Somewhere Nice, Restaurant Revolution Parramatta

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I’ve walked past this multiple times as it was under construction and now I’ve finally gotten a chance to eat here. I don’t watch the show, but my friends do so they were super excited to come here. If you do want to visit, expect a long queue if you go after 6:30pm and the wait is about an hour or so.

For dinner, the only option available is a 3 course meal for $65. They have a decent selection to choose from for each course (vegetarian options available). A la carte is only available during lunch.

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To start off, we chose a special limited edition item instead of picking one listed on the menu. The episode hasn’t aired yet, but we were told that it was part of one of the challenges?IMG_6660 1

Not too bad, the 100g beef patty was cooked medium-rare, it was very juicy and the texture was superb, the only downfall was the lack of flavor, luckily the beef mince was fresh and tasty without seasoning. IMG_6661

For our mains we ordered Fish of the day with soba. The salmon was cooked perfectly, the skin was very crispy and they managed to not overcook it. The salmon was a little bland, but it was saved by the saucy soba.

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Medium rare lamb with pureed pumpkin, beetroot and broccoli.

Medium cooked lamb was very tender and overflowing with delicious juices. I found the combination of pureed pumpkin and lamb a little strange at first, but as I dug in, I really started to enjoy it.

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Chai Panacotta, walnuts and chilli chocolate.

If you like Chai, this is the dessert for you! The Chai in the panacotta was extremely intense and you can smell it before you even have a taste. I don’t like chai so I wasn’t a fan of this, although I did enjoy the chilli chocolate and walnuts.

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Chocolate and caramel ganache with rhubarb, almonds and pureed apricot.

Dessert is always my favorite part of the meal, the ganache was very good as it wasn’t overly sweet and was quite dense with a silky smooth texture. The pureed apricot was way too sweet for me and didn’t really go well with it. The chocolate was my favorite and I could’be eaten a whole bowl of it!

Overall, this place isn’t too bad but I wouldn’t be coming back for anything other than the chocolate dessert, although I am curious as to what their lunch menu is like. They have another 4 or so weeks before they finish so I’ll have to decide soon..

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The Potting Shed, The Grounds of Alexandria.

Never go to The Grounds if you are hungry or an impatient person. There are ALWAYS long lines and it takes about 30mins to get a table, but I’m glad they use the buzzer system so it gives you a chance to walk around to see the various stalls and animals while you wait.IMG_4302 1

Angus short ribs, $23.

The ribs are marinated and slow cooked for many hours. It was very tender and had multiple layers of delicious dripping fat. It was paired nicely with a sweet and sour sauce. This is extremely greasy and may just give you a heart attack, but it does have an amazing texture and I love my meats fatty.IMG_4304 1

Wagyu cheeseburger, $21.

The fries were a hit and miss, half the batch was hot & delicious while the other half was overcooked, making it very hard and dry.. Also some of the fries were hollow? as in there were no potato bits inside??

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Pulled pork burger, $23.

Pulled pork burgers are very popular and found on most menus, therefore my standards for them are getting pretty high. This was okay, but still has room for improvement. The pulled pork was very moist, but paired with the coleslaw, it became a little sloppy and the bun got quite soggy. It lacked any real flavor and could have been marinated for longer to enhance its taste, luckily they do provide smokey BBQ sauce on the side to spice it up a little.

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The serving sizes are on the smaller side, but that just leaves more room for dessert.

I think most people come here for the atmosphere, which I think is done very well. The entire place gives you garden, farm-y vibes, they serve their sauces and drinks in terracotta pots and the plates are shovel heads.

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$12 for 4 freshly cooked donuts, you can choose from a variety of flavours: Nutella, Jam or cinnamon. (Not inside The Potting Shed, just outside and perfect for when you’re waiting to get a table ;)

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Haven, Surry Hills.

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Pork Belly Kimchi Burger, $19. (without cheese)

The burger has very unique combination of ingredients that actually blend well together. It has delicious fatty pork belly, kimchi, black sesame & egg and shaved radish. The original version has bocconici, but I asked for mine without.

With every bite, the pork belly oozes greasy goodness out of it and you definitely won’t have clean hands by the end of it. The kimchi was not spicy enough for me but does give the overall burger a good kick in flavor. They also don’t skimp out on the pork belly and give a very generous amount of it.

