Posts tagged ‘tapas’

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

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April 24, 2012

PaperPlanes

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Paper Planes

Okay, I admit that I have a little crush on the Barge brothers and the delectable cocktails and dishes they bring to the scene. Teamed up with Phil Capaldi, the boys have a new addition to the family in a hidden, reformed alleyway along Campbell Parade. Walking in, your eyes are casted to the 400 and something skateboard roof, flying origami cranes and an enticing long bar at the back.

Paper Planes

We kick off with some chilled beverages and in true LL Wine & Dine style, there’s an innovative cocktail menu. Tonight I’m on the Tokyo Pop, a fruity mix with a cheeky popping candy rim. The boys are on tap beer, Orion, which is of course Japanese.

Paper Planes

The menu is designed to share and there’s a mix of old and new Japanese. The entrees and mains are a modern take, while the sushi menu keeps it simple but offering good ol’ favourites with a sprinkle of PaperPlanes magic.

Paper PlanesHomemade Pork & Cabbage Gyoza

Paper PlanesSalmon Tartare Nachos

Entrees kick start with dishes of edamame, gyoza and salmon nachoes. The homemade gyoza is limited each week and are served with a chili oil and ponzu mix; the ponzu adding the perfect amount of tartness. Th salmon nachoes are kept cool in a wooden bath of ice and served with crispy prawn crackers.

Paper PlanesSpicy Tuna Makisushi Roll

There’s a selection of sushi and sashimi to choose from; my favourite is the spicy tuna with the refreshing inclusion of apple while the spider roll has a firey kick with hidden fresh wasabi.

Paper PlanesSake Flamed Teriyaki Chicken

Paper PlanesBraised Beef Short Ribs

The mains are hearty and keep us warm from chill and rain – the sake flamed teriyaki chicken is deceptively flavoursome and perfect with a bowl of rice and the sauteed mushroom mix. The braised beef short ribs are perfect for the lazy as they are off the bone swimming in a sauce of yakiniku (sake, mirin, soy) – all balanced with the sourness of pickled vegetables.

Paper Planes
Tokyo POP plant

Paper Planes
The Black Egg

The desserts are adventurous. Our Tokyo POP plant is a lemon cheesecake in disguise, all of which would have been complete if there was a super crumbly biscuit base which we were all digging for! The black egg on the other hand, is delectable. It is a layered “egg” of macadamia nut oil, coconut milk curd and a floating disc of chocolate sauce (there’s not much, so you have to fight for it!).

Paper Planes

Follow the lighting strike and have a cocktail, or two.

PaperPlanes
178 Campbell Parade
Bondi Beach, Sydney
www.paperplanesbondi.com

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June 4, 2011

Borsh Vodka & Tears, Melbourne

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Borsh Vodka & Tears

Borsh Vodka & Tears

I have never been to a bar that has dished up an impressive and extensive cocktail list alongside a whopping vodka menu for shots straight up. Anything that can be thought of, cherry vodka, mint vodka, chili vodka, chocolate vodka… be prepared to be strapped in for some wholesome comfort food and plentiful of shots and alcohol. Inside, we’re shielded from the cold, it’s dimly lit and cosy.

My Russian counterpart is in charge of ordering tonight and begins to order the feast and shots to accompany each course…

Borsh Vodka & TearsZakuski

Zakuski is served first and it is the Russian version of hors d’œuvres with a platter of starters from gypsy ham, warm grilled kranksy, russian potato salad, roast capsicums, beetroots, polish dill cucumbers, picked mushrooms and cubes of goats cheese. All interesting flavours of savouriness and sourness all tickling our tastebuds, downed with a shot of Winter Romance; a sweet cherry vodka delight.

Borsh Vodka & TearsPanfried Uszka

Borsh Vodka & Tears Russian style Chicken Stroganoff

Borsh Vodka & TearsGoulash

Our mains roll around the corner and first are the panfried uszka; traditional Polish meat dumplings and crepes and served with (of course) picked cucumbers and sour cream. I used to think that the Asian dumplings were good, but secretly, the Polish very good at making mouthwatering, tender dumplings.

More comfort food rolls around with a traditional Russian style chicken stroganoff with fresh rye bread on the side. The stroganoff is more watery in texture than usual but don’t let it deceive as it’s flavoursome and hearty. The goulash is equally as good; a lightly spiced beef stew made from coriander and green peppercorns and served with creamy mash potato, sauteed vegetables and a capsicum relish.

This round was topped with the Pole Stiffener shot; a liqueur cherry in cherry and chocolate vodka; and probably my favourite of the night.

Borsh Vodka & Tears Russian Crepes 

For the sweet tooths around the table, there’s not doubt that the Russian crepes is the way to go; filled with warm strawberries and apples and served with cream, raspberry coulis and vanilla ice cream. It’s a nice welcome away from all the meat tonight. And of course after dessert, we topped off with the After Dinner Mint shot; a mix of Van Gogh chocolate vodka and żołądkowa mint vodka.

