Thursday, 23 April 2009

Sydney Fish Markets

“Mine Mine Mine Mine Mine Mine Mine” you’ll hear a lot of that from those pesks of the sky ready to swoop on your remains at the Sydney Fish Markets in Pyrmont. So the wharf’s boardwalks might be a bit aged and appear unsafe for human weight, the sun faded umbrellas covering the metal outdoor sets feel prison standard fittings and the town’s more famous chefs take issue with the funky smells from the water, but it’s still a damn cool place to chill and enjoy some of the freshest seafood in town. Oysters, sliced tuna and salmon sashimi from Claudio’s, or from inside the fried calamari, with chips, oysters mornay and kilpatrick, there’s something there for everyone. Ensure you get enough for your group, the calls for mine for rights on the last pieces won’t just be coming from those seagulls.

3 / 5 yums!
Where? Pyrmont Bridge Rd, Pyrmont, NSW

St James Hotel

From Mia Thermopolis to Princess of Genovia, a similar make over performed, transforming the once grudgey watering hole on Castlereagh Street and putting the Saint in front of the James Hotel. It’s regal bling with the chandeliers, noble crested patterned wallpaper, metallic crest textured wallcoverings and marble round tables makes the place rather plush. Don’t expect five star food however. Regular pub grub is on the menu, at slightly inflated prices. The steak pretty good, a promise of certified angus is cooked to order on a slap of spud mash with a choice of gravy. St James Hotel, it’s Anne Hathaway glamour with a down to earth Aussie heart.

2.5 / 5 yums!
Where? 114 Castlereagh Street, Sydney, NSW
What? Steak $10.90

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Soup Bar

MORE SOUP FOR YOU! A 180 from Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi, despite the masses and cramped working conditions in the shoebox shop at Melbourne’s Centre Place laneway, the staff remain ever so friendly and polite. Black cauldrons, contents painted on the front, act as the menu board, so no excuses when it’s your turn to order or risk the wrath of the line behind. Take away pumpkin, chunky beef and veg, potato, leek and bacon amongst others or sit in if there’s space and don’t mind rubbing shoulders with a stranger. Could be the poor man’s Lavalife to meet new people. Power to the soup.

3 / 5 yums!
Where? Centre Place, Melbourne, VIC

Spanish Tapas

Richmond Tigers FC. Sydney Roosters. Promising but delivering little. Much like Spanish Tapas on Glebe Point Road. That is if you go there for the food. The beer and sangria banquet, it’s a different story. On this deal, the focus is definitely on the booze, the food gets the Grade 1 “at least you tried” consolations. Not that you really care as you get sloshed on the free flowing Palma Louca and fruit infused Jesus juice. Eating is cheating but irrelevant when the portions of a liquidy stewed squid, fried potatoes, fried calamari rings, creamy garlic mushrooms and a biteless chorizo barely satisfy. But that is true tapas, small portions with your drink. Adding to the Spanish villa feel, the flamenco dancers, who give the planks a real heel pounding, put on a mid-dinner show for rowdy patrons. Can’t trust footy clubs to deliver fans a title, but you can rely on Spanish Tapas to send you on your way to past 0.05.

1.5 / 5 yums!
Where? 26 Glebe Point Road, Glebe, NSW
What? Beer and Sangria Banquet $55

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Slip Inn

Oh how I wish I was an elegant brunette from Tasmania with an extremely refined Australian accent. Perhaps then I might find happiness. Though as luck would have it, I’m doubtful that I’ll ever have a chance meeting with a Prince at Slip Inn. I can only dream.

Yes, Slip Inn is the famous bar where Mary and Freddy met during the Sydney Olympics. Or so I’m told. Of all the Merivale owned places, this is one the few I won’t boycott. A relaxed atmosphere, with plenty of mini stools and tables, couches, a few arcade machines and an even better beer garden downstairs, one of the best places to chill if you can find space on a hot day. Meal times provide more than enough options, a Western menu of the usual pub favourites including a beefy nachos, beef burger and chips, steak sanga, and Caesar salad. Jumping on the Thai bandwagon and exploiting Sydney’s love affair with the South East Asian cuisine, find average cashew nut chicken, a weak red curry, overly sweet pad thai along with other typical dishes.