The only minor downfall to me was the bun, kinda limp and too soft as I would have preferred sourdough or something wholemeal perhaps. Bun texture is probably the biggest deciding factor of whether I like a burger or not. Luckily the amazing fillings and generous belly servings were able to redeem the crummy bun.

Overall I was very satisfied with my first visit here and I would definitely come back to give the other items on the menu a try.

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Hot chocolate, $6.

They use smooth velvety dark chocolate melted into hot milk. The dark chocolate is very rich and would have gone well with my meal if I had not inhaled it the second it arrived. Pure deliciousness, not overly sweet but just enough to give me a slight sugar hit. The bottom of the drink also had some hazelnut/chocolatey pieces which was a delightful surprise.
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Daisy’s Milkbar, Petersham.

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Pulled Pork Burger, $14.

At first, I was very sad that they didn’t offer a side of fries. Fortunately, I’m glad there weren’t any extras given as this burger was massive!!

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A warm toasted bun slathered with mayo and crunchy slaw and then a giant load of greasy pulled pork chucked on top. The contrasting textures went well together, the only downfall was that the pork was a bit too greasy. Along with heavy meat, was a giant bun, so unfortunately I was unable to finish this, but I’m very glad they give big portions that fill me up.

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Daisy’s Milkbar has an old-school menu, items such as mac & cheese, toasties and milo shakes to satisfy all nostalgic palates. And if you’re craving 90’s candy, they’ve got push pops, red skins and milk bottles etc. available for purchase at the counter.

Daisy’s is well known and is regularly talked about amongst the Sydney foodie scene and they’ve been featured numerous times. I didn’t not enjoy the food here, but it wasn’t anything mind-blowing. Maybe I’m not a true 90’s kid..

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Tim Ho Wan, Chatswood.

IMG_5234 The long awaited Michelin starred restaurant has finally arrived in Sydney, its been open for over a month and lines are still out the door and literally down the street. There are extermely contrasting views on the place, some people absolutely adore it while others want it stripped of its Michelin status. I’ve been to Tim Ho Wan in Hong Kong so I was kinda sitting on the fence about it, but it definitely wasn’t appaling enough to keep me away for a taste of the Sydney restaurant. IMG_5231Baked BBQ Pork bun $7.80 (3 pieces). The very famous baked BBQ Pork bun is their most iconic item on the menu. It’s a take on the traditional baked version, instead of a smooth sugar glaze, they’ve created a soft crisp shell with a perfectly soft centre and lots of gooey BBQ pork filling that’s piping hot! This is a must try menu item and it certainly lives up to all the hype. IMG_5236Deep fried prawn dumpling, $7.80. A bit of a Japanese twist on original version with mayo. They’ve opted for wasabi mayo topped with roe instead. Sounds tasty doesn’t it? I didn’t enjoy this as much as I expected as, the pastry texture was off and didn’t have a ‘crunch’ effect, the filling was quite dry. Kinda disappointed and I would not order this again. IMG_5238 1 Other items we ordered but were very mediocre and not worth going into detail: Steamed egg cake, $5.80. Steamed rice rolls with prawn, $7.80. Turnip cake, $6.00. Had a very very grainy texture, not very enjoyable. Steamed chicken, sausage and mushroom rice, $8.50. Decent taste, but super tiny portions. 2 Osmanthus Jelly, $5.80. One of my favorite sweet dishes, this was alright but not mind-blowing, still annoyed that the portions are super tiny here.. (for scale reference, the forks above are dessert forks, now you can see how small they were..). 1 Glutinous Rice, $8.80. If you’ve never eaten this before, you’ll probably be thinking WHAT ON EARTH IS THAT LUMP. By far the greatest standout of all dishes ordered. The taste is mastered extremely well. Lots of meat and mushrooms burried deep inside. Just the right about of sauce giving it a good flavor without being too empowering. The rice wasn’t too greasy, but was still very soft and moist. 3 IMG_5230 This place is definitely over-hyped, Tim Ho Wan has five other stores in Hong Kong, I think their food overseas was slightly better, also the pricing over there was much cheaper than it is here. The greatest stand-outs were the BBQ Pork bun and the glutinous rice. The other dim-sum dishes are very basic and over-priced in my opinion. Normal good quality yum-cha is not usually this expensive if you know where the good places are. Rule of thumb: if they charge you money for individual cups of tea, they’re usually catering for non-Asians. Typical asian-targeted restaurants will give you bottomless tea for free. IMG_5228 1 Their dim-sim menu is quite limited compared to your average yum-cha place, but by doing so, they are very swift in rolling out your food from the kitchen. Tim Ho Wan on Urbanspoon

The Nepalese Kitchen, Surry Hills.

