Friday, 31 October 2008

Shanghai Night

The name bears no similarities to the horrible sequel to Shanghai Noon. It’s Jackie Chan Asian (though not from his part of China) soul food that’s churned out of the kitchens. Raw (well not literally, be assured it’s thoroughly cooked) stuntman honesty and provides the same cheap (and I mean cheap), fun entertaining thrills. Thinly sliced new year glutinous rice cake and hand made noodles are as slippery to catch as Keung and yet remaining Dragon punch firm, stir fried with strips of pork and wom bok. Pork and chive dumplings, steamed or fried are Sammo Hung plump, pan fried pork buns topped with sesame seeds are a must. Splash with Chinese vinegar to give both a roundhouse kick to the face. Quality broth keeps the meat filling warm in the siu lung bao, but be careful, it has as much fire and heat as a fight sequence with the Drunken Master.

For the after mains, my favourite Asian desert ingredient, the sweetened red bean is mashed into a paste and squished between a flour batter and fried to a crisp, the maroon gel oozing when split. Whilst the fare is no where near as elaborate as the stunts performed by the nice guy from Hong Kong, for the price of admission to see some of his great films, you’re guaranteed an equally great meal.

3.5 / 5 yums!
Where? 275 Liverpool Road, Ashfield, NSW
What? Under $10

Left to Right : New Year Rice Cake, Pork Dumplings, Pan Fried Pork Buns, Siu Lung Bao, Fried Red Bean Slice

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

San Churro

This Mediterranean chocolate paradise snugly fits into the eclectic foodscape on Glebe Point Road, perfect for that after meal sugar hit or anytime you want a legal high. To think of it, I couldn’t care less where they served the deep fried horns of piped dough, golden brown crispy on the outside yet cloudy fluffy on the in, dusted with icing sugar and served with a chocolate dipping sauce of either dark, milk or really milky. Playing second fiddle to the main attraction are some equally addictive treats made with chocolate modelled in the form of cakes, ice cream or drinks. Much better than Cadbury pieces also on display, a selection of gourmet creations for you to take home and snuggle.
3 / 5 yums!
Where? 47 Glebe Point Rd, Glebe, NSW
What? Under $10

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Saap Thai

Saap Thai, an established city eatery, a top 10 choice amongst the cost conscious and student crowd looking for a quick feed. There’s a Franklins feel to the place with its squeaky clean and inoffensively fitted slender shop. All the Thai regulars are here so with no surprises. The flavours don’t have the depth churned out by other Thai places located within a whips crack but no complaints, it is no frills after all.

2 / 5 yums!
Where? 378 Pitt St, Sydney, NSW
What? Most under $12

Monday, 27 October 2008

Roof Bar

Float above the smog of the Sydney CBD, the Roof Bar facing Pitt Street Mall is the perfect place to sneak a few cheeky ones in at lunch or during your “coffee” break. If the heat during summer is too much, stay inside in the lounge areas with the stunning views of Bing Lee below. But you’re not a wimp who wastes the precious Sydney sun... are you? So grab your chosen poison and head outside as there are plenty of heat retaining black outdoor settings shaded by oversized beer sponsored umbrellas to block out the UV rays. Bar food that really only plays a support act to the venue and the booze, there are your typical pizzas, chips and wedges available. For lunch, the grilled chicken burger between a couple of suspect buns but at least contains fresh gourmet leaves comes with crisp yet overly oily chips, the same with the greasy battered fish with a store bought tartare that leaves one’s face feeling as though it’ll break out like a voice breaking young lad. Unforgettable bar, forgettable food.

1.5 / 5 yums!
Where? Skygarden, 77 Castlereagh St, Sydney, NSW
What? Bar Meals $10ish

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Ria Sari

Ria Sari, sitting at the gutter along Barkers Road. You’ve probably driven past it dozens of times but never ever thought about it. And I don’t blame you. The shopfront is certainly not flattering, neither the aged and neglected lino, heavily utilised tables and chairs draped by faded plastic tablecloths often found at your grand’s place.

