Sunday, 6 May 2012

La Bodeguita Del Medio, Sydney CBD

When I go to the city on the weekends, I would usually park in front of La Bodeguita Del Medio (LBDM) - and yes, I am super lazy, I drive to the city instead of taking the 20minutes leisurely walk on Pyrmont Bridge.

I suppose I've been intimidated by the bar and night life look of the restaurant, especially for a non-drinker like me :)

An invite from Tony Maia, the manager of LBDM, gave me no excuse to not try the place out :) Thanks Tony...

Please note that the menu may vary since our visit in March. 

Graffiti walls ; Cuban Cigar Menu

Miss ieatsweet and I went there on a weekday and quite early, so the place was quite empty, but by the time we left the place was buzzing despite being a weeknight !

The restaurant was filled with dark wooden furniture, several cozy leather lined booths for more privacy.
The atmosphere was warm and cozy with very little lighting (which is no fun for us bloggers).

Naturally you can also get Cuban cigars in a Cuban restaurant and bar - there is even a cigar menu for your perusal on your table. 

"Home of $10 Mojito"

As endorsed by Mr. Hemingway himself, a Mojito was definitely in order !

Nojito  $6.50  & Mojito  $10.00

The Mojito was generously sized , a blend of Havana Club Rum, muddled with fresh mint, lime, soda and sugar is always a crowd pleaser.
I am so glad they do an alcohol free version here, aptly named Nojito hehehehehe....
All the fresh flavour without the allergy to follow the next day, woo hoo !!

Panceta de Cerdo  $17.00
42 hours pork belly, compressed watermelon & white balsamic espuma

Pork belly is so irresistable, so of course we had to had it for one of the Entradas that night.
A square of pork belly, served with nicely cubed watermelon and the "blink and you'll miss it" white balsamic espuma that dissipates into clear liquid within minutes T__T.

Slow cooked pork belly

Being slow cooked for 48hours, there was no surprise that the meat was very tender but a shame that the skin was quite chewy and tough :( 

Taquitos  $16.00
green tomatillos, bell peppers & mantecoso cheese

Now these babies were DELICIOUS !!!
Doesn't look much I know, not until you bite into the super crispy taco shells and you are hit with a mix of flavours. The tangy green tomatillos, sweet peppers and the meaty mantecoso cheese drizzled with spicy mayo cheesy dressing. 
Each taquito were decently portioned too, the crispy cup was quite deep and filled to the brim with the goodies - we would have ordered another plate of this if we didn't have to spare room for more foods to come. 

Beef Tenderloin Special  $29.00
sweet glazed tenderloin, fried plantain, watermelon salsa & chimichurri

For mains, we ordered the special of the day as recommended by the waitress. 
The beef was super tender and has a lovely caramelized flavour from the glaze. 
After having a few plantain dishes, I'm still a bit undecided whether I love it or I don't - it looked like a banana but taste nothing like it, taste more like a casava but not quite casava.
Plantain is one interesting food :)
Also loved the sweet and juicy watermelon salsa and zingy chimichurri condiments. 

Pato con Chocolate  $36.00
duck breast, confit leg, sweet potato puree & chocolate sauce

The idea of chocolate sauce with duck pique our interest, but unfortunately it was nothing extra ordinary with this dish.
The duck was nicely cooked and tender, and the chocolate sauce just had a slight nutty flavour to it.
Believe it or not, the highlight in this dish was the sweet potato puree was so well made that it shines through the duck ! 

Ensalada de Quinoa y Nopales  $9.00
quinoa, cactus salad & pico de gallo

We ordered this side dish obviously because of the cactus in it :)
The pickled cactus taste similar to pickles, and my guess is that the quinoa was dressed with the pickling juice, as it was one very sour side dish.

My kind of drinks menu :)

Mary Pickford  $15.00  & Rum Daisy  $17.00

We ordered another round of drinks as I'm a bit excited with LBDM's mocktail menu :P
I actually ordered Mary Pickfair (the alcohol free sister of Mary Pickford) but I got given the alcoholic sister instead 0_0;

Already suspicious that there was alcohol in my "Mary Pickfair", I asked ieatsweet to have a sip and see if she can taste it too.
Lesson of the night : DO NOT ask an alcoholic (well at least this alcoholic) to taste as they cannot tell the difference.
She assured me there was NO alcohol in the drink. 