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Vegetarian momos, $8.50

Soft silky steamed pastry filled with lightly spiced vegetables including sweet corn, spring onions and carrots, paired with a mild curry dipping sauce. Pastry was very thin which created a perfect pastry to filling ratio.

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Masu Ko Pulao, $18

I don’t speak Nepali, but I’m guessing it translates to rice with meat? as you have a choice between lamb or chicken. Basmati rice is cooked in a range of spices, it had a slight nutty flavor with a hint of coconut and lots of sultanas. Thankfully, the lamb curry compensated for the slightly dry rice. Lamb was very tender and spiced perfectly! All of this was topped with a nice minty yoghurt. The only downfall would be the sultanas, they were almost as hard as bricks and took way too much chewing.

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Eggplant curry, $13.

Eggplant is very absorbent so it soaked up all the delicious curry, there were also lots of soft cooked tomatos that were really sweet and flavorsome. My go-to curry is usually Butter Chicken, but i was feeling sooo adventurous that i picked a veg option. It turned out to be amazing and surprisingly filling even though it lacked any meaty protein. There were lots of mushy potatos buried underneath with the eggplant, the firm eggplant went well with the soft fluffy potatos, I loved it! The dish is a little on the small side as I could have eaten at least another 2 servings of this, but nonetheless it was still my favorite of the night.

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Flakey flatbread, $4.

This was to die for, it was like a perfect mixture of roti and filo pastry. It was thick and dense, slightly chewy but easy to pull apart and also flakey. It’s so good that you can eat it by itself or have it with curry.

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The Nepalese Kitchen is located further away from the busier part of Crown Street so you’d expect it to be fairly quiet, but the place was more than half filled by the time we left. We went without a booking so our length of stay was restricted, luckily the kitchen is insanely quick. The staff are fast on their feet and all your orders come out one after the other with minimal wait. They’re all smiley and friendly and the restaurant is small which gives it a nice homey feel.

Nepalese Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Aqua S Ice Cream, George Street, Sydney.

If you’re a foodie who’s up to date with the latest craze, you definitely would’ve seen Aqua S’ photos plastered all over social media with their iconic fairy floss topping.

Aqua S is a relatively new store so the queues are still out the door. You shouldn’t have trouble finding it, just look out for a brightly lit place with a swarm of people packed inside with perfectly manicured hands holding the ice cream against the store’s aqua wallpaper in the perfect angle snapping a photo and putting it through various instagram filters #Aesthetic

I’m a total sucker for sweets so of course I had to check em out and be a typical Asian foodie taking photos.

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Mandarin & sea salt in a cup, Taro and sea salt in a cone, $3.80 each.

They change their flavors every two weeks, this fortnight’s special flavour is Mandarin and Taro (Sea salt is a permanent flavor on their menu)

I found the mandarin flavor to be really odd with a slightly bitter aftertaste, I didn’t hate it but I probably wouldn’t get it again.

On the other hand, sea salt was really strange, but in a good way. It’s sweet at first and then it gets saltier as it melts in your mouth. It’s really bizarre and I’m not really doing it any justice trying to explain it, but it is definitely something I would go back for. The taro is amazing too, but then again I’ve never had a bad experience with taro flavored anything.

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Usually I don’t go for cones and prefer my ice cream/gelato in a cup, but I’m glad I got this in a cone. Even though the ice cream melts at the speed of light, it was surprisingly fresh and crunchy that the driping mess was worth it all.

It’s good to see new places like this popping up, it’s giving us more options for when our sweet tooth starts aching. Hopefully they continue to have good flavors next time I re-visit.

Aqua S on Urbanspoon

 

Din Tai Fung, World Square Sydney

I’ve been to Din Tai Fung before and it wasn’t a very memorable experience, the food was bad, the queue was long and annoying, yet I’ve had multiple people say to me that it’s one of their favorite places.. I was so curious as to how so many people managed to have such a successful visit while I left there very confused. We decided to give them another shot and it was a much more pleasant visit second time round.

