Monday, 30 August 2010

House, Surry Hills

I think it is accurate to say that House is the most blogged Thai eatery at the moment !!
This is probably the n-th post on House that you have stumbled upon if you search for "House, Surry Hills" on the web.
I myself had been to this place 4 times in the past 3 weeks, twice for dinner and twice just to have B.T.S late at night - and I thought the bathroom scale is playing up :P

Dinner Time Patrons

Sticky Rice in Bamboo Basket

The sticky rice came in this little bamboo basket, one tip though, do not leave the lid open, the rice do get dried out fairly quickly.
Scoop the rice out and close it back up immediately :)

Larb Ped
Traditional Issan salad of minced duck w/ eschalot, shallot, Vietnamese coriander, mint, ground roasted rice, ground chilli and lime

The killer salad....wish they have those "chilli" ratings on their menu like most Thai eateries nowadays. 
May look harmless except for the 2 dried chilli pods on top, but this is one very spicy salad >___<;
It is very nice though, packed full with herbs and heat *water !!*. When I had this on my first visit, I had to finish it because my friend just couldn't handle it after one spoonful. Me who will get bee stung lips when had too much chilli had to finish off it all. I went to work with plump lips the next day !

Nua Daed Deaw
Lightly deep fried sun dried marinated beef strip served with jim-jaew dipping sauce.

I was expecting this dish to be like the Chinese Rainbow Beef, where strips of beef are lightly battered and deep fried then drenched in some kind of sweet & sour sauce.
House's Nua Daed Deaw is none of that, it tasted more like deep fried strips of bakkwa ( Asian style beef jerky I suppose). It is quite moorish actually, just wished that there were more on the plate.
I ordered this dish again during the 2nd dinner visit and it seems like the portion was even smaller the 2nd time round.

Ping Lin
Grilled marinated ox tongue served with jim-jaew dipping sauce

Couldn't resist ordering it when we saw it on the menu. Unfortunately it was quite ordinary, once again the portion size was a little on the small side and the tongue was quite chewy.

Mok Gai Hua Plee
Steamed curry chicken w/ banana flower, eschalot, lemongrass, galangal and chilli.

Chicken curry steamed in a banana leaf ? As weird as it may sound, this is actually very nice. The chicken is very tender, some of my friends actually thought it was fish, it was that tender. It is more of a sweet curry than a spicy curry which was much welcomed amongst all the other spicy dishes. 

Gai Yang
Char-grilled marinated chicken served with jin-jaew dipping sauce

Gai Yang here is served on the bone, the marinated chicken is grilled whole then chopped up into piece and served with a couple of condiments. 
The chicken was tender and juicy, perhaps cooking them on the bone has it's bonuses :)

Tom Saap Kra Dook Aorn
Spicy soft pork ribs soup w/ lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaf, Vietnamese coriander, Thai sweet basil, lime and chilli.

We wanted to try out the soup (fine, I wanted it because of the pot it comes in), but were not game enough to try the egg embryo, or the chicken feet, or the tripes. 
We go for the safest option available - soft pork ribs.
The waitress who took our order asked how spicy would we want the soup to be, medium hot or hot ?
Naturally we asked for medium hot, knowing how spicy their mild looking dishes are :P
What is classified as medium hot is still VERY hot !! >___<;
The pork ribs were really soft you can actually eat the bones, just like crunching on chicken soft bone, that kind of texture.
The soup despite being very hot is irresistible, it was sour, hot and slightly herbal. The pot was dry by the time we finished, and so were the water bottles on our table.

Special of The Day
NZ Blue Eye Cod served with Dipping Salad

We were intrigued when the waitress mentioned the special of the day, "steamed and then deep fried NZ blue eye cod...".
Immediately all of us has this scene playing up in our head, oil splattering everywhere as the chefs deep fried the fish after steaming it, screaming chefs *ARRGHH*. 
Frying whole fish is already quite dangerous as it is, let alone steaming it (wet) then straight into hot oil *SPLASH!!*
Anyway, let's get out of the kitchen and back to the plate :P
Perhaps the 2 step cooking process is the way to go, the resulting texture is quite different. The meat is very sweet and soft while the outside is very very crispy. The dipping sauce that is made from lime, garlic and chilli goes really well with the fish. It is served with some raw salad that comes in handy when mopping up the dipping sauce.

