Monday, 28 June 2010

La Renaissance Patisserie Francaise, The Rocks

I shouldn't have asked where to meet up with this particular friend of mine. Without fail, every single time, it would be at Le Renaissance Cafe @ The Rocks -___-
She is hooked on their cheese sticks for some reason....

Anywho, it appears that they have more variety of cakes on offer ever since Baroque Bistro Patisserie has opened nearby. Perhaps bigger kitchen space allows them to create more in one go.
I for one is not complaining because now I can try more cakes when I have another catch up with my friend :P

Fleur de Lys

I got this not because it's all chocolate, but because of the name :P
I like anything with fleur de lys , be it the symbol itself or just the name ehhehehehe...
It's a chocoholic dream made from Valrhona Grand Cru Guanaja, a 70% cacao dark chocolate.
I forgot to take the cross section shot of it, if I remembered it correctly, it was a mousse cake with a thin layer of chocolate genoise sponge at the bottom - like I said, chocoholic heaven LOL


My friend picked these, the Blackcurrant macaron, Pistachio & Sour Cherry macaron and Strawberry & Vanilla Macaron.

A perfect end to a lovely afternoon spent with some friends ^_^

La Renaissance Cafe Patisserie on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Sushi-e ~ Merivale Feast for The Senses, Sydney CBD

Tonight our Feast of The Senses destination is Sushi - e @ Establishment.
Heard so much rave review about this japanese eatery so this is a great opportunity to see if it is really that good.


Sushi-e is located on the same level as the Hemmesphere lounge, pretty much side by side.
Although we made the booking for Sushi-e, we were seated in the Hemmesphere area on the plush sofas.
Good and bad about that : we got to dine sitting on comfy sofas but the lighting is much darker than in Sushi-e T___T

Hemmesphere Chandeliers

I've just got my hand on the Canon S90, apparently it's the best compact digicam to take photos in very low light condition, so tonight I left my jumbo camera at home and just bring this more compact one.
Although it does take better pictures in low light than my previous compact , still found it quite grainy.
Another leason learned....jumbo camera still the best at places with romantic lighting :P
Not quite discreet but takes less grainy shots.

Knowing that the portions will be small here, I opted for the 3 course options while the others stay with the 2 courses.

Complimentary Miso Soup

The miso soup is a tad different, it doesn't have a strong miso taste, and they used mitsuba (Japanese wild parsley) and abura-age (deep fried thin slices of tofu). I thought I tasted sansho (Japanese szechuan pepper) as well, could be wrong...but the smell is quite similar.

This time round, we managed to order everything on the entree options :

Soba Noodles with Roast Chicken Salad

My friend who couldn't eat raw fishes had this. It looked just like any normal soba chicken salad to me, not sure what it tasted like.

New Style Salmon Sashimi w/ Ponzu Dressing

I had a suspicion earlier that the "new style" would be similar to carpaccio, and I was correct :D
The sashimi is fresh and silky and the ponzu dressing is amazing !!
I was drowning each slice of the sashimi with the dressing to lap it all up.....I want more !

Spicy Scallop Sashimi Salad w/ Thai Style Dressing

Reading my friend's reaction after eating this, I think this was the winner of the 3 entrees.
The scallop was sweet and fresh, the dressing works really well with the raw scallop.
She was eating this oh so very slowly to savour each bite...LOL

Since I'm the only one who had an extra course, they serve it in between.
So I have to scoff it down very quickly since I know they won't bring out the other courses until I polish off my plate ( my friends are telling me to eat QUICK as they cannot wait any longer to get their mains LOL)

Hemmesphere Roll  Establishment Roll

I ordered the Hemmesphere Roll (salmon, avocado, baby capers, mixed cress, jalapeno mayo & spanish onions ) from the special menu. 
I don't know how I end up with an Establishment Roll ! 0_o 
As I was eating it, it did tasted wrong, but I never crossed my mind that they could possibly gave me the wrong one.
It's not until I got home and check the menu online that I know why it tasted odd.