That said, you might not find a prince charming here, or the food too charming, but happiness can be found at the bottom of a tall, cold schooner of beer under the summer sun.

2.5 / 5 yums!
Where? 111 Sussex St, Sydney, NSW

Si Chuan Restaurant

If DIY cooking with a boiling pot of soup in the middle of the table with a bunch of mates is your idea for a meal, then GET LOST. Just joking. It’s hot pot action at Si Chuan Restaurant in one of many Sydney Chinatown hubs at Burwood.

Half chicken of stock and jujubes (red dates), half spicy with plenty of dried chilli and garlic cooking soups is a good option. There is no shame in going for the extra mild soup, as how they consider the heat of normal to be “normal” is beyond me, unless they have developed iron cast stomachs. The menu checklist standard issue, fish, shrimp, beef and pork balls, dumplings, beef and pork slices, mushrooms, tofu and noodles are all there to choose from.

What you won’t have a choice in is the smell that you’ll leave with, which calls for a DIY washing job. Your mates probably won’t help you with that one.

2.5 / 5 yums!
Where? 246-248 Burwood Rd, Burwood, NSW

Monday, 20 April 2009


Ever found yourself salivating watching those cheesy commentators devour the food on Iron Chef? Well walk down Market Lane, and next to the Flower Drum we have own very own Kitchen Stadium in Melbourne - Shoya.

A split level restaurant, we make our way to the "fine dining" middle floor where we are seated at the sushi bar by our polite, professional waiters. We order a bottle of wine from the short but sharp list, and decide to indulge on the 9 course Omakase.

We wait with bated breath - and soon enough, a procession of innovative, unique and delicious dishes start to arrive. They are amazing in presentation, flavour, textures and smells - with an obvious dedication to ingredients and produce. The food at Shoya had the risk of falling into alarming and pretentious, but to our delight it was uniquely amazing.

Just like in Iron Chef, there was no budget or expense spared in the creation of the dishes. We were treated to salmon cappacio topped with truffle, Unagi topped with foie gras, Toro & other sushi in a bowl made of solid ice, a huge leg of Japan Imported tempura crab, and eventually the meal cumulated in a delicious cut of Wagyu Sirlion served in a sweet sticky sauce liberally topped with black truffle & a slab of foie gras.

My experience at Shoya surpassed the one i had at Tetsuya. The meal had the experimental elemental of VDM, whilst staying true to the confines of traditional Japanese food. One of the most pleasant meals and experiences I have had the pleasure of having in a very long time.

Pictures stuck on phone - still trying to work out how to download:

Please see tummyrumbles blog for some similar pictures:

4.5 / 5 yums!

? 25 Market Lane, Melbourne 3000
What? Entrees $15, Mains $30, Degustation $100-$150

Friday, 17 April 2009

Shack 68

What gets expelled out of a dog’s behind? Poo Poo. The exact two word adjective that could be used to describe this diner and what gets produced from the kitchen. With a name like Shack 68, a modest tone tone is set. And you shouldn’t expect much either. In fact, just hope you make it out of this place. Alive. Be lucky if you only suffer from mild poisoning. The chef was having a good night.

In the renovated art deco room, be treated to food you wouldn’t even serve to the inmates at Alcatraz let along the hogs at farmer McDonald’s ranch up in Joadja. On toasted slices of soy and linseed baguette, there’s a low fat cottage cheese, chopped tomato and chopped chives. Lacked seasoning. Moroccan carrot and orange salad, supposed to be a light, fresh way to begin a meal however experience using a food processor would have been handy. Syrian chicken a flavour explosion in the mouth, but it was fingers crossed it wouldn’t have resulted in a toilet bowl explosion later on. Chemoula coated tuna didn’t need the heat of the Sahara, overcooked completely destroying the expensive steaks from the sea and making it as dry as the desert. Using a get out of jail card, the desserts save the Shack’s blushes. Banana pancakes with hazelnut gelato from Newtown’s award winning Gelatomassi passable, the honey spiced parfait okay. It’s a good thing this place no longer exists. The mediocracy could spread to other parts of Sydney.

0 / 5 yums!

Note: The chef is this writer.
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