There are 2 or 3 desserts listed on the menu, but leave that and go for the ones not on the menu - these 2 :

Cup "D"

It was hilarious when the waitress mentioned Cup "D" - she was actually doing the hand action as well, air cupping the imaginary bra ROFL !!  We just couldn't hold our laughter, what a funny waitress, she was laughing along with us of course LOL
What you get is not a pair of bra, but hot chocolate and black sticky rice souffle, topped with taro ice cream.
It is hard to savour and eat this dessert, as you would imagine, the ice cream doesn't take long at all to melt. So we have to scoff it down fairly quickly. 
It's not bad, but it is quite ordinary after you tasted the next one.....none other than Better Than Sex !!
Or as more commonly known as B.T.S., the G-Rated version of it's name.

Better Than Sex

The buttery thick brioche is grilled till it's caramelized, then topped with a generous scoop of pandan & coconut ice cream. That's not all, it is then drizzled with palm sugar and sprinkled with black sesame seeds.


This is one super addictive dessert, we would even brave the cold freezing nights just to go to House and have this. The combination of crunchy brioche and the smooth creamy ice cream is just simply amazing !! You just got to try this, if you haven't already by now :)
There is one thing that I find odd with the special desserts here, several occasion we were charged $12.50 per serve, then other times we were charged $15.00.
It is hard to tell which is the right pricing as they are not listed on the menu.

House doesn't take bookings, so if you are planning to dine with a group of friends, best to arrive early in the night or be prepared to wait for a table.

House on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Victor Churchill, Woollahra

Victor Churchill

I've heard of Victor Churchill for a while now but haven't had the chance to go there until a few weeks ago.
My friend wanted to get their roast chicken for dinner, apparently it's the best roast chicken she has had so far.
I tagged along to see what the fuss is all about. 

This is not your ordinary local butcher, as you stepped it you are greeted with lots of security cameras on the side, glass room where the butchers are trimming the meat, glass cabinets of products that they sell - amazing !!
Wasn't sure if photos are allowed inside, so just to be safe, I didn't :)

The raw meat products on display are of premium quality, things like Wagyu beef with marble score 9+, black truffles, perfectly trimmed lamb cutlets, etc. 
I was expecting the prices to be much more expensive, but I think they are actually on par with my local butchers. Especially when the quality here is much higher.
Beside the raw products, they have a rotisserie with hot food on the back, some chilled take home meals and to my surprise....DESSERTS !!

Shopping Bags

They do not skim on packaging here, your purchases are wrapped in fancy packaging then placed in a carry bag that looked like something out of a clothing store.

Fancy Packaging

Creme Caramel

It's funny how I stepped into a butcher but came out with desserts LOL
The sweet stuffs have won me over :P
The creme caramel was soo good, not to sweet with soft pudding like texture, milky and the caramel was simply amazing. Sweet with a slightly burnt taste.

Carrot, Cumin & Coriander Soup

Also bought their soup for lunch the next day. The soup was very good as well, velvety goodness of carrot and lightly spiced with cumin.

Creme Brulee

The creme brulee that made us return the following weeks - it was very very addictive.
I had to say that this is the best brulee ever ! It was creamy with just the right texture, firm but still soft at the same time. The vanilla beans used give a subtle aroma of vanilla....I could eat this every day (I wish !)


As weird as it may sound, it is worth a visit to Victor Churchill just for the desserts :D

Victor Churchill
132 Queen Street
Woollahra, NSW 2025
(02) 9328 0402

Friday, 27 August 2010

At Perry Lane, Paddington

This way to At Perry Lane

Deciding which cafe to have weekend brunch in Sydney can be quite a challenging task.
Should we try out somewhere new or try something that I know has had good reviews ? 
Will everyone liked it or they won't like it and then you felt like the guilty person who has suggested the place :P

Anywho, I decided to go safe and suggested At Perry Lane in Paddington which has been on my list for a long long time. 
The fact that they are only open from Fri - Sun and I think we know how hard it is to find parking in Paddington on weekends, especially on Saturdays when the market is on.

This little cafe is located on, well, Perry Lane of course ! There is a menu board at the entrance of the lane and then a little blackboard with their takeaway menu on the walls of the lane.