You can guess what happened the rest of the night - I was drunk by the end of the dinner, ieatsweet had to drive home and I got my lovely allergic rash for the next 5 days. 
If I was a queen in the olden days and ieatsweet is my food taster I would probably be dead on my first meal LOL

Let's come back to the drinks - before being drunk I can still recall that both Mary Pickford and Rum Daisy tasted delicous. 

Sweet Spring  $15.00
rose cake, violet marshmallow, cherry sorbet

It took us a long time to decide which dessert to order as they all sounded delicious.
After much deliberation, we ordered something light and something rich from the menu - balance :).

Sweet Spring turns out to be a plate of floral flavours that were quite dizzying.
The steamed rose cake was spongy and light, the violet marshmallow that tasted like perfumed soap, and I'm not usually a fan of cherry flavoured things, but the cherry sorbet was delicious. 

Alfajor  $15.00
dulce de leche, condensed milk, caramelized banana

As we couldn't decide which of the richer dessert to order, our waitress recommended the Alfajor as it is her favourite and it's a must try item on the menu. 
Couldn't agree more with her - the Alfajor was delicious !!!
The pudding like dulce de leche, the creamy condensed milk semifreddo, crunchy buttery crumbed biscuit and a row of thinly sliced caramelized banana - best combo ever !!
It is a very rich and decadent dessert though, so best to share :)

So what do we think of Cuban food ? We LIKED !

There were a few misses, but there are so many other things on the menu we are yet to try, one thing we would definitely order again is the Taquitos (please stay on the menu...please....).

The service was friendly and attentive - a special mention to one of the waiter that noticed our table was wobbling after a few other waiter / waitress didn't took notice of it.
He quickly find a piece of paper and fix the wobbling table - THANK YOU !

La Bodeguita de Medio is centrally located in the CBD, a perfect location for end of long work day wind down , enjoying a Mojito (or two) and a perfect place to hang out and catch up with friends.

Love My Foods & Sugar and guest dined courtesy of Tony Maia & La Bodeguita del Medio.

La Bodeguita del Medio on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Food Society, Darlinghurst

There are so many new eateries popping up lately that I lost track of what is new and what is worth visiting. 
Food Society was one that has been on my radar but just haven't gotten round to pay a visit. 
So when browsing the net on where to go for  lifeis2mu(n)ch belated birthday / graduation celebration, I came across an offer at Ouffer for Food Society - $49 / 2ppl for shared 3 course dinner + a shot of vodka each (bargain !!)

Food Society began as a catering company and then they decided to open up a restaurant in the backstreet of Darlinghurst, offering modern Eastern European cuisine whilst still stay true to the tradition. 

The restaurant itself was very welcoming and warm as we walked in , love the odd pieces of furnitures and sort of antique decors. 

Semolina Bread Sticks & Pickled Cucumbers

As we had already mention that we will be using the Ouffer vouchers that night, the special set menu for the night was already on the table so all we have to do was sit back and wait for the foods hehehehe...
Not long after we sat, a jar of crispy semolina bread sticks and pickled cucumber were brought over for us to nibble on.
Liked the bread sticks as it has that gritty texture of semolina, the cucumber was pickled with dill and what I think is mustard seeds ?

The Apple Thief's Pink Lady Apple Cider  $8.00

For drinks, 2 of us chose a pink lady apple cider which was so delicious !! It is a little bit sweeter than your normal apple cider but it just tasted better than normal apple cider.
This is one of those time where I really hate my alcohol allergy T____T  I can only drink one bottle and it has to be spread out over dinner (or I'm dead).

Spiced Apple Pie $15.00

The other 2 of our 4 ppl dining crew ordered Spiced Apple Pie, a signature cocktail of Food Society. Zubrowka bison grass vodka, house infused apple juice, cinnamon, star anise & lemon zest shaken over ice.
Had a sip and it does tasted like apple pie, but surprisingly the alcohol is not that strong at all, pretty mild. 

Food Society Bar

Now that we are slightly sedated with the alcohol, let the feast begin !
(Note : thought it may be handy to put prices of each dishes as you would have to pay when you are not dining on deal vouchers - prices are in brackets to distinguish them )

Beetroot & Vodka Cured Ocean Trout Blini, Dill Cream ($4.00 each)

First up from the appetizer line up was a bite size cured ocean trout blini with dill cream.
It just tasted like any other cured ocean trout despite being cured in beetroot and vodka, couldn't taste any of the 2. 

