Archive for ‘Wine’

March 28, 2012

The Blocks by Penfolds

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The Blocks by Penfolds

The Blocks by Penfolds is pop-up wine bar by the water. Nestled along the pier, the sky high warehouse is filled with art installations, wooden totems and plenty, plenty of wines. The concept of The Blocks is to provide the full experience from smelling totems, eating tasty morsels, subtle music and exploring intriguing art installations.

The Blocks by Penfolds

A glass of vino is in order at the bar before we wander through the five wooden totems… and we do as we’re told; drinking and smelling each one. One smells woody, one smell sweet and fruity while one is complex and requires multiple sniffs to decipher. Luckily, there are sommeliers around who guide us through each totem explaining the story behind each one and its correlating art installation.

The Blocks by Penfolds

In true form, I’m naturally drawn towards the multi-layered oak totem with a wave of fresh and fruity flavours, symbolising the aromatic whites family; your rieslings, sauvignons and pinot gris.  The multi layers represent the high altitudes which these grapes are grown. Gosh, I’d wish all furniture would smell this great!

The Blocks by Penfolds

Five Australian artists were also invited to design pieces for the event, with #3 being one of the hot favourites by Kit Webster. Representing the varietal blends, the blending of the wines; the artist uses the ripples from underneath the pier moulded together by images of grapes. I love #5 so do check that one out, especially the awesome story behind the Russian styled, Kirlian photography and capture of “aura” from vineyards.

The Blocks by Penfolds

It’s not all art, as slowly, the temptation of food baits us towards the back of the warehouse where communal tables are set up and a exquisite menu with matching wines. The creative menu is created by Chef Jock Zonfrillo using locally sourced ingredients, and of course with his repertoire and numerous of awards including winner of Restaurant of the Year (Magill Estate Restaurant, Adelaide) – there’s no denying why the dishes are so delectable.

Without spoiling too much of what’s to come, there’s a sneak peak below…

The Blocks by PenfoldsNative Pepper Crab

The Blocks by PenfoldsWagyu Beef w/ truffle 

The Blocks by PenfoldsPotato & Pork

The inside will be for you to discover! My absolute favourites is the native pepper crab, silky smooth wagyu beef and for dessert, the chocolate, current and myrtle; a perfect sweet end. Only nibble sized, so don’t be alarmed if you’re not satisfied by the end.

The Blocks by Penfolds

The Blocks by Penfolds

The installation has been organised by London based designers Studio Toogood and teamed up with Penfolds Bin & Luxury wines, great local artists and Chef Jock Zonfrilo. Get in quick before this closes as this is one amazing pop-up wine bar.

The Blocks by Penfolds is open 16th March till 5th April 2012. Reservations can be made at http://www.theblockslive.com or on 0407 412 640.

The Blocks by Penfolds
Pier 2/3, 13 Hickson Rd
Walsh Bay, Sydney
www.theblockslive.com

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March 2, 2012

Spice I Am – The Restaurant

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Spice I Am

Spice I Am has been a Christmas tradition with my work girls. Every Christmas we wine and dine at the Darlinghurst restaurant to exchange gifts and as cliche as it sounds, giggle throughout the night sharing the best moments of the year. It’s been three years now without fail. There’s just something special about traditions.

Spice I Am

There’s an off-shoot of this restaurant in Surry Hills but the Darlinghurst one has an amazingly extensive food and cocktail menu. My favourite cocktail is the Tiger Paw with a secret ingredient that binds it altogether. Most of the cocktails on the menu are refreshingly fruity to counteract all the spiciness later on…

Spice I Am Massaman Curry Nua

Spice I Am Gaeng Ped Yang

The curries are without doubt delicious; both creamy and flavoursome. Our favourite is the massaman beef as we dive into the tender pieces beef; a result of patient slow cooking! Another familiar is the roast duck curry with plenty of kicks of kaffir lime leaves and thai basil garnished on top.

Spice I Am Moo Gob Prik Khing

Spice I AmMoo Gob Pik Pao

There’s no holding back with us girls. We love to indulge, and in a bit of pork belly so the next two dishes are naughty as can be – stir fried, super crispy pieces of pork belly with a dash of chili jam or red curry paste and plenty of chillis, green beans, cherry tomatoes and a hint of greens to balance it all.

Spice I Am

If you can handle the heat and spice, this is the perfect place to be (and don’t forget their extensive cocktail list!)

Spice I Am
296-300 Victoria St
Darlinghurst, Sydney
www.spiceiam.com/the-restaurant 

Spice I Am - the Restaurant on Urbanspoon

November 7, 2011

Sugaroom

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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

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

October 13, 2011

Table for 20

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Table for 20

Tucked away behind a roller door is the double treat of Sticky Bar and Table for 20. The door is still unmarked but they are now kind enough to chalkboard the wall. Text to get in, wander past the cooler room, random boxes, motorcycle and windy staircases into the top floor of Sticky, filled with eclectic furniture, gorgeous light features and sinkable couches.

Sticky is still pretty awesome with more seats, a private room and chilled out bartenders. Tell them your choice of liquid courage and they’ll mix you something good.

IMG_0779

Instead of a night of nibbles and cocktails at the bar, we’re in for a dinner treat. Table for 20’s concept is “neighbourhood dining” with shared plates, good ol’ gourmet food, and glasses and glasses of vino.

Table for 20

The mood is intimate, friendly and chatty. The room is buzzing with people meeting and greeting their new neighbours for the night. Our dinner kicks off when our host introduces himself and the menu for the night. It’s a 3 course Italian inspired meal with shared dishes that he would enjoy every night at home. Quality home styled dishes made from fresh, seasonal ingredients.

Table for 20Fresh Pappardelle w/ Mushrooms

Table for 20Pork Chop w/ Tomato Salad & Roasted Potatoes

Our first course is an amazing fresh pappardelle pasta made that very morning; absolutely melt in your mouth and needed nothing really but a light sauce and plenty of mushrooms. I could have left after this and been very satisfied and happy. The roasted pork chop was needless to say, as simple as it can be. Amazingly crusted served with a mixed tomato salad, roasted potatoes and a sweet apple sauce.

Table for 20Flourless Chocolate cake w/ Sour Cherries & Fresh Cream

Bursting at the seams, we top off with an entire flourless chocolate cake served at the table. Thick and moist with hidden contrasting bursts of sour cherries. And wow, what a finish!

The amazing dinners happen every Wed – Saturday night with live music and BYO, but make sure you text 0416 096 916 for a seat.

Table for 20
182 Campbell St
Surry Hills
www.tablefor20.blogspot.com 

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