We were greeted by the lovely lady as we stepped into the place and she even offered to come back and take our photos when she saw me whipping out my camera :D
It's so nice to see such warm welcome on a freezing mid-winter morning.
Why so early ? One of us has to dropped off her hubby who was doing the City to Surf, so while she's waiting for him to finish his run, she decided just to go for brunch instead of cheering him on LOL

Water Bowl ; Magazines ; The Tiny Kitchen ; Big Mirror

At Perry Lane is a split level cafe with open air seatings all round. Which may not be that comfortable in winter but would be lovely when spring comes.
It felt as though you are in someone's backyard patio, lots of greeneries, magazine rack and of course water bowls for doggies :) Oh, almost forgot to mention that this is a dog friendly cafe so you can bring along your buddies.
There was one gentleman who had 2 dogs with him and appears to be a regular at this place.
One of the dog made a beeline to their usual table and was puzzled when there was someone else sitting on their spot, too cute !
The girl who sat there offered to move to another table because the dog just stand there staring at her, confused LOL

Large Coffees All Around !

I'm surprised to see how small the kitchen is considering the many options they offered on the menu. There is nothing fancy, just some good hearty all day breakfast fares and from 11am onwards a selection of wraps, sandwiches and salads are available.

Eggs Benedict on Sourdough with Prosciutto 

Breakfast Wrap
Scrambled Egg, Bacon, Avocado, Roma Tomato w/ Tomato Relish 

Perry Lane Breakfast
Poached Eggs w/ Bacon, Chorizo, Balsamic Mushrooms, Grilled Tomato, Spinach & Toasted Sourdough

Was feeling famished that morning, so I got the biggest breakfast on the menu !
Pretty much everything that you would like to have on your plate for a satisfying brekkie.
The balsamic mushrooms were really good, slightly acidic but sweet at the same time.
It was so cold that morning that half way thru the plate, the fat is starting to solidify (gross I know, cold fat *shudder*) - so I have to scoff the rest of the food down quickly.

Runny Poached Egg Centre

Lovely Sunday Morning ; The Dog that wanted his usual spot

Friendly service, felt like home, good food and coffee and a pet friendly cafe , that is At Perry Lane.
I'm coming back again when the weather is warmer to try out their scones that looked so delicious !

Step Into At Perry Lane Perry Lane CafeArtStudio on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Water Moon, Potts Point

Water Moon is a sake bar & restaurant (izakaya) that has just opened up a few months ago. While browsing the Eatability site I saw that they are having a special dinner sets for a limited time only, $15 for a standard set or $25 for a more premium set.
One rainy night, gathered a few friends who just can't miss out such a great sounding deals.

Side Dining Area ; Bar Area

There is no mistake that you are in a sake bar, there are big bottles of sake everywhere !
It has more of a bar atmosphere than a restaurant, dimly lighted and cosy. There was a cushioned area in the main dining room, but as we made the booking quite last minute, we were seated in a more secluded dining area towards the back.

Jumbo Sake Bottles ; Cute Chubby Bird Sake

One of the managers brought over these 2 jumbo sake bottles to our table when he noticed me taking photos of the bottles on the side table - "Much easier for you", he said.
Domo arigatou gozaimasu ^_^
That was very nice of him.

Menu ; More cute birds on the menu 

Emerald Night Cocktail - Sake & green mint, blue citrus and apple juice ; Green Tea

Beside the many varieties of sake they have on offer, there were a selection of delicious sounding sake cocktails.
Had a little sip of my friend's Emerald Night cocktail and it was good, but I'd better be safe than sorry so I stick to my cup of hot green tea.

Complimentary Edamame ; Salmon Carpaccio

The salmon carpaccio despite not looking like carpaccio (wonder where the sauce is ?), was actually quite good. The slices of salmon were lightly dressed with citrusy dressing and then topped with some ikura (salmon roe).

$15 Dinner Set
Karaage Set ; Spicy Pork Set ; Sashimi & Oyster

With the $15 dinner set, you get to choose your main from either teriyaki chicken, karaage or spicy pork. The set also includes rice, miso soup, sashimi and agedashi tofu.
The karaage was okay, not the best we've ever had but it was good. The pork however arrived cold, which was a bit of disappointment to those who ordered it. The sashimi was fresh and apparently the oyster was good, dressed with some sauce if I'm not mistaken.

Roasted Duck & Boiled Spinach

$25 Dinner Set

With just $10 more, you get a starter of roasted duck, prawn & vegetable tempura and sushi on top of what is included in the $15 dinner set.
The roasted duck was tender and boiled spinach with sesame paste is one of my favourite Japanese side dishes :)
The teriyaki chicken was quite ordinary, the tempura however was very crispy and stayed crispy even after a while. Don't know how they do it because usually they do go soggy quickly.

