Archive for ‘French’

October 10, 2013

Guillaume at Bennelong

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Guillaume at Bennelong

Guillaume at Bennelong has to be one of my the favourite rooms in Sydney. By day, it may seem cold and unfriendly, but by the night, the beautiful city lights shine in showing off the stunning industrial curves.

Guillaume at Bennelong

We’re here tonight because it will be the end of an era with Guillaume at Bennelong to raise it’s final hurrah in December. The restaurant’s ambience is amazing, especially with a table by the edge where you can stare into the Sydney skyline.

Guillaume at BennelongAmuse Bouche 

There’s a degustation option but we’re feeling the confident and decisive mood tonight so we opt for the al carte menu which is three savouries and a sweet.

Guillaume at BennelongRoyale

With the feeling of diving into an edible garden, the Royale was one of my favourites with an unexpected mix of soft and silky textures yet crunchy with bites of speck and croutons.

Guillaume at BennelongSpecial of the Night, Tuna

Being an anti-foam fan, one of the specials of the night was a little downer – it was a beautiful cut of sashimi but inside I was hoping there would be something more.

Guillaume at BennelongScallops

Scallops are always a delight to order, and these ones are seared just right and companied with the simplest of flavours; a bite size bed of artichoke and scattered broad beans.

Guillaume at BennelongSquid

Resembling like a horror story from under the sea, the Squid tastes like no dish other. Finely sliced squid to imitate tagliatelle swims in a sea urchin consommé and topped with squid ink tapioca cracker. For those who squirm at the words of “sea urchin”, the consommé is so light and complementary that the words pass you by.

Guillaume at Bennelong
Wagyu Beef

Guillaume at BennelongBirkshire Pork

The last of the savouries show off what Guillaume is all about, simplistic French dining showing off seasonal food. The Wagyu Beef is melt in your mouth goodness served with wholesome winter veggie flavours, such as potatoes and parsnips and the pork is matched with its ol’ friends, apple and celeriac.

Guillaume at Bennelong
Champagne Grapefruit Granita

I love the idea of a palette cleanser before dessert, and although the tartness of this granita pulled my face into all sorts of squinting faces, I couldn’t stop eating it by the spoonful.

Guillaume at Bennelong
Quince

Guillaume at Bennelong
Nougat Glace

Yes, after a night of Frenchyness (food and waiter accents), the cheese should have been in order, but being a temperamental lactose intolerant sufferer, it was straight to proper dessert. The two choices complement so well with the Nougat Glace being incredibly indulgent and rich in banana, caramel and peanuts, while the Quince is fresh and light.

Sad to see another one go, but it’s time to celebrate and enjoy!

Guillaume at Bennelong
Sydney Opera House
Bennelong Point, Sydney
www.guillaumeatbennelong.com.au

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January 27, 2013

Hartsyard

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Hartsyard

Hartsyard gets it right. It’s a little restaurant that has found the right balance of being innovative yet keeping the it real. We’re a chatty bunch, but the food gives us silent intermissions between each dish as we munch.

HartsyardSalmon Cooked in a Jar

Seated with a menu in hand, it’s common courtesy to ask the others what they’re keen for tonight. “Meat! Lots of meat!” my Russian dining companion demands and we’re lucky. The menu is divided into Seed & Feed, with “seed” being nibblish, yet still a very substantial portion. “Feed” are the larger dishes, but all in all, are designed to share.

Our only “seed” is a jar filled with salmon. Yes, I had to admit there was a little pre-assumption that the jar is a bit of smoke and mirrors. But no, it was one of the best smoked salmon with boasting credentials the next day. A fresh dollop of creme fraiche on the side, greens, pickled gherkins and home baked rye bread crisps.

Hartsyard Peachy Keen Sour

There’s a bountiful of cocktails to choose from, while my Pisco Punch is good, it wasn’t as fabulous as the Peachy Keen Sour with pieces of stewed peaches at the bottom.

Hartsyard

Pulled Pork

The first of our “feed” dishes arrive and a fat, glistering slice of maple bacon sits on top of our cube of pulled pork. With my new fisheye lens, I also capture my poor, yet patient dining companions eyeing the dishes to dive straight in.

The dish is so well juxtaposed with a less than beautiful looking piece of meat with fresh apples, shards of pork rind, fennel and yoghurt. The maple bacon is sweet and heart clogging but oh so good long with tender pieces of pulled pork below. My only complaint is that I wished I fought for more of it.

Hartsyard

Fried Chicken

With luck, I’m dining with like-minded friends tonight and I jump at the opportunity to grab some fried chicken. It’s been a craving that I’ve been trying to suppress, but this this hit the spot. Crunchy, flavoursome and succulent on the inside, I was happily munching on my drumstick with my fingers and wiping the crumbs off my face, while the others were gracifully eating theirs with cutlery.

Hartsyard

Smoked Wagyu Brisket

The last “feed” is the smoked wagyu brisket, and hello! This is melt-in-your mouth goodness and served with an arrangement of pickled and fried greens with a bbq mayo.

Hartsyard

Maple Brulee

The night ends with the maple brulee, served quite naked without its usual white ramekin bowl. A crunchy dome, silky brulee, slivers of Palmier pastry, scoops of cherry ice cream, cherries and an interesting walnut coffee crunch.

IMG_5193

On the quieter end of Enmore Rd, Hartsyard is a mix of clean and grungy basement interiors, dishing up some great feeds. The menu changes almost every time the seasons do which gives a great reason to keep coming back for more.

Hartsyard
33 Enmore Rd
Newtown, Sydney
www.hartsyard.com.au

Hartsyard on Urbanspoon

January 9, 2012

The Devonshire

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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
www.thedevonshire.com.au

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September 8, 2011

Tetsuya’s

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Tetsuya's

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…

Tetsuya's
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.

Tetsuya's
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.

Tetsuya's
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.

Tetsuya's
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.

Tetsuya's
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.

Tetsuya's
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.

Tetsuya's
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!

Tetsuya's
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.

Tetsuya’s
529 Kent St
Sydney
www.tetsuyas.com

 

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January 22, 2011

Bitton

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French toast a la Bitton with fresh fruit & orange jelly

Bitton has been my latest brunch craze. It’s one of those places where you’re not particularly in the mood to test the waters of something new, and just looking for that quick morning fix of good ol’ favourites.

On my first trip (yep, repeat offender already) I indulged in the french toast which was delicious. I’ve only had another memorable french toast experience which was in Lorca, Melbourne and this was has met the benchmark. Loads of fresh and seasonal fruit always helps cut the guilt of having such  a sugary delight so early in the day.

Poached eggs served with spinach, smoked salmon & hollandaise sauce

On my second trip back, I was in an eggy mood, so we opted for the breakfast staples. My companion’s poached eggs were delicious, one egg was a little overdone but the rest of the dish was flawless. Sitting on a potato hash brown, the creamy hollandaise sauce was just right.

One pan bacon and eggs with wood fired bread & tomato sauce

I opted for the one pan and it was filled with goodness, oozing eggs, bacon and 2 slices of wood fired sourdough bread. One of the things that Bitton is known for are their sauces, so the french toast orange jelly is available in the grocer, as well as the amazing spicy tomato sauce that swung my tastebuds into a dancing sensation.

Gorgeous view opposite a grassy park, delicious food and great service. Perfect way to start a weekend morning!

Bitton
36-37a Copeland St
Alexandria, Sydney
www.bittongourmet.com.au

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