Fried Cauliflower w/ Paprika, Parsley, Water Cress & Red Wine Vinegar ($10.00) - Serves 2 

This humble fried cauliflower dish would have to be the highlight of the night for me.
Chunky cauliflower florets with spiced batter, deep fried to golden perfection was just sooo good....
The crispy cauliflower, the tangy red wine vinegar and the slightly bitter water cress was just such great combo....

X - section of a floret

Chicken Liver Parfait w/ Onion Jam & Toasted Breads  ($18.00) - Serves 4

A pot of creamy chicken liver parfait sealed with a thin layer of fat served with a constructively sound stack of chargrilled gluten free bread, plus condiments of onion jam and pickled cucumber. 

Chargrilled Gluten Free Bread ; Fully Assembled 

The gluten free bread had a funny texture, it's sort of cakey and soft which was interesting.
Doesn't mean it doesn't taste nice, on the contrary it tasted pretty good.
The pate was lovely, but I need to top it up with a decent amount of the sweet onion jam to mask the liver flavour (not a big fan of liver :P).

Daily Artisan Bread $2.50

There was plenty of pate in the jar but not enough bread to go with them, so we asked for more bread and more onion jam.
We were actually quite surprised we got charged extra for the bread and jam (which was around $3 - $5 ?), I think we are under the assumption that we can get extra bread if need be like in other places. I mean , you can't just eat a pate on its own and there was a good half jar left too. 

Moving on to the more substantial dishes ......

Lamb Ribs w/ Slice Potatoes, Tomato, Eggplant & Rosemary  ($ ?? ) - Serves 2

Oh dear lamb...why are you a popular choice on a set menu / degustation menu ? T___T
Had a small bite of the rack...and thought that the lamb taste was too strong, so just started digging into the vegetables underneath it.
Then I thought to give it another go and I'm glad I did ! The lamb ribs was sooo tender that a slight nudge with the knife and the meat will just flake apart.
The lamb taste was still strong, however the delicious baked potato, tomato and eggplant helps to mask the flavour. 

Chicken Breast w/ Potato Dumplings, Mushroom & Paprika ($25.00)
Side of Iceberg Lettuce, Red Onion & Cucumber Salad ($6.00)
Serves 2

After the lamb we were already so full...and then...the chicken dishes came out.....they really are very generous with portion sizes here.
The chicken breast was sooo moist and tender, a little bit bland perhaps but the rich sauces just balanced things out nicely. 
Love potato dumplings and the one here were good, not too stodgy , just right. 

The iceberg lettuce salad was perhaps not an easy one to tackle - seems like it was prepared by simply quartering a head of lettuce, plonk it into a bowl and voila.
We joked at the table that perhaps we should eat the chicken and lettuce ala sang choy bow  LOL

Zoladkowa Orange & Clove Vodka  ($9.00 each)

As part of the deal, we got a vodka shot each before dessert - I think you get a random one as it is not specified on the voucher. Tonight we got the Polish Zoladkowa vodka flavoured with orange and clove, it was deliciously sweet with just a very slight hint of clove.
This was my first ever vodka shot and I vow NEVER to down one again.
Within 10minutes I made acquaintance with the wooden seat toilet - at least the toilet was super clean and pretty. 
Needless to say, I was pretty useless for the rest of the night....couldn't even polish off the dessert !!

Society Signature Pashka w/ Strawberry Compote ($10.00) - Serves 2

Inspired by the traditional Russian dessert served during Easter was Food Society's Pashka, a baked ricotta cheesecake with strawberry compote and broken pieces of shortbread served on a wooden board. 
I agree with other bloggers who had been to this place that this dessert is not sweet at all. But thankfully helped by the compote and the icing sugar.
Liked the extra crunch from slivered almond in the cheesecake, without the texture it would be just a mush of baked ricotta. 

Jar of Bill

The verdict ?
The foods here are no doubt delicious, still quite traditional with a little bit a of twist. Not to mention the generous portion size, definitely food to share.
The atmosphere was great, there was live music playing as the night goes on...a lovely place to hang out with friends over a nice meal. 

The let down was the service, the waitress who attended our table that night probably wished she was somewhere else on Sunday night.
When we asked her for something it was as though we have disrupted her from an important mission, no smile and was abrupt.
Which was such a shame as the other 2 waiters that served us occasionally were friendly and accommodating. 

Food Society on Urbanspoon