Archive for ‘Sydney – City’

October 10, 2013

Guillaume at Bennelong

by minibites

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

Guillaume at Bennelong on Urbanspoon

August 6, 2013

The Soda Factory

by minibites

The Soda Factory

Pull the handle and walk in with a look of confusion and delight as you’re teleported from a vending machine to a room of naked concrete walls, exposed beams, and mix of vintage knick knacks. It’s Tuesday night at the Soda Factory, which means only one thing… $1 hot dogs, yes, ONE dollar!

It’s packed to the rim with diners sitting on on each corner, edge of space with a beer and hot dog in hand. With our eagle eyes, we eye an table and pounce before the diners have even put on their jackets (I later realised that you can book a spot, which is highly recommended!).

The Soda Factory

The Soda Factory

With beers in tow, the hot favourite is the Buffalo Bill Chicken Dog; a crispy, battered sausage and a mountain of melted cheese. But if you’re a fan of the classic mustard and dog, it’s still on the menu but with an onion ring twist, or if lamb takes your fancy, Bobby’s Bogan Dog topped with mushy, smashed peas.

By the third, yes, the chewing becomes tiresome and it’s a carblicious overload. These are some damn good hot dogs considering they bear the price tag of a dollar, so be prepared for a night of gluttony.

The Soda Factory also runs Movie nights on Mondays, Pulp Fiction Wednesdays and Mad Men Thursdays. You gotta give it to these guys for packing out the bar on a school night.

The Soda Factory
16 Wentworth Ave
Surry Hills, Sydney
www.sodafactory.com.au

The Soda Factory on Urbanspoon

December 23, 2012

Electrolux & Peter Gilmore’s Christmas Masterclass @ Quay

by minibites

Quay & Electrolux masterclass

Christmas is around the corner and there’s no better time to stock up on the stretchy pants, exercising our credit cards and stuffing ourselves silly. I had the pleasure of attending Peter Gilmore’s masterclass with him cooking up a storm for his Christmas lunch twist. Surprisingly it’s so impressive, yet secretly quite simple and adaptable.

Quay & Electrolux masterclass

Electrolux & Peter Gilmore Masterclass

Sourced from WA, marron works perfectly as it’s super fresh, so fresh, it was still jittering in Peter’s hand. The ultimate way is to source the marron live and place it in iced water to “coma-ize” the marron with a quick death by slicing the head off with a sharp knife between the eyes.

Quay & Electrolux masterclass

The marron is no fuss, cooked swiftly with luscious butter and freshly chopped herbs. The entree is served with a colourful assortment of edible flowers. Lobster also works wonders if you’re feeling particularly generous to your guests.

Quay & Electrolux masterclassSteamed fresh water Marron w/ herb butter, aioli, young leaf and flower salad

Quay & Electrolux masterclass

Next up is Peter’s twist on the traditional lunch roast; a juicy roasted rack of Angus beef served with all the trimmings. The meat is seasoned and sealed on the stovetop before throwing it into the oven for just over 2 hours. It’s ready when the centre is at the perfect 60 degrees and don’t forget to rest!

Quay & Electrolux masterclass

Quay & Electrolux masterclass

Peter can barely contain his excitement over the steak and he drizzled a reduced beef jus over the rack before serving. Our trimmings are fresh steamed baby veggies alongside a bubbling potato and truffle gratin. Yes, the freshly shaved truffle and layers of potatoes are a self-indulgent, but hey, it’s Christmas after all!

Quay & Electrolux masterclass

If the beef jus isn’t enough, a béarnaise sauce nicely accompanies the roast meat. Béarnaise sauce is an incredible test of endurance and a labour of love; just remember to whisk, whisk, whisk! It helps to have a friendly hand to help slowly pour in the ingredients while you finish your arm workout.

To save a béarnaise sauce that has spilt, Peter suggests starting with some egg yolks (like you would with a fresh batch) and slowly add the split mixture back.

Quay & Electrolux masterclass

Quay & Electrolux masterclassRoasted rib of prime angus beef served w/ young steamed vegetables, truffle and potato gratin and classic béarnaise sauce

Quay & Electrolux masterclass

With the finale, there’s nothing else but a Christmas pudding inspired dessert. Being an Aussie where our Christmases are filled with heat waves and sunshine, Peter twists the dessert into a Christmas pudding ice cream terrine topped with some delectable caramelised figs.