But the smells and the sight of the food from Padang (the city of West Sumatra, Indonesia) that’s richer than a Trump makes one turn a blind eye to the d├ęcor. On rice, sample the range of curried fried egg, sambal hard boiled egg, fried fish, curried beef and stewed vegetables amongst others. Not only might it clog an artery or two, it’ll also singe the tongue courtesy of the chilli and spices. Quench the thirst with what could be mistaken as tadpoles but is actually basil seeds and sugar syrup in a classic ice cream sundae glass.

Returning to Ria Sari, I wouldn’t think twice.

3 / 5 yums!
Where? Barkers Road, Kensington, NSW
What? Under $10

Friday, 17 October 2008

Melbourne Dining Scene Update

As there has been a lack of posts lately I thought I'd pipe up with a little something. Our main contributor has been MIA, hopefully not for too long!

As an update on the Melbourne Dining Scene, I've had the privilege of eating at a number of various places mostly great - no pictures but quick updates!

- Bistro Guillaume: I’ve been lucky enough to visit this place twice since it’s opening, and both times definitely been impressed. There is a definite opulence with the surroundings, juxtaposed against a mainly simple (read Traditional) French menu. Highlights include; scallops with the cauliflower veloute, the most extravagant fish and chips in Melbourne, and the mushroom risotto. Deserts, aligned to the rest of the menu – kept simple, however unfortunately not as memorable. (9/10/08)

3.5 / 5 Yums

- Cummulus Inc: When will us Melbourians get sick of these hidden alley way food serving bar venues? If they continue along the same lines as Bar Lourinha, Movida, and now Cummulus – hopefully never. Owned by Andrew McConnell of Circa & 312 fame – the menu centres around small dishes designed to share. There is an obvious focus on procuring great produce with whole menu sections devoted to freshly shucked oysters & another devoted to smallgoods – both worth trying. Even better in my opinion are the dishes in the small/large dishes section – my only regret is that I couldn’t order everything in these sections. A must have is the Cured Ocean Trout with liquorice and apple – easily one of the best things I have eaten this year. Restaurants like this add to the reason why Melbourne is the best city in the world. (13/10/08)

4 / 5 Yums

- Rockpool Bar: Some say that Andrews in Albert Park make the best burgers in Melbourne. For traditionalists, they could be right – but like most things, innovation & tweaking eventually makes things better (I guarantee they make Spag Bol here better than 95% of the mothers in Italy – contrary to what any arrogantly ignorant Italians tell you). The burger here is made with minced Wagyu, gruyere cheese, along with the other usual additions this burger is definitely the best I’ve had (better than Vue/Andrews/Urban Burger/Maccas). The full restaurant menu is available – the steaks are another highlight, along with the 4 tastes of the sea and the Mac & Cheese. Other highlight: Desert – strawberry salad with pannacotta and rose granita should not be passed up. (14/10/08)

3.5 / 5 Yums

- Ezards: My 4th visit to this Melbourne institution came with the heightened expectation of being completely blown away on my previous three visits. Would it live up to expectation or would I be completely let down? All I can say is that this place not only lived up to my expectation but cemented the place as my favourite restaurant ever. Ranked only 26 in the Australian Gourmet Traveller Guide – in my opinion the experience at Ezard surpasses what I have received at VDM and Tetsuya (4th and 3rd respectively). I won’t go through the big flavoured 8 course degustation – but the classics (Oyster Shooter & Duck) and the subtly changing support cast (Seasame Pannacotta with Sashimi, or Blue Swimmer Crab Sandwiched between two pieces of Toro) continue to delight. There were no low points to the restaurant, the service friendly but professional and unpretentious wine service, suggested to meet taste and budget. Ezard continues to go from strength to strength and I hope that it sticks around for another 10 excellent years. (15/10/08)

5 / 5 Yums
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