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Gem dumplings, $15.80

Loook at how colorful and aesthetically pleasing these are!! I picked it because COLORS!! (and this is one of their recommended/most popular dishes). They looked amazing and each color had a different filling inside.

The gem dumplings come in 7 different flavors, they’re very unique and I’ve never had anything like them before. Bolognaise and cheese dumplings? How bizzarre does that sound!

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Each ‘gem’ was filled with pork mince and the corresponding extra ingredient. Theoretically they sound really really tasty, Kudos to whoever came up with the flavours and colors, but I do prefer the traditional dumplings with just the traditional soupy pork filling.

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Spicy noodles with shrimp and pork wontons, $13.80.

My absolute favorite!! Quite chilly but nothing I couldn’t handle. The wontons were amazing, soft silky skin filled with succulent prawn and pork pieces. The noodles were quite impressive with their slightly chewy texture. If you can’t handle chilli, they also have a non-spicy version of this.

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Fried rice and fried chicken fillet, $16.80.

I was very pleased with the fried chicken, even though the oil was slightly stale, they did do a good job at frying it. The outside was crunchy while the inside retained its moisture and was very succulent and juicy.

The rice was a little bland but I was glad it didn’t have too much MSG or oil. It had lots of spring onions and egg in it which gave it a slight boost in flavor. The chilli noodles had lots of sauce so we mixed some of the noodles with the rice creating a delicious concoction.

The serving sizes are a little smaller than your typical bargain Asian restaurant, but the food is a little fancier so it’s worth those few extra bucks.

Din Tai Fung on Urbanspoon

StreetSoul Burger Bar, Randwick

The have a simple no fuss menu, beef, chicken, lamb & pork and also 2 vegetarian options: chickpea patty or mushrooms. I love lamb so it was a quick and easy pick.

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Lamb patty on a panini bun, $11.90. (Wholemeal bun also available)

A warm toasted bun, slathered with delicious mayo on the bottom, topped with a very generous amount of rocket, freshly sliced tomato and red onion, a very juicy and tender mint infused lamb patty and finished off with a sweet sweet tomato relish.

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I think the burgers here are better than the ones at Grill’d, the patty was cooked perfectly and was not dry at all. They did use more sauce than necessary as the patty was juicy and flavorsome enough on its own.

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The food comes out very quickly and there’s lots of indoor and outdoor seating available. The staff aren’t very talkative, but they seemed quite friendly.

I’m very pleased with the quality of the burgers here and I will definitely come back for a quick lunch when I’m in the area.

StreetSoul Burger Bar on Urbanspoon

AZOTO Liquid Nitrogen Ice-cream, World Square Sydney.

New Year’s resolution to eat healthy thrown right out the window..IMG_3283

Liquid Nitrogen has become a very popular element in desserts and drinks over the years. It’s definitely fun to watch and you’re guaranteed that the ice cream is fresh as it’s made right in front of you.

AZOTO has recently opened in World Square (across the road from Hot Star Chicken) so you don’t have to trek all the way to Chinatown for N2. It’s still relatively new so it’s quiet and the lines are pretty short.

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I’d like to think I’m a patient personal in general, but I’m definitely NOT patient when it comes to food. Like N2, everything is made to order and the entire process feels like an eternity when you’ve got a sugar craving. Luckily there were no customers in front of us so our order was in the making right after we paid.

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They had 5 flavors to choose from: Apple yoghurt ($5), Vanilla & Honey ($5.5), Chocolate Brownie ($6), Caramel ($6) and Peach Ice tea with a shot of Hennessy ($7).

I ordered the Caramel Ice cream topped with salted caramel popcorn and a caramel syringe. Sounds like a caramel overload right? Fortunately for those who prefer a less intense caramel taste, will find this much more enjoyable. I, on the other hand prefer very sweet and strong caramel flavoring so I was a little disappointed. I need the caramel to be so intense that it puts me in a sugar coma.

The texture is not as dense as N2’s, the serving sizes are smaller and you can easily demolish two of these. I’m not a huge fan of liquid Nitrogen products because 1. It takes too long to make and 2. I prefer gelato density & texture.

When it comes to ice-cream/gelato, my heart forever belongs to Messina, but I do commend AZOTO for having some pretty interesting flavours, i.e. peach ice tea and Hennessy which I may need to re-visit and try it out ;)

Azoto on Urbanspoon

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