Posts tagged ‘pork belly’

April 29, 2012

El Capo

by minibites

El Capo

If you want a place with attitude, this is your place. Straight up. Welcome to El Capo, “a good place for bad people”, dishing up Latin American soul food from grits, ceviche to pork belly and donuts.

El Capo
Pine tables, mismatching school chairs, a nasty portrait of an angry chicken sprawled on the wall and stacks of dollar bills as stools. You can’t get any more “I’m top boss” than that.

El Capo

The menu’s great for sharing or if you’re selfish enough to devour whole dishes to yourself. There’s a mix of entrees, mains and a handful of desserts to get you on your merry way. It is Latin American food, so if you’re not a spice fan, I’d order a round of old school Coca Colas right up.

El Capo
Guacamole

First up is the guacamole, and at first you’ll be like “yeah, okay” but once you dip their huge corn chips with the biggest scoop of guac you can get, you’ll realise your mouth is raving with flavours. I can easily say hands down that this is the best guacamole I’ve ever had.

El CapoColombian Empandadas

El Capo
Sticky Pork Belly

Another round of entrees circulate the table with everyone biting into the empandadas, pipping hot beef parcels with a side of salsa. The pork belly fans at the table suddenly have a sparkle in their eye when the strips of sticky pork belly arrive – they’re tender with a slight glaze of chipotle and cola sticky sauce. Sharing is the way to go with this cheeky fella.

El Capo
Arroz Con Pollo

The mains are of a more substantial size for sharing. I smell an amazing aroma of spices, and I turn to see the spicy caribbean chicken rice. Subtle flavours, but absolutely amazing with the guac, so save a bit to have with this one. It’s like devouring a naked burrito.

El CapoTwice Cooked Duck with Pasilla Sauce

The duck had the troops divided; some loved and some weren’t so impressed. I enjoyed the flavours of the duck carnitas (little meats) and duck leg but the duck breast didn’t hit the mark with me, as well as the tortillas, which were too thick and dry to roll up.

El Capo
Encocado De Pescado

On the contrary, the fish curry was delicious. With a neutral slice of fish, the curry was perfect as it was a good balance of spicy, sweet and sour exploring a mix of flavours which I’m not usually familiar with together.

El Capo
Chocolate Tart

It’s lunch, but you still have to end of a sweet note… The chocolate tart is deceiving. Albeit looking like just chocolate ganache tart, the guilty tart has subtle hints of passionfruit and a super crumbly base which everyone loves.

El CapoDoughnuts w/ Cream and Rum Syrup

Doughnuts seemed like an incredibly naughty choice but none of us could say no. We all turned into Homer Simpson drooling over the plate of pipping hot, house made doughnuts soaking in a rum syrup. Super fluffy inside with the perfect cinnamon crust on the outside. A definite must!

El Capo

Winter’s coming and the comfort of El Capo’s style is worth a drive by.

El Capo is now closed.

El Capo
52 Waterloo St
Surry Hills, Sydney
www.elcapo.com.au

El Capo on Urbanspoon

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February 19, 2012

Kitchen by Mike

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Kitchen by Mike
Gotta love a little lunchtime adventure to keep me on my toes at work. Kitchen by Mike is the restaurant running inside the enormous Koskela warehouse. Gorgeous rustic and filled with natural light, the Koskela warehouse delivers the most beautiful and very unique pieces of Australian made furniture.

Kitchen by Mike

Kitchen by Mike

Kitchen by Mike

Kitchen by Mike

After our ooohs and aaahs at the furniture, my belly was calling. Kitchen by Mike’s set up is a “canteen” concept – where you pick the dishes of the day and are charged by the scoop. For those who are mathematically challenged and if you eat with their eyes; a meal here can prove to be quite dear. Hopefully the concept will be refined, as I can’t imagine what the service is like when it’s busy!

Kitchen by Mike

Kitchen by Mike

We opted to share an assortment of dishes that change on a daily basis (check their Facebook for menu updates); kicking off with homemade woodfired sourdough breads served with Pepe Saya butter.

Kitchen by Mike

Kitchen by Mike

My favourite goes out to the humble pork belly; succulent and actually not too naughty when you team it up with some fresh salad friends. Tiny little currant grapes, fennel, walnuts and rocket salad and a peach, radiccho and mozzarella salad. Delish.

Kitchen by Mike

Spend an afternoon around amazing pieces of furniture and don’t forget the fresh delectables at the cafe.

Kitchen by Mike
85 Dunning Ave
Rosebery, Sydney
www.facebook.com/kitchenbymike

Koskela
85 Dunning Ave
Rosebery, Sydney
www.koskela.com.au 

Kitchen By Mike 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

May 9, 2011

The Villager Hotel, Brisbane

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The Villager

The Villager

In my 36 hour visit to Brisbane, I experienced their highs; gorgeous sunny and blue skies, a warm balmy Autumn night through to their lows; flash flooding and severe thunderstorms. It was all work and little play, but we did manage to sneak a delicious dinner at The Villager Hotel dishing up gastropub styled food. Gastropub food is simply a term coined from England where two pub owners decided to up the playing field of pub food.

The streets of Brisbane were empty (it was Labour Day so it was assumed everyone had already drank the day away) and we were struggling to find something, anything open! The gorgeous high ceiling, dim lighting, exposed brick walls and wooden floors lured us inside.

