Sunday, August 27, 2006
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Free Lunch, Anyone?
Best Cioccolata Calda in Melbourne
I can personally attest to fact that Brunetti's cocoa, milk and sugar concoction, which is made by their in-house chocolatier and kept churning in their heated cioccolatiera, is very good indeed, however having not tried the others I cannot definitively name it as the best ;-)
In your opinion, who makes the best cioccolata calda in Melbourne or Sydney?
PS: Unfortunately, despite mentioning that two places did not rise up to standards due either to their uninspiring brew and bad service, the journalist does not name names. Too bad for us as we won't know which places to avoid :-(
Saturday, August 19, 2006
Tetsuya, The Man
During the course of our meal, we even had the honour of meeting THE MAN himself. Apparently Tetsuya is often away due to other engagements, however when he is in the house he does make it a habit to greet his diners. We were fortunate enough to have him come by our little table for two to say hello. We could also see heads from surrounding tables turning around and whispers of 'That's him. That's Tetsuya'. Boy, did we feel special!
Of course, he didn't stay long. Just long enough to wish us a good meal and to recommend that we take our time and enjoy. Just long enough for us to get the impression that he is a down-to-earth and humble guy despite his impressive international reputation.
Tetsuya's, The Restaurant
Long have we waited for this moment - the chance to dine at Australia's best known and most highly rated restaurant, Tetsuya's. This year, the Restaurant Magazine rated Tetsuya's 5th in the world after El Bulli in Spain, The Fat Duck in Britain, Pierre Gagnaire in Paris and French Laundry in California. Time and again, I had tried to book a table only to be told that they were full for the night. This time, knowing that we had a trip to Sydney coming up I booked well in advance for our dinner on Friday 4th August.
We hurried by foot from The Rocks to Kent Street, eager for this culinary experience to begin. Finally locating its gated entrance, we walked down the driveway to be greeted by about four or five attendants who were presumably waiting to park cars. We were seated in a room with only 6 tables but there were at least 6 waiters for that section alone.
Pacific Oysters with Rice Vinegar & Ginger (additional item)
Tartare of Tuna on Sushi Rice with Avocado
Tuna Marinated in Soy & Mirin; Soft Smoked Ocean Trout with Asparagus; Marinated NZ Scampi with Chicken Parfait & Walnut
Spring Bay Scallop with Wakame & Lemon
Tetsuya's Signature: Confit of Petuna Tasmanian Ocean Trout with Konbu, Daikon & Fennel
Ravioli of Queensland Spanner Crab with Tomato & Basil Vinaigrette
Roasted Breast of Quail with Soft Polenta & Shiitake Mushrooms
Seared Fillet of Veal with Wasabi Butter
Strawberry Shortcake; Beetroot & Blood Orange Sorbet
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with White Beans & Dates
Floating Island with Praline & Vanilla Bean Anglaise
Flourless Chocolate Cake with Orange and Chocolate Sorbet
The whole meal was worth every cent but which dishes did I particularly enjoy: the tartare of tuna was easily the best I have ever had the pleasure of tasting, the barely cooked scampi, the confit of tuna which is marinated in oil then cooked in a very low oven, and oh the quail ...smacking of lips... I was almost too full to have dessert by the end of the savoury courses but when they arrived, well that was another matter. I could have had an entire bowl of the strawberry shortcake although it probably wouldn't look quite as elegant served like that! The lightness of the floating island surprised me, as did thin stripe of chocolate and raspberry within. We had a special dessert at the end of all that too - thanks, A!
WCB 62: Bella loves Bally
This week WCB is being hosted by Heather.
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Good Living Growers Market & Sydney Fish Market
With great foresight, we headed straight to the coffee stall to pick up one cup of coffee and one sweet milky tea. It started drizzling as we stood in line for our hot drinks, then two stalls further on, it poured! We took shelter under a large unbrella that the busker had set up, happily nursing our hot drinks. Hey, being Melburnians we're used to the weather being unpredictable.
The rain let up not too long after and we were able to browse through the market stalls quite freely, sampling Pink Lady apples, lamb burgers, spiced macadamias, dried fruit & nuts, cheeses, honey, olive oils and the odd french pastry or two (okay, we had one whole escargot and palmier):
Amongst other things, we 'somehow' (read 'courtesy of A.') ended up with a bag of apples. What's the big deal with that, right? Well, we were heading back to Melbourne the following day and Victoria has strict rules about bringing in fruit from interstate. I don't think we've eaten quite so many apples in one and a half days before.
Having had our fill at the market, A. & I , made our way towards the Sydney Fish Market on Bank Street, Pyrmont. It was still early enough in the day for the market to be relateively quiet. I expected the market to be a lot bigger than it actually was so it didn't take us long to look around and decide that next time we would stay somewhere with cooking facilities. We had an early lunch of tuna kebab and, of course, grilled fish and golden chips.
Sunday, August 13, 2006
Bye, Lime Leaves...
We've eaten at Lime Leaves about 4 or 5 times but I hadn't gotten around to blogging about it and now it's too late. I would never have ordered 'hawker-style' dishes because they are way more expensive ($16 to $20) and not as authentic as what you would get from somewhere like Penang Coffee House or Rich Maha. However we have been quite pleased by most of the other dishes that we've tried including the crisp-sealed calamari with wild ginger flower dipping sauce and the roast duck salad with nashi pear, green apple, sprout, carrot, mint and lime leaves. I cannot remember the other dishes and they are not on the menu that I'm holding but they were very good. And it's one of the very few Asian restaurants (and in particular Malaysian restaurants) that leans more towards the fine dining end. As much as I love the grottier places around town, it's good to have that choice available especially if you have friends or relatives who are, ahem, shall we say a little fussier?
Lime Leaves also had two of the best cocktails that we'd come across...sob, sob...
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Wedding Dinner at ZINC
The entree of Prawn and Coconut Timbale made with fresh West Australian scampi(there seems to be a theme here!), shredded lime and spiced prawn sauce, did not make for a promising start. I didn't enjoy the mouth-feel of the very mousse-like but bland timbale although A. thought it was fine.
Luckily I gave the main course a chance though. I had a roast eye fillet of beef with caramelised onion and red wine sauce and blue cheese and spinach tart. The steak was cooked to perfection - rare in the middle, beautifully tender - and the blue cheese in the tart gave it a gutsy flavour.
A. had the signature dish called a 'Pair of Pears'. To be honest, I couldn't actually figure out why this name until I went home and downloaded the photo - DUH! Roasted half-boned quail and chicken with pasta dura filling, handmade gnocchi, and lemon thyme jus. The pasta dura filling had a smoky quality that paired very well with the chicken. Overall a greta dish although I did think that the chicken was slightly overcooked.
For dessert, we were served an old-fashioned dark chocolate self-saucing pudding with vanilla ice cream. I certainly don't feel as strongly as Ed about restaurants that serve vanilla ice-cream if it was really creamy vanilla-beany ice-cream however I was left rather uninspired by this one. But...the chocolate pudding, with its steamy, runny chocolate interior hidden by a crusty top, more than making up for it. The buttery shortbread was an unnecessary addition to an already rich enough dessert.
Friday, August 04, 2006
Pre-Wedding Dinner Sapore
We were then off to have drinks at Lionel's - the idea being that we woudl be detoxing with the spa treatment, then toxing right back up again with champagne... - then dinner at Sapore. I don't remember the details about our dishes but here are some photos to share. Our waitress a little put off when we wanted more time to look at the menu, but otherwise the food was perfectly acceptable. I started with oysters while P had salt and pepper calamari, then grilled West Australian scampi for the main while P had gnocchi.