbles, vanilla ice cream, generous chunks of crispy honeycomb and an orange jelly to top it off. To sum this dish into a ball of flavour, it’d be giant Jaffa.

The Devonshire

Nosebeaking onto the other tables, it seems as though every single dish is so beautifully presented and as equally delicious. The degustation menu changes slightly seasonally and every Friday, there is a $35 lunchtime deal. Do it!

The Devonshire
204 Devonshire St
Surry Hills

The Devonshire on Urbanspoon

September 8, 2011


by minibites


Please give Mr Waduka back his missing hat, because there aren’t many restaurants around that meet this standard of high quality food, presentation and incredible service. Valet parking, a peaceful bar with deep, sinkable leather chairs and a central Japanese garden that transports you from the hustle and bustle of Sydney’s CBD.

Tetsuya's Unsalted Butter w/ Ricotta & Truffles

To tantalise our tastebuds, fresh warm rolls of  white and sourdough were at our disposal as we attacked the surprisingly amazing butter. Soft, mousse-like butter with sprinkles of truffles. And the rumors are true, you really could eat spoonfuls and spoonfuls of this stuff…

Potato Soup w/ Coddled Quail Egg

Our first course are espresso cups filled with warm potato soup with coddled (partly cooked) quail egg sitting at the bottom. Mix, mix, mix, we’re told. Creamy and indulgent.

Tetsuya'sPacific Oysters w/ Rice Vinegar & Ginger

The oysters are an additional course, but worth the while. The Pacific Oysters are from the Central Coast and swimming in a small pool of rice vinegar and ginger. Ah it’s amazing how simple dressings need to be when you’ve got fresh oysters.

Savoury Custard w/ Avruga 

Shortly after, a small wooden spoon, wooden coaster and cup magically appear. After inspection, it’s a silky egg custard filled with dashi broth and topped with avruga, a caviar made from herring. The tastes of mushrooms fill my mouth, but there’s not a mushroom in sight.

Tetsuya'sSashimi of Kingfish w/ Blackbean & Orange 

Next up are paperthin sashimi slices of Kingfish drizzled with a blackbean, orange sauce and ribbons of spring onion. It’s an amazing fusion of Japanese and Chinese flavours.

Tetsuya's Confit of Petuna Ocean Trout w/ Shaved Fennel, Unpasteurised Ocean Trout Caviar 

The only dish that remains on every single menu is Tetsuya’s signature Ocean Trout. From the waters of Macquarie Harbour, the Ocean Trout has a thin coat of kombu. We’re told that kombu, a staple of dashi broth, is slowly and continously grounded until it can be sifted again and again, and mixed with coriander seeds and salt.

Tetsuya's Grilled Red Snapper w/ Peppers & NZ Scampi

A perfectly cooked piece of grilled snapper is next, and it is brought together with scampi pieces and smoked peppers. The fish breaks apart easily with the edge of the fork and the sweetness of peppers and scampi isn’t too overwhelming.

Tetsuya's Steamed QLD Spanner Crab w/ Bean Curd, Foie Gras & Junsai

Spanner crab and foie gras are my favourite connoactions together. Gentle pieces of steamed crab sit together on a bed of silky bean curd, fatty foie gras and hints of Junsai.

Breast of Quail w/ Jamon Iberico & Garlic Puree

The land proteins begin, and the first dish is a medium rare breast of quail served with puffed barley rice and Jamon, a Spanish cured ham. The smokeness fills the table, and there’s something so earthy and comforting about the textures and flavours of this dish.

Seared Loin of Venison w/ Salt Roasted Beetroot

Our seared venison loin seems somewhat sous vide before it’s seared as it’s perfectly medium all the way through. Wedges of beetroot scatter the plate with beetroot jus and swirls of chlorophyll. I rarely (no pun intended!) have anything that is this rare but it’s beautifully done.

Hay Infused Ice Cream w/ Sorrel Granita

Our waitress brings over a stack of spoons, unraveling each spoon like a babushka doll. A shotglass of hay infused ice cream topped with a sorrel granita. When mixed through, the sweetness of the ice cream works well with the tartiness of the granita. Not my absolute favourite but it works well to cleanse the palate before out trio of desserts.

Apple Tarte Tatin and Bread & Butter Pudding

Twin desserts present itself, and I giggle inside. We’re kindly advised to start with the tarte tatin; four layers of goodness. A scoopful of gelato, crunchy sweet crisps, cream and hidden apple chunks at the bottom. It’s married with a pudding which is absolutely devineeeee. It’s not as sweet as I first imagined, and we’re both scraping the ramekin clean.

Spiced Carrot Cake 

Almost bursting at the seams, our final dessert plays all the notes; from the savory tones of the carrot cake (which was so incredibly moist..), tanginess of the cream cheese ice cream, salty crushed peanuts and sweetness of the caramel swirl. Wow, what a finish!

Coffee & Pistachio Mini Macarons

Tetsuya’s is old school glamour and invention. Tetsuya’s is focused on perfecting technique, matching flavours and just getting it right. No fancy tricks, no puffs of smoke, no oranges that taste like apples, and apples tasting like oranges – it’s just good ol’ amazing food, wines and kind, knowledgeable service staff.

