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.

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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

December 23, 2012

Electrolux & Peter Gilmore’s Christmas Masterclass @ Quay

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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

December 3, 2012

Reuben Hills

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Reuben Hills

Cool kicks, yep. Tattoos, yep. Soy chai lattes, nope. If you’re a lover of teas and chai lattes, Reuben Hills isn’t your scene, it’s for the caffeine enthusiasts, or unless a fresh juice or milkshake takes your fancy.

Reuben Hills

Reuben Hills is an industrial inspired coffee roastery, stripped out bare with back to basics enamel tin mugs, mosaic tables, polished cement floors and lit with both sunlight and neon beams. Don’t forget to look up where there is an amazing cut out to peer into the roastery.

Reuben Hills
Double Shot Latte

Reuben Hills
Mint & Lavender Tea

Wishing I practiced what I preach, the mint and lavender tea is sweet smelling, but the taste is definitely much more of the acquired taste. Coffee is clearly king on the table.

Reuben Hills
Berkshire Ham

The Reuben Hills menu has a Latin American flavour with a great mix of brunching and lunching items. Good ol’ sandwich delights are dished up in retro plastic baskets toasted held together with toothpick pickle.

My fav is the berkshire ham sandwiched between toasted rye and juicy with machego and rocket. Toasty and dripping with tomato and red pepper chutney.

Reuben Hills
the NOT reuben

Reuben Hills
Dirty Bird

The others munch on the NOT reuben filled with wagyu salt brisket and the slightly usual suspects of pickled slaw, machego and horseradish. The boys munch on the Dirty Bird; a spiced grilled chicken on fluffy brioche and stacked with plenty of aioli, cheese and pickles.

Reuben HillsGive a Dogg a Bone

Reuben Hills
Doggs Breakfast

The Dirty Birds are on the smaller side for the appetite of hungry boys but only for the better to allow space for sugary delights. A sucker for a ice cream sandwiches, both delights were a hot favourite. Think melting marshmallow fluff, chewy biscuit toasts and incredibly, addictive salty caramel. Both same same but different.

Reuben Hills

A great addition to the alleyways of Surry Hills. Just don’t forget to BYO a bib for dripping burger juices and the extra stomach for dessert.

Reuben Hills
61 Albion St
Surry Hills, Sydney
http://reubenhills.com.au

Reuben Hills on Urbanspoon

October 23, 2012

MoVida Sydney

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Movida

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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

September 21, 2012

Adriano Zumbo’s Raspberry V8 Cake

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Zumbo V8

Yes, it’s a little flamboyant and pink, but with an office full of cake enthusiasts and it’s the big man’s birthday, we couldn’t help but dive into a bit of an indulgence…

Keeping up to the challenge is hard, when the year before the beehive croquembouche was conquered by Dexter-esque stabbing and the year before that was the classic white V8 cake made famous by Masterchef.

Zumbo V8

In its initial appearance, the cake could be any pink and pretty looking cake, but after slicing, the sections reveal beautifully equal layers. Flavour layers of black sesame, raspberry, liquorice, lychee and plenty of rosewater – and works wonderfully textually with layers of gel, crunch, jelly and cream.

While the sugarcoma set, there was a nod in agreeance that this was definitely better than the classic.

Adriano Zumbo Lab
114 Terry St
Rozelle, Sydney

Adriano Zumbo Patisserie on Urbanspoon