Borsh Vodka & TearsSomething Wicked Comes This Way & Double Rainbow

Borsh Vodka & Tears

Throughout the night there’s no holding back and we have cocktail after cocktail. The winners on the list are the Espresso Martini; quite self explainatory, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Apple Pie and Menage a Trois.

A honourable mention to the writer of the cocktail menu with wonderful cocktails named “Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries” (quote from Monty Python) and “You’re turning violet, Violet” (quote from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory).

A night here isn’t fully experienced until you’ve had the borsh (soup), plenty of vodka and hangover tears.

Borsh Vodka & Tears
173 Chapel St
Windsor, Melbourne
www.borshvodkaandtears.com.au 

Borsch, Vodka & Tears on Urbanspoon

April 1, 2011

Izakaya Den, Melbourne

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Izakaya Den

Melbourne bars really make you work hard. To earn this feast and Asahi; we persisted through a number of spins, till we landed in front of a set of stairs, a heavy glass door, through a black curtain to lead us to the gorgeous vertical dining room of the Izakaya Den. We take a seat at the bar (and it’s a must) to watch all the Japanese chefs dressed in black and coloured bandanas in action.

Izakaya Den

Unroll the architecture map sized menus and your eyes wander up, down and across the variety of sakes, shochu, wines and beers. An izakaya is a casual bar in Japan with shared bar snacks; all the dishes are categorised as small, hot, cold and chargrill.

Izakaya Den Spicy tuna tataki, garlic soy

Izakaya Den
Sweet corn kaki-age

For entrees, the spicy tuna tataki sitting on a creamy garlic soy fire up our tastebuds. Tataki is type of technique to prepare fish and meats, particularly tuna, that slightly seared. Not a usual tuna fan, but this dish worked really well with the garlic soy to give it a firey kick, and one of the favourites of Izakaya Den. Next are the simple and sweet corn clusters which were amazing. Sweet, crunchy and light.

Izakaya Den AAco’s Wagyu grade 7+ porterhouse

Izakaya Den
Den fried chicken

Izakaya Den

For mains, the wagyu beef is off the char-grill menu, simple and plain, but served with a sweet soy that made all the difference – it adds a sweet touch to a plain steak, Jap style. Not crazy but the den fried chicken certainly is. It may look fried, bubbly and all things oily, but the different herbs and spices used to coat the chicken pieces are delicious. Best downed with half litre of imported premium Asahi.

Izakaya Den Black sesame brulee, orange peel

Izakaya Den Houjicha ice cream

While watching at the bar, my dining companion became fascinated by the Paco Jet machine on the counter. It’s a food processing machine that makes ice cream in a flash. So… dessert with ice cream was a no brainer.

To keep with the Japanese theme, dessert starts with a black sesame brulee with orange peel strings; and it tastes like good ol’ black sesame, and not the artificial kind. The brulee top cracks wonderfully and it’s absolutely addictive. We dig into the houjicha ice cream, an in-house made ice cream using the Paco Jet machine with roasted green tea. The flavours are subtle and so incredibly fresh – no icicles or wateriness.

Izakaya Den is as close as a Tokyo bar can get… including whether you can find it!

Izakaya Den
Basement, 114 Russell St
Melbourne
http://www.izakayaden.com.au

Izakaya Den on Urbanspoon

April 1, 2011

Naked for Satan, Melbourne

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Naked for Satan

Naked for Satan is a fun and quirky concept, where the ceilings are high, all is copper and naked buxom women wallpaper the walls. It’s a buffet styled bar where you pick and choose the pintxos, eat and then count your toothpicks to pay. Pintxos, or pinchos is Spanish for the small bite sized snacks eaten in bars. Pintxos are little delights served on bread with a toothpick pierced through (the literal translation for pincho actually means spike!).

Naked for Satan
Naked for Satan

Naked for Satan

The pintxos include a range from an awesomely grilled capsicum, mushroom and lettuce delight, a seafood and carrot puree sprinkled with flying roe, a pea puree slather with scallop and corn fritter ball on a bed of blue cheese. For more, there’s blue cheese with honey eggplant, red apple and chorizo and, more blue cheese and quince jam pintxos.

So if you’re not a fan of cheese or all things puree’d then sadly no pintxos will be quite satisfying. Most of the menu include char grilled vegetables or a cold meat skewered into a generously cheese’d up slice of amazingly soft baguette. The staff do occasionally walk around with out of the oven platters of pintxos with piping hot fritters.

Naked for Satan

Some of the pintxos were quite experimental and despite being a heavy meat eater, the best pintos of the night were the veggie ones; simple with great flavours – so stick with the garlic mushrooms, char grilled capsicum and smoked salmon with picked onions.

Naked for Satan

Agreed with my fellow foodie; the concept and bar is brilliant, but the food needs a little work. It’s still worth a stopover for a drink or two, a toothpick or two to kick start the night’s festivities. And for a limited time, they’re offering 50c pintxos!

Naked for Satan
285 Brunswick St
Fitzroy, Melbourne
www.nakedforsatan.com.au

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