Electrolux & Peter Gilmore Masterclass

The room is filled with complete sweetness while Peter uses a dry caramelisation technique with the figs. Sugar goes straight into the pan with butter added shortly after. Keeping a keen eye is important to make sure it doesn’t cook for too long as caramalisation can turn awfully bitter.

Electrolux & Peter Gilmore Masterclass

The caramalised figs are removed onto a silcon mat while the terrine is sprinkled generously with raspberries and almonds and our version of snow, icing sugar!

Quay & Electrolux masterclass

The figs are added right before serving. Peter loves using figs as they are in season but also work amazingly well with the caramel as they hold their figure. Other stone fruits; peaches and nectarines could work too but the skin is recommended to be kept on.

Quay & Electrolux masterclass

Quay & Electrolux masterclassChristmas pudding ice cream terrine w/ caramelised fresh figs

Quay & Electrolux masterclass

Tada! And to think that the night will end here at 3 courses… well, we’re greeted to a wonderfully lit Christmas treat of another 5 courses off the al-carte menu, cue the unbuttoning of jeans please!

Quay & Electrolux masterclassSalad of preserved wild cherries, albino, chioggia beetroots, treviso, creme fraiche, black truffle, violets

Quay & Electrolux masterclass
Congee of northern Australian mud crab, fresh palm heart, egg yolk emulsion

Quay & Electrolux masterclass
Smoked and confit pig cheek, shiitake, scallop, jerusalem artichoke leaves, juniper, bay

Quay & Electrolux masterclass
Poached fillet of pasture raised veal, parsnip cream, roasted grains, mushrooms

Quay & Electrolux masterclass
Jersey cream, salted caramel, prunes, walnuts, ethereal sheets

If you wish to give this fantastic menu a go, don’t be shy to email me for the recipes!

Minibites attended the Electrolux masterclass at Quay courtesy of Open Haus.

Quay
Upper level, Overseas Passenger Terminal
The Rocks, Sydney
www.quay.com.au

Quay  on Urbanspoon

October 23, 2012

MoVida Sydney

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Movida

IMG_4148

Stripped back bare to the bone, MoVida Sydney hides in the modern nook of Holt Street. MoVida brings to the table an unexpected twist on tapas styled dining without the need to pack your bags. Yes, Sydney brace yourselves as we finally get a little piece of MoVida love!

MovidaSangria & Croqueta 

Eenie meenie mo, and off we go – there’s no hestiation to kick things off with a few glasses of refreshing sangria. Our first flavourstarter entree are the croquettes, and despite the spicy “sound” of horseradish on the menu, it is in fact a crispy bundle of joy, of smoked eel, potato and horseradish.

MovidaCaldo

Next up are two litle bowls of caldo, a savoury custard with almost a umami flavour of burnt onion and truffle consomme. Truffle doesn’t leave me weak at the knees but this one is dished up quite well.

MovidaPanfried Quail & Black Pudding Terrine

Slowly appreciating the world’s love affair of terrines, I slowly picked at the panfried terrine and taken by surprise. Panfrying definitely helps ease my texture issues of terrine and with an accompanying sweet blackcurrant sauce, it didn’t leave the dish feeling too black pudding-esque.

Movida

MovidaCarrillera

My foodie companion has been on a rave about Pedro Ximenez (I mean, who doesn’t love saying that name?!) so the slow cooked beef cheeks in Pedro were a no brainer. Served with a smooth, yet subtle cauliflower puree, the hearty beef cheek fell apart with the twist of the fork.

MovidaRabbit w/ Spring Vegetables

Along with the extensive menu, there’s quite a few daily specials and since we were going outside of the box, we dived into a colourful dish of rabbit (it’s official dish name escapes me), served with young spring veggies and jus. Keeping the “Bugs Bunny” images out of my mind, I couldn’t help but love the simplicity but flavours in the dish. A fresh welcome to Spring and warmer afternoons (finally!).

Movida

MovidaTarta Santiago

Rubbing our bellies, it was time for the dessert chamber to be opened. A almond fondant with a little oozing surprise definitely hit the spot with a scoop of not-too-sweet fig ice cream.

Movida

Upon first inspection of the menu, the unusual look of anchovies, black pudding, terrines and horseradish can look a little daunting, but lunch was absolutely delicious. Without having the pleasure of dining at the Melbourne MoVidas, this one definitely hits high on my hot-to-go list in Sydney at the moment.

MoVida Sydney
50 Holt St
Surry Hills, Sydney
www.movida.com.au/sydney

MoVida Sydney on Urbanspoon

April 15, 2012

Xanthi Bar & Restaurant

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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