Archive for ‘Eat At The Bar’

December 6, 2011

Orto Trading Co

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Orto Trading Co

Along Waterloo St in Surry Hills is a burst of fabulous new finds. Orto Trading Co is a cute retro bar on the corner; perfect for a girls’ night out. With Sydney’s sudden and torrential downpour, we all hustled in and cuddled inside to flickering candles, fresh flowers in our little corner.

Orto Trading Co

There’s bountifuls of beer, wines and cocktails on the drinks menu, but our choice of poison to wind down were jugs of fruity sangria; all served in little jars and retro straws.

Orto Trading Co
Scotch Egg

There’s a mix for dishes for the nibblish or the starving. First up are for the nibblish is the scotch egg is an oldie but a goodie. Made from house made pork sausage encasing a soft boiled egg. It’s dished up with a pear piccalilli; a British pickle with a mix of mustard and turmeric and perfect when the meat is a little least moist.

Orto Trading Co
Cauliflower Fritters

A fabulous alternative to potato chips are cauliflower fritters; fried and lightly coated in herbs and spices with the right amount of crunch. The chef must be a fan of pear as this dish was paired with a curried pear sauce; not necessary but adds just a little punch.

Orto Trading CoRoast Pork Hock for two

One of the fuller mains is the chunky roast pork hock for two. Still on the bone, it’s served on a gorgeous wooden board overflowing with roast parsnips, caramelised apples and mountain of cabbage slaw. Diggin’ the whole caramelised apple as it goes wonderfully with pork. Things are also always better when they are not doused in sauce, so I loved the milk bottle of pour-at-your-own-pace gravy. And although for two, this little baby filled up four bellies…

Orto Trading CoBirthday Cake from Raspberry Charlotte Mousse Cake, Le Renaissance Patisserie

Orto Trading Co

Orto Trading Co

Perfect enough for my birthday girls’ night out, so enjoy the candlelight and explore this new part of town.

Orto Trading Co
38/55 Waterloo St
Surry Hills, Sydney
www.ortotradingco.com.au

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July 5, 2011

Cafe Sopra, Waterloo

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Cafe Sopra, Waterloo

Stumbling through the large barn like doors on Danks Street, it was nice to be shielded from the rain and cold. Cafe Sopra sits on the top of the constantly busy Fratelli Fresh market below – bringing the freshest fruit and veggie produce along with the pantry basics.

Cafe Sopra in Waterloo is probably my favourite, being the most rustic, being warehouse styled with gorgeous wooden finishes and natural light beaming through french styled windows.

Cafe Sopra, Waterloo

There’s only the 2 of us so we grabbed a seat at the bar where we could peer into the kitchen and watch countless dishes emerge from the relatively zen-like kitchen. Whilst also eying all the numerous desserts that we guiltily wanted…

Cafe Sopra, Waterloo

The menu is generously extensive and most likely has a dish to tickle everyone’s fancy, and undergoes numerous changes to match the seasonal produce. As the afternoon progresses, the menu becomes shorter and shorter as the dishes become snapped up. Skipping the entree (to save belly space for dessert), we dive into some warm hearty pastas, mmmm!

Cafe Sopra, Waterloo
Mezze Rigatoni

Cafe Sopra, Waterloo
Penne al Forno 

It’s not long when the waitress leans over and presents a large bowl of steaming mezze rigatoni – soft cylinders of pasta mixed with soft beef ragu, bolognese sauce and light parmesan snow on top. My fellow foodie devoured the penne al forno (Italian for “from the oven”) – a terracotta dish filled with penne pasta, amazing slices of smoked ham, spinach, florets of cauliflower and oozy melted mozzarella on top.

Cafe Sopra, Waterloo
Banoffee Pie

The rain began to fall, so we chit chatter until our mains digest and dive into the infamous banoffee pie that countless friends have recommended. Banoffee is an English dessert which is simply, banana and toffee! Surprisingly it wasn’t too overwhelming sweet nor heavy even with the naughty layers of cream on top.

The next day we were battling banoffee cravings, so I gave it ago! The recipe was from Taste. Instead of just a dollop of cream on top, I whipped thickened cream, a tablespoon of vanilla extract and sugar till soft peaks formed then piped it on top. Viola!

Banoffee Pie

Cafe Sopra, Waterloo

Amazingly satisfying Italian dishes made from the freshest produce for brunch and lunch. Delish!

Cafe Sopra
7 Danks St
Waterloo, Sydney
www.fratellifresh.com.au 

Cafe Sopra on Urbanspoon

April 14, 2011

Cumulus Inc, Melbourne

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Cumulus Inc

It’s the only time that I have appreciated a no bookings policy, meaning that we could rock up nice and early to grab a seat along the marble bar to watch young chefs in action. Andrew McConnell’s slightly more casual diner, Cumulus Inc. Cumulus Inc brings fresh dishes which are a little less experimental than Cutler & Co, but still keeping it sexy and interesting. It’s an open room with high ceilings, gorgeous windows looking out to the alleyway and most importantly, an open kitchen and beautiful white marble bar.

Cumulus Inc

Cumulus IncMoonlight en surface rock oysters

Cumulus Inc Slow cooked octopus with aioli, dehydrated olive

Cumulus Inc

There’s delicious warm bread that arrives in a small pan to keep us occupied. The work station of the chef who prepares our dishes happens to be right in front of us, and casually serve our entrees; freshly shucked rock oysters and an intriguing and vibrant dish of slow cooked octopus. The oysters were oysters, but the octopus were amazingly interesting with the unexpected firey pow wow! A definite try to kick start the taste buds.