My guess is that the girl who took our order key in the wrong thing as she didn't even write down what we ordered.
I'm surprised that a fine establishment like this could get orders wrong.
So not only I didn't get what I ordered, the roll itself was quite dissapointing. It's just like any other tuna, avocado, cucumber and mayo roll, nothing special. To make it worse, the rice was bland and mushy, soo wronggg !

Thankfully, after the very disappointing sushi roll, the mains made up for it.

Angus Striploin w/ Miso & Sesame

The beef was very tender and juicy, perfectly matched with the miso sesame dressing. 
It was cooked perfectly, still a little bit pink in the middle :)

Grilled Miso Cod w/ Baby Ginger Root Pickled Daikon

The cod was soft and creamy as I expected, it was delicious !!
Missing the baby ginger root though, and it was replaced with some pickled daikon on the side.

Complimentary White Russian

It's a small tall glass of vanilla pannacotta topped with raspberry coulis. It has more of a thickened cream consistency than a pannacotta, but nonetheless it was very good and a perfect end to a lovely dinner (minus the sushi roll :P)

Hemmesphere Lounge Area

Feast for The Senses window display @ Establishment

Sushi E on Urbanspoon

Friday, 25 June 2010

The Dynasty, Belmore

For some reason, my birthday friend chose this place that is so far away from where all of us lived -___-;
Not surprising we got a little lost getting there as none of us in our car has been to this side of town before.

Sign in for yum cha

The Canterbury RSL Club is an amazing place ! It has a tropical feel to it, the water fountains, the palm trees and the wooden engraving around the perimeter.
It felt like we are in Bali or something hahahahaah....
I couldn't believe I forgot to take photo of any of it !!

As we entered the club, we were approached by the club guide and he asked whether we are a member or guest.
Me : "Guest :)"
Club guy : " Where do you live?"
Me : *panic* "Err...Pyrmont ?"
Club guy : "Please sign in on the book"

Club guy...please don't freak me out like that...why can't you just tell us to sign in straight away ?!?!

After that stressing short episode, I need to replenish my energy :D

Dumplings Galore

The usual siu mai (pork & prawn mince, shiitake, fish roe), gau choi gau (shrimp & chive), har gau (shrimp), and the last idea what is the name, but it's a combination of chicken, prawn and topped with sweet corn kernels.

The Miscellaneous

What we have leong (deep fried chinese doughnut wrapped in rice noodle), char siu bao (bbq pork buns), phai kuat (pork ribs), pan fried pork dumplings.

The Sweet Stuffs

Jin deui (deep fried glutinous sesame balls), custard buns, mango pudding with heaps of evaporated milk, and my must have tou fu fa (bean curd with syrup).
The tou fu fa here is especially bigger than usual....probably at least half size bigger than the usual size we have other yum cha places.

The yum cha was delicious, but I think I'll stick to my local ones like Zilver or East Ocean for yum cha :P

The Dynasty on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Buffet Brekkie @ Botanica Brasserie, Sheraton on The Park, Sydney CBD

The much needed dose of caffeine 

Another birthday celebration, this time for my younger brother whose birthday is only 5 days apart from mine :)
The family get together for a very early breakfast at the hotel since we cannot book a table and there are 9 of us.

The selection is not that much really, you got the usual egg station where eggs are cooked to your liking, the usual sausage, bacon, etc...
There is the odd chicken wings and stir fried noodles though :P
One thing I like about this place is the fresh honeycomb slab that you can just scrape the honey off...mmmmm...

Didn't ate too much this time since I got another birthday lunch to go to straight after the buffet breakfast *rub tummy*

Plate Number 1 - The Savoury

Plate Number 2 - The Sweets

Fresh honeycomb ! 