529 Kent St


Tetsuya's on Urbanspoon

March 23, 2011

March into Merivale’s Abracadabra Lunch by Dan Hong

by minibites

Abracadabra! Dan Hong kicks start my Saturday morning with a 5 course lunch degustation for his contribution to March in Merivale. Lotus was decked out with card houses, silver stars, magic wands and rabbits in hats. Also complete with quick hands magician, Liam Power who wows and woos the crowd. He came around table by table showing us card tricks and coin tricks. So amazed. I think I still am.

Belverdere Flaming Moe

To kick start the lunch, it’s a liquid meal called the Flaming Moe, Belverdere grapefruit vodka shaken with nashi pear and Cinzano Bianco; an Italian brand of vermouth, of the sweeter kind. We’re wow’d because the waiter brings you a cocktail on arrival and the garnish is a flaming orange peel. In a poof of smoke, the peel disappears… into thin air. And all you smell is the amazing citrus aftermath. And still wondering where it’d all go.

Sashimi of sea scallops, foie gras, avruga, hazelnut oil

First up was were sashimi of sea scallops topped with foie gras, avruga caviar and surrounded by hazelnut oil. I’ve never dared to try raw sea scallops so I admit that I was slightly unsure by how I’d react. But with a complete bite with everything, it works. The simplicity and rawness of the scallops was balanced with the pungent foie gras, bursts of avruga (a caviar made from herring), sweet hazelnut oil and the crunchiness of the apple. A very interesting opening dish.

Spanner crab, dashi custard, asparagus, ginger consomme

Moving along was my favourite dish of the afternoon, as well as my fellow foodie companions’ pick. It had an amazing mix of flavours; a wobbly dashi custard topped with slices of spanner crab, sprinkled asparagus and spring onions sitting in a ginger consomme. The ginger consomme was subtle enough to mix well with the dashi custard. Delicious!

Pork belly, almond gazpacho, watermelon, chicharron

And it seems that no degustation is fulfilled without a pork belly dish. Dan Hong serves up crispy, caramelised pork belly that sits on cold almond gazpacho and watermelon spheres topped with crispy chicharron, made from pig’s skin that is dried, fried and puffed. Not a huge fan of chicharron, but definitely adds an interesting texture.

Rangers Valley wagyu, spiced beetroot & white fungi

The last of the savouries was a generous portion of seared wagyu beef with wedges of spiced beetroot, beetroot puree and white fungi. White fungi isn’t commonly used in Western dishes, but definitely seen in the sweeter Asian dishes. I particularly enjoyed how instead of a potato mash, this was served with good ol’ bright red beets and a contrast of white fungi.

Lime creme, chocolate & vanilla meringue, coconut sorbet

Dessert rolled along and presented in a gorgeous arch of textures, flavours and surprises. There was a fluorescent lime creme base with light chocolate and vanilla meringue pieces, crunchy cookie crumble, a scoop of super cold coconut sorbet and hidden amongst it all… popping candy! The end of our lunchtime conversations were interrupted by random burst of crackles and pops.

Petit fours

And just before we left, some complementary petit fours; wobbly peach jelly cubes, very moist chocolate brownie triangles and fluffy cloud tasting tonka bean marshmallow cubes. Tada!

Most of these dishes are on the daily Lotus menu, so it’s not too late to go and have a taste.

Abracadabra event was apart of March into Merivale 2011.

22 Challis Ave
Potts Point, Sydney

Lotus on Urbanspoon

November 28, 2010

Bentley Restaurant & Bar

by minibites

So it’s the birthday my best friend, holiday buddy, dessert-brunch-anytime food loving companion, so I couldn’t think of a sweeter treat than a dessert degustation. After reading, or rather salivating over the recent circulation of reviews of Bentley Bar, I thought it was overdue for our turn.

Caramelised Pineapple

First on the path of destruction are tiny cubes of caramelised pineapple teamed with with barley cream, biscuit crumbles and topped with a beer sorbet. I hesitated a little when I saw “beer sorbet” on the menu because I’ve had beer sorbet before, done with a bitter and cheap beer. It does work however, when it is teamed with a great yet subtle tasting beer. Great dish to gear up the tastebuds for some interesting flavours and textures for the night… (and it did end up becoming my favourite dish for the night!)

Milk Cake

Second on the menu is the milk cake was served with magnolia ice cream and white chocolate – a dish with an amazing number of different textures from spongey, ice creamy, crumbley and airy. The magnolia ice cream was my favourite component on the dish with its amazing floral scent.

Beetroot Sponge

The third dish is the beetroot sponge, confusing my mind and tastebuds, but afterall that is the wonder and mystery of molecular gastronomy. The beetroot sponge was served with a dark chocolate custard, sour blackberries, chocolate soil and beetroot sorbet. And although I prefer my beetroot in my hamburgers, I didn’t mind too much of the beetroot sponge cake; it was light and airy, with subtle beetroot flavours. The chocolate was absolutely spot on!

Toast custard

The final art on a plate is the toast custard served on a bed of lychee puree and chocolate parfait. Being a chocolate junkie, of course I enjoyed the chocolate parfait, but there was something really mind boggling about the toast custard, which involves sourdough bread toasted until dark and infused with the custard. And amidst the creaminess of the parfait, crunchiness was added from the see-through film shards of lychee sweetness added the perfect crunch.

Interesting flavours showing that desserts can be savoury or sweet. Would love to do this again so my fingers are crossed that the menu keeps changing!

Bentley Restaurant & Bar
320 Crown St
Surry Hills, Sydney

Bentley Restaurant and Bar on Urbanspoon