Sunday, 22 March 2015

Pazar Food Collective, Canterbury

At the midst of the busy multi-lane Canterbury Road lies a bustling Pazar Food Collective, a Mexican-Turkish fusion joint. It's loud, there's lots of people, even some standing out the front either waiting for a table or their takeaway. The atmosphere screams "this is the hottest restaurant to be on a Friday night", my partner and I listen though we're wishing we had more people with us since everyone's sharing colourful platefuls of food and all their ten fingers are in use. 

Pazar has an interesting ordering system where you are given their menu and a permanent marker. Once you have decided what you'd like, you colour the number of circles (they're probably meant to be plates) you'd like and hand it over to the waitstaff. I guess it's as self-serve of a system as you can get besides having those touch screen menus at certain Japanese restaurants. Perhaps it's encouraging conversation and engagement around the table as you have to make decisions as a group (there's something about markers that make you think the final answer you mark is in fact "permanent") but I think I prefer interacting with the waiters as you get to gage what their favourites are or what's the most popular dish. 

Another thing to note, this restaurant is cash only. Not my preferred method of payment considering the ease of PayPass and online bank transfers these days, no one really carries cash with them anymore. But I guess since the venue is designed to accommodate large groups of people, it could be easier to split the bill. 

But don't fret if you forget, there is an ATM towards the back of the restaurant, which of course makes us wonder though - does this mean they profit from every one of those cash withdrawal transaction fees?

Beetroot dip, agave walnuts, sheep's feta, $8.00
This is possibly one of the best dips I've had. The beetroot hasn't been pureed but chopped finely and mixed with just enough yoghurt to produce a vibrant fuscia chunky dip. The sheep's feta mellows down the sweetness of the beetroot and gives it seasoning and extra flavour. The candied agave walnuts are crunchy, sticky and sweet, playing along nicely with the rest of the dip. It's not at all heavy and the warm oiled Turkish bread makes an incredible start to the night.

Pide - Mushroom, sage, garlic, haloumi, $20.00
The pide is tastey, has all the ingredients as it reads, mushroom, sage, garlic and haloumi. It all works together to keep the inside moist and flavourful. But I wouldn't say anything really stands out. The haloumi has melted, creating a stretchy stringy filling which isn't how we commonly see this type of cheese cooked. The portion isn't huge so it feels like the another entree more than anything. We both enjoy it but I wouldn't really order it again..

Harissa wood roast chilli chicken, $28.00

Not what what you expect when you read 'Harissa wood roast chilli chicken' on the menu right? We sat there a little confused when our 'chicken' came out. I had a completely different idea of what we were going to get that evening, basically what it said on the menu, a chicken (or even parts of a chicken). Instead we got an expensive kebab which mostly consisted of pickled chilli, olivescoleslaw salad and yoghurt, all under pita bread . Don't get me wrong, the sides were tasty but it's hard to justify paying that price for something unsubstantial. The chicken itself was wood roasted but most of it wasn't even edible because the fat wasn't trimmed off (nor rendered, and clung to very little meat) and we got the backend piece that still had little bits of feathers on it. This was so disappointing, we had tell the staff about it.

We weren't hoping or expecting anything, maybe just a few pieces of chicken that actually had meat. We didn't want a whole new plate. Before we could even anticipate what would happen next, we see the chef walk to our table...

He apologises and immediately offers us more meat, asking if we'd like to try their lamb. We're a bit caught off guard so we accept, appreciative of his personal apology. He then brings us back another plate...  

This plate still consists of salad, sour cream, the infamous chicken and pita bread, but there is an addition of the wood oven smoked lamb shoulder. Unfortunately, the chicken is still the same, still very fatty and there's hardly any meat, but it's the lamb shoulder that we're grateful. The meat is falling apart, definitely packing in the smokey flavour and is served with a salsa-like tomato sauce that adds acidity. It's definitely our preferred meat out of the two, so if anyone can't decide between the two, I suggest going with the lamb.