Plate Number 3 - The Healthy

My brother's not so healthy plate - he ate 2 plates like this *ughh*

Berry Yoghurt with Mixed Fruits & Nuts 

Botanica Brasserie on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Adriano Zumbo Winter 2010 Collection, Balmain

A quick stop by to Adriano Zumbo's Pattiserrie to pick up a few of the Winter 2010 Collection goodies :)
Although they still looked amazing as all other Zumbo's creations are, but I found that the flavours does not have the "wow" factor like the previous collections. 

On another note, just saw an update on their website that their current Cafe Chocolat in Balmain is closing on the 5th July and a new cafe will re-open soon in Rozelle.
Hopefully it's a bigger cafe ! ^_^

Almond creme, pear vanilla creme patisserie, pate a choux sable, pear gel, almond crunch & almond struesel

Ginger beer gel, ginger pudding soaked in coconut syrup, chocolate ginger foam eggs, ginger crunch, ginger chantilly & passionfruit bavarois

Biscuit macaron, rose creme brulee, mandarin curd, mandarin creme legere 

Adriano Zumbo Patiserrie
296 Darling Street
Balmain, NSW 2040
Ph : (02) 9810 7318

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Gumshara & Crepe-Ya San, Chinatown

Tonkotsu Ramen with Pork Ribs & Extra Soft Boiled Egg

After reading Grab Your Forks and A Table For Two's twitter updates....I cannot delay a visit to Gumshara any longer !!
So one friday night after work, arranged to meet up with a couple of friends at the Eating World foodcourt in Chinatown.

We were praying that we can still get the special 20 bowls only Tonkotsu Ramen with Pork Ribs *mumble*mumble*
Our prayers are answered !! All 3 of us managed to get a bowl each of the specials \^o^/
Can't resist adding the extra soft boiled egg too on the side.

At Gumshara, you can request your soup to be more or less thick, more or less salty as well.
I had mine to be less thick and I'm glad I did, otherwise I won't be able to eat it as it would be too rich and creamy for me.
My friends on the other hand, had the tonkotsu as is, I had a taste of their soup and I'm sticking with my thinner version ^_^

At the counter, there is a few containers of  beni shoga - red pickled ginger , pickled garlic and sesame seed that you can topped your ramen with.  I topped mine with heaps of beni shoga to balance out the richness of the soup.

And the verdict ? Is this the best Tonkotsu Ramen in Sydney ?


It sure is !!!! I have never cleaned up a bowl of ramen like this, so that is proof that it is indeed very good.
The pork ribs is very very good, tender and is fried crispy on the outside. I wish they don't serve it with the bone though, because I was eating it with great difficulty.
Between trying to hold it with chopsticks, avoiding it falling into the soup from a great height, and gnawing the meat off the bone -___-;
It was tough job indeed, when I lift up my head from the bowl, the girl sitting across on the other table is staring at me LOL
I'm pretty sure I was gnawing at the ribs like a cave woman ROFL 
My friends were lucky, their ribs has no bone on it, so they can eat like a girl like I should be !!

Since it was Friday night, the Chinatown Night Market is on as well - DANGER DANGER !!!
Because... I spotted this on the way to the food court 

Japanese Crepes !!

Japanese crepes in chinatown ?!! Wotttt !!
So even though my tummy is bursting after the matter what I must have a crepe ! I'll just allocate it to my secondary (imaginary) dessert dedicated stomach..

Crepe-Ya San Japanese Crepes

It's the same stall that sells the Hontou pancakes, next to the stall that sells Colotako Takoyaki & Okonomiyaki.  The Japanese corner as I named it , hehehee :P

I ordered the Mix Fruit Crepe with Green Tea Ice Cream and Chocolate Sauce.
They have 3 choices of ice cream : green tea, vanilla and strawberry , and also 3 choices of sauces : chocolate, strawberry and mango.

Crepes in the making

While I waited for my crepe, my friend couldn't resist the hontou pancake anymore LOL

Cheese Hontou Pancake

Number 10 !!

That's my number !!

Crepe crepe crepe !!