Cumulus Inc Seared scallops, fresh bacon, pearl barley & sorrel

Next along the agenda was a gorgeous dish of seared scallops and generous tender confit duck leg. The scallops are slightly seared on a bed of pearl barley and bright green pureed sorrel with cubes of fatty bacon.  One of the most ingenious marriage ever: bacon and scallops, and my favourite dish of the night.

Cumulus Inc Aylesbury duck, confit leg, roast breast, plum sauce and spiced turnips

The confit duck is tender and falls off the bone and well balanced with sweet plum sauce and slightly spiced baby turnips. If no one was looking, I would have picked up the duck leg and nibbled through…

Cumulus IncChoc-chip and black olive semifreddo with strawberries

Cumulus Inc

Lemon curd madeleine

The dessert menu is of the obscure kind, but if you’re thinking of dining at Cumulus Inc, your mindset should already be out of the box. Our first sweet delight is a choc-chip and black olive semifreddo; a slather of black olive tapande added a touch of bold flavour to a seemingly simple and stone cold semifreddo. And to finish off the meal and to cleanse the palate; a piping hot, light lemon curd madeleine. Delish!

Cumulus Inc
45 Flinders Lane
Melbourne
www.cumulusinc.com.au

Cumulus Inc. on Urbanspoon

April 12, 2011

Bar Lourhinã, Melbourne

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Bar Lourhina
Bar Lourinha is like visiting your grandmama for dinner; homey, comfort food with rich, meaty dishes. Buzzing on a week night, plenty of people fill the table at the bar with metal pans of meaty delights with a serve of fresh boiled potato. Walk into a room with walls of an assortment of photo frames, different sized mirrors, unusual antlers mounted on the wall and hanging spoon collections.

Bar Lourhina

Bar LourhinãPancetta “soldiers”

There’s a line but instead of rubbing our hands in the cold, we hang around in the hallway for a drink and some nibbles. Our drink of poison is “The Stolen Town Bike”; a concoction of Frangelico, Amaro Lucano, Gin and mixed with pomegranate juice and rose water. The nibbles include toothpick skewers of green olives and a generous cube of lemon curd ocean trout. Bewildered to what “soldiers” were, we’re pleasantly surprised with a soft crispy bread cube with garlic butter wrapped with flavoursome salty panetta. Simple yet amazingly good.

Bar Lourhina Pork neck, almond sauce

Bar Lourhina Roasted mushrooms & garlic cream

Bar Lourhina Home made free range chorizo & cider

The dishes are quite meat heavy, so it’s wise to select one or two along with a dish of veggies. Our meats for the evening were a pork neck served with almond sauce, and a thick home made chorizo in cider; both served with a boiled potato. The pork neck is tender and the almonds add a nice crunch. The chorizo sausage is generous and genuine with an array of herbs and spices mixed through. The favourite dish has to be the whole roasted button mushrooms with garlic cream, which were incredibly delicious. If you love creamy mushroom sauces, then this is perfect to top off pulled pork neck.

The dishes aren’t pieces of artwork, but they taste homey, simple and wholesome. The meats are of the different kind, but it’s great to see restaurants acknowledging the other kinds of the animal than the typical pork belly, shoulder or sirloin steak.

Bar Lourhinã
37 Little Collins St
Melbourne
http://www.barlourinha.com.au

Bar Lourinhã on Urbanspoon

April 1, 2011

Izakaya Den, Melbourne

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Izakaya Den

Melbourne bars really make you work hard. To earn this feast and Asahi; we persisted through a number of spins, till we landed in front of a set of stairs, a heavy glass door, through a black curtain to lead us to the gorgeous vertical dining room of the Izakaya Den. We take a seat at the bar (and it’s a must) to watch all the Japanese chefs dressed in black and coloured bandanas in action.

Izakaya Den

Unroll the architecture map sized menus and your eyes wander up, down and across the variety of sakes, shochu, wines and beers. An izakaya is a casual bar in Japan with shared bar snacks; all the dishes are categorised as small, hot, cold and chargrill.

Izakaya Den Spicy tuna tataki, garlic soy

Izakaya Den
Sweet corn kaki-age

For entrees, the spicy tuna tataki sitting on a creamy garlic soy fire up our tastebuds. Tataki is type of technique to prepare fish and meats, particularly tuna, that slightly seared. Not a usual tuna fan, but this dish worked really well with the garlic soy to give it a firey kick, and one of the favourites of Izakaya Den. Next are the simple and sweet corn clusters which were amazing. Sweet, crunchy and light.

Izakaya Den AAco’s Wagyu grade 7+ porterhouse

Izakaya Den
Den fried chicken

Izakaya Den

For mains, the wagyu beef is off the char-grill menu, simple and plain, but served with a sweet soy that made all the difference – it adds a sweet touch to a plain steak, Jap style. Not crazy but the den fried chicken certainly is. It may look fried, bubbly and all things oily, but the different herbs and spices used to coat the chicken pieces are delicious. Best downed with half litre of imported premium Asahi.

Izakaya Den Black sesame brulee, orange peel

Izakaya Den Houjicha ice cream

While watching at the bar, my dining companion became fascinated by the Paco Jet machine on the counter. It’s a food processing machine that makes ice cream in a flash. So… dessert with ice cream was a no brainer.

To keep with the Japanese theme, dessert starts with a black sesame brulee with orange peel strings; and it tastes like good ol’ black sesame, and not the artificial kind. The brulee top cracks wonderfully and it’s absolutely addictive. We dig into the houjicha ice cream, an in-house made ice cream using the Paco Jet machine with roasted green tea. The flavours are subtle and so incredibly fresh – no icicles or wateriness.

Izakaya Den is as close as a Tokyo bar can get… including whether you can find it!

Izakaya Den
Basement, 114 Russell St
Melbourne
http://www.izakayaden.com.au

Izakaya Den on Urbanspoon