These special sets are of great value as you do get a lot of food.
Water Moon is extending this special dinner deals till the 31st August 2010, however now the offer is only available from 6.00pm - 7.30pm only.

Wasabi Ice Cream & Sake Jelly

Although we are already very full, we just can't go pass their special dessert when the manager mentioned it to us.
The wasabi ice cream was really good, sweet but watch out, the kick that clears your sinuses hits you towards the end when you think it's harmless >__<;
The sake jelly has no more alcohol taste to it, it just tasted like sweet jelly.
As with any Japanese ice cream style desserts, there are some cornflakes on the bottom as well to add some crunch :)

The service here is great, the managers and staffs are corteous and accomodating. My friend's request of having just salmon on her sashimi plate was happily taken care of. 
If you are looking for a new place to have drinks with your friends, I think you should give this place a go.

Water Moon on Urbanspoon

Monday, 23 August 2010

Sea Sweet, Paramatta

One of my uncle back in Indonesia is craving for the Lebanese sweets that he had when he was here on holiday. So when my auntie is going back, she insisted that we had to go all the way to Paramatta to get the sweets -___-; Considering where she lives in Maroubra, it is a road trip just to get some baklava.

Naturally, I tagged along because she mentioned that they serve plated desserts as well here at Sea Sweet.

This place is surprisingly huge ! As you stepped inside, you are greeted with an array of Middle-Eastern sweets to one side and continental cakes on the other.
What to choose, so many to choose from...*eeny, meeny, miny, moe*

White seating area ; Sanitiser bottle ?

While my aunt is picking her 6 boxes full of Lebanese sweets, we the kids sat down in the cafe area towards the back of the store, perusing the dessert menu.
First thought that comes into mind when I saw the clear, white capped, unlabelled bottle was .... hand sanitiser ? Doesn't it just look like one of those Dettol hand sanitiser ?!?! LOL
It's just rose scented sugar syrup to drizzle onto the desserts, which is good as I usually found Middle-Eastern sweets are drenched in syrup, too sweet to my liking :P
At least this way I can put as much or as little as I like.

Hot Drinks

Arabic Coffee served in a traditional brass pot

While the others ordered the usual coffees, I ordered the Arabic Coffee. The description of "served in a traditional brass pot" sold it to me (suckers for gimmicks like this hehehehe :P).
The Arabic Coffee is served black and you do have to wait till the coffee settled down to the bottom of the pot, otherwise you end up drinking ground coffee beans which is not that enjoyable.

Knefe Cheese

Semolina encrusted sweet cheese served with Sea Sweet signature bread bun. You have an option of having the knefe inside the bun or served on the side.
I love this one, it's like eating sweet mozzarella cheese ! Stringy and chewy, not to mention the "smiling" signature bread.
I was tempted to get some to take home, but I thought I'd better not...too dangerous having these around at home.

Katayef  Kashta
Mini Pancakes filled with Kashta & Sweet Rose Syrup

These thin mini pancakes are filled with kashta, a Middle Eastern thick cream that is made from skimming the thickest part of the cream from whey. It is indeed very thick and creamy, almost like a ricotta cheese kind of creamy. 
It arrived bland, so the bottle of rose syrup on the table came in handy :)

Halawet El Jebn Rolls
Sweet Cheese Sheets filled w/ Kashta, served w/ Nuts and Sweet Rose Syrup

The sweet cheese sheets had an interesting texture, it is rough in texture and chewy. Again, kashta was used as the filling.

Osmaliye Kashta Plate
A Kashta Layered Center w/ Sweet Noodle Pastry Layers and Sweet Rose Syrup

Now this one come drenched in sugar syrup, sweettt >___<
On hindsight, we probably shouldn't have ordered that much of kashta filled desserts. By the fourth mouth full we were feeling quite sick because they are all very heavy and sugary LOL

The desserts were nicely plated and if Middle Eastern sweets is your kind of thing, you must visit Sea Sweet, I'm sure you won't be dissapointed.

Sea Sweet - Paramatta
4/354 Church Street
(next to Sebel Paramatta Hotel)
Paramatta, NSW 2150
Phone : 1300 90 80 70