I should have asked it to be on a plate instead of a cone like this for a couple of reason.
Reason 1 : It's ugly - if on a plate, they would plate it like it is on the plastic sample on displays.
Reason 2 : It's messy, the paper is not the proper crepe paper so it was soaked with sauces and ice cream within 2 minutes ! 
Lucky I got my Keep Cup handy in my bag so I can plonked it in to avoid the imminent disaster.
It may not be as nice as the one in Japan , but it is enough to satisfy my crepe addiction ^_^

Conclusion, Gumshara tonkotsu ramen is the best in Sydney, but perhaps best not to go there on Friday night when the market is on or risk to over eat as there are so many temptations along the way.

Gumshara Ramen on Urbanspoon

Crepe-Ya San Japanese Crepes
Chinatown Friday Night Market
(Hontou Pancakes Stall, next to Colotako)

Monday, 21 June 2010

Stanley Street Station, East Sydney

Yet once again, planned to go to The Commons for dinner end up somewhere else !
Am I not meant to go to The Commons or what ?  Conspiracy !! LOL

So we end up at Stanley Street Station in East Sydney, just a block or two up the road from The Commons.
I sort of glad we end up here as I have "researched" their menu online and know that they have the Vivid Sydney special menu during the festival *note : ended on 21 June* :D

For lunch and early dinner, Mon - Fri, they offer a range of very reasonably priced meals. 
Look at that...1kg of mussel for $15 !! The Wagyu Burger sounds delicious too.

Mon - Fri (12pm - 7pm) Special Menu

Dining Area & Lounge 

I like how the dining area is set up, you can have your meals on proper dining table, or if you are just after some nibblies and drinks, you can seat at the lounge area at the back. A perfect place to chill and relax...

Cactus in a Jar

Unfortunately when we got there, the Vivid Sydney entree of duck terrine has sold out :(
So instead, we can choose any one of the entree from their normal menu to replace it.
I was quite pleasantly surprised when the waitress advised us to share the 3 course Vivid Menu and perhaps just order another dish or two amongst the 3 of us. The portion size we were told is quite generous. 
And so we did as she advised us to ^_^

Half kilo of SA Mussels, Coriander, Tomato, White Wine, Basil, Chili, Saffron 

The mussels were fresh but very mild, considering all the herbs and spices that is meant to be in there.
There wasn't any liquid in the bowl as well, which was quite unusual for a mussel dish I think.
Nonetheless, it was still a nice dish, a tad bland maybe, but I'm not to fuss about that.

Crispy Spicy Squid, Rocket, Mango Coulis

This dish is very good ! The squid are lightly battered and fried to golden brown, crunchy yet tender at the same time. The mango dipping sauce might be a bit weird, but it works really well and compliments the squid.

Crispy Skin Pork Belly, Sauteed Asian Greens, Dressed Charr and Apple Jus

The skin is not as crispy as we would like it to be, it was actually quite chewy and hard to cut through.
We butchered that piece of pork as we were slicing it LOL It wasn't pretty.
So far the entrees stands out more than this main dish.

Grilled Chorizo & Pumpkin Tossed with Rocket and Murray River Salt Flakes

We were still feeling a bit peckish after the 2 entrees and 1 main, so we ordered another entree...ehehehe..
Soo glad we did ! This dish was very good, the crispy salty chorizo and the sweet pumpkin....yum yum ^_^

Pink Pannacotta with Red Berries & Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

The pannacottta we found is too firm, it is not to bad when eaten with the berry and the vanilla ice cream.

Lemon Tart w/ Gippsland Double Cream

Love the lemon tart, the lemon creme is tangy ( >__< )  and the pastry is buttery and crumbly. A dollop of cream doesn't hurt either :P

There are hit and miss with the food, but the service is excellent. It may just be a casual cafe dining place, but they are very helpful, cheery and attentive.
Shall return for breakfast sometimes :)

Stanley Street Station on Urbanspoon