The Villager

The Villager
“Bacon and Egg”

The Villager
Confit Pork Belly

The chefs at The Villager Hotel haven’t held back and it shows on their menu. For shared entrees, we try their twist on Bacon & Egg and a confit pork belly. An oozing sous vide egg hugs a long piece of jamon, a Spanish type of cured ham – all topped with crispy bread crumbs and truffle mayo. Amazing, amazing textures. The confit pork belly was a little on the tougher side, but crispy indeed – each topped with an sweet orange gel.

The Villager
Duck Breast

Our shared main is a sous vide duck breast on a bed of potato mash and creamed corn. Duck was never my protein of choice, mainly because as a child, I had too many roast ducks that hung from the BBQ shops of Chinatown; that were overcooked, oily and intensely fatty. This was cooked perfectly – succulent and tender with the crispy skin. Mmmm… not to mention, the simplicity of the jus, silky potato mash and sweet creamed corn. Double mmm…

The Villager
Passionfruit Creme Brulee

The Villager
Eton’s Mess

To end, we devour a double dessert delight; my foodie companion’s choice, a passionfruit creme brulee with brandy snap to match her sour preference, and for me, Eton’s Mess. We glee at delight when the creme brulee has a strong solid crack. It’s a mix of sweet and sour with a warm, sugary brandy snap.

Eton’s Mess is an interesting twist, traditionally a mess of meringue, cream and berries. This dish was more of a sophiscated mess; with sour strawberry jellies, sweet strawberries and jam, vanilla bean cream and all topped with meringue sticks. Delish!

The Villager

It’s a double win when you’re able to sit in a chilled out bar with the option of sous vide duck breast, creme brulee and cocktails instead of wedges with sweet chilli sauce.

The Villager Hotel
185 George St, Brisbane
www.thevillager.com.au

The Villager on Urbanspoon

March 23, 2011

March into Merivale’s Abracadabra Lunch by Dan Hong

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Abracadabra! Dan Hong kicks start my Saturday morning with a 5 course lunch degustation for his contribution to March in Merivale. Lotus was decked out with card houses, silver stars, magic wands and rabbits in hats. Also complete with quick hands magician, Liam Power who wows and woos the crowd. He came around table by table showing us card tricks and coin tricks. So amazed. I think I still am.

Belverdere Flaming Moe

To kick start the lunch, it’s a liquid meal called the Flaming Moe, Belverdere grapefruit vodka shaken with nashi pear and Cinzano Bianco; an Italian brand of vermouth, of the sweeter kind. We’re wow’d because the waiter brings you a cocktail on arrival and the garnish is a flaming orange peel. In a poof of smoke, the peel disappears… into thin air. And all you smell is the amazing citrus aftermath. And still wondering where it’d all go.

Sashimi of sea scallops, foie gras, avruga, hazelnut oil

First up was were sashimi of sea scallops topped with foie gras, avruga caviar and surrounded by hazelnut oil. I’ve never dared to try raw sea scallops so I admit that I was slightly unsure by how I’d react. But with a complete bite with everything, it works. The simplicity and rawness of the scallops was balanced with the pungent foie gras, bursts of avruga (a caviar made from herring), sweet hazelnut oil and the crunchiness of the apple. A very interesting opening dish.

Spanner crab, dashi custard, asparagus, ginger consomme

Moving along was my favourite dish of the afternoon, as well as my fellow foodie companions’ pick. It had an amazing mix of flavours; a wobbly dashi custard topped with slices of spanner crab, sprinkled asparagus and spring onions sitting in a ginger consomme. The ginger consomme was subtle enough to mix well with the dashi custard. Delicious!

Pork belly, almond gazpacho, watermelon, chicharron

And it seems that no degustation is fulfilled without a pork belly dish. Dan Hong serves up crispy, caramelised pork belly that sits on cold almond gazpacho and watermelon spheres topped with crispy chicharron, made from pig’s skin that is dried, fried and puffed. Not a huge fan of chicharron, but definitely adds an interesting texture.

Rangers Valley wagyu, spiced beetroot & white fungi

The last of the savouries was a generous portion of seared wagyu beef with wedges of spiced beetroot, beetroot puree and white fungi. White fungi isn’t commonly used in Western dishes, but definitely seen in the sweeter Asian dishes. I particularly enjoyed how instead of a potato mash, this was served with good ol’ bright red beets and a contrast of white fungi.

Lime creme, chocolate & vanilla meringue, coconut sorbet

Dessert rolled along and presented in a gorgeous arch of textures, flavours and surprises. There was a fluorescent lime creme base with light chocolate and vanilla meringue pieces, crunchy cookie crumble, a scoop of super cold coconut sorbet and hidden amongst it all… popping candy! The end of our lunchtime conversations were interrupted by random burst of crackles and pops.

Petit fours

And just before we left, some complementary petit fours; wobbly peach jelly cubes, very moist chocolate brownie triangles and fluffy cloud tasting tonka bean marshmallow cubes. Tada!

Most of these dishes are on the daily Lotus menu, so it’s not too late to go and have a taste.

Abracadabra event was apart of March into Merivale 2011.

Lotus
22 Challis Ave
Potts Point, Sydney
www.merivale.com/#/lotus/lotus

Lotus on Urbanspoon