I first heard about Pazar when reading Not Quite Nigella's post last year, where everything looked enticing and delicious. On our first visit last last year, we loved that it was tasty and punchy in flavour but thought some dishes weren't the best value. However during this recent second visit, it was a bit of a let down as it looks like there's been some portion control (which I understand from the business' perspective) but some of the prices have also risen. Either way, I do enjoy the food but it's hard to overlook the difference between what you anticipate from reading off the menu and what actually arrives to the table. Nonetheless, I will come back for that beetroot dip, even if it's just for takeaway.

325 Canterbury Road

8964 9334

PAZAR Food Collective on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Public Dining Room, Balmoral Beach

It becomes a special occasion when Public Dining Room offers 50% off on food at the end of your meal. We did it last year and no doubt when Dimmi sent me an email with their weekly specials and Public Dining Room was listed, we knew there was no other option but to make reservations and eat our hearts out. But of course with such an epic deal, it never comes easy. 

In order to claim the offer, you need to book via Dimmi or Urbanspoon but for days it told me my chosen date (the offer was limited to Monday, Tuesday or Thursday, before a certain date) was fully booked, which I of course did not believe. So I refreshed it constantly, tried during different times of the day and finally, one day opened up and I booked immediately. I tried to see if any other days were free but nothing. And soon after there were no bookings for any day yet again. It's quite a mystery but was it all worth it?

Candied walnuts, murray river pink salt, $8.00
We decided to go all out and order some snacks to start so we could nibble while we deliberated on the food for the rest of the evening. The candied walnuts are crisp and crunchy, possibly because the nuts were first roasted the sugar syrup may have hardened further. It has the right balance of sweetness from the candy coating and the sprinkling of the Murray River pink salt, making them moreish.

Marinated sa olives $9.00
I did my best to try a couple of these marinated SA olives, as I always give olives a go hoping one day I'll like them. Unfortunately, this was not that day. However my partner did compliment them as they aren't too salty with just enough rosemary flavour coming through, as well as the sweet olive oil coating the skin.

The waitress kindly came over to our table with a plate of warm slices of bread, which looks like rye sourdough though she didn't announce it. It's soft, not too sour and the butter on the table glides on smoothly.

Wild king fish carpaccio, chilli, capers, soy reduction, pomelo, sorrel, wasabi oil, $26.00
The wild king fish carpaccio is just as beautiful as it was delicious to eat. I loved that the king fish isn't sliced paper thin but rather if it was to be served as sashimi. But it's thick enough so it doesn't just melt in the mouth, allowing the slight cured flavours to emerge as you chew and the sweet fish being the predominate taste. Kingfish is my favourite fish to eat at its raw state, as it's lighter in flavour, slightly sweet but also a little tangy. The chilli and capers provide flecks of heat and saltiness to the fish. The soy reduction and wasabi oil mimic balsamic vinegar and olive oil and is the suitable dressing for the fish with the prominent horseradish notes. Bursts of pomelo unexpectedly pop up which is always the best accompaniment to kingfish. The sorrel makes a pretty garnish, tasting like spinach.  

Fried zucchini flowers, ricotta, parmesan, papillon roquefort, celeriac & cabbage remoulade, pangrattato, $24.00
It may not look as appetising as the kingfish but it certainly makes a statement in taste. The fried zucchini flowers are lightly battered and stuffed with ricotta and papillon roquefort, allowing for a crunchy exterior and smooth cheesy centre. The use of the two different cheeses make the filling tasty but not heavy as the ricotta gave it lightness and the blue cheese seasoned it all without dominating. Besides the cheese filling there are also a generous gratings of parmesan that lay over the flowers. All three cheeses manage to shine on their own without clashing against one another. The celeriac and cabbage remoulade provided a crisp salad against the fried zucchini flower and the pangrattato is another textural flavouring element.

Chargrilled chicken breast, skordalia, honey & orange balsamic glazed radicchio, spiced hazelnut & wattleseed, $39.00
My partner ordered the chicken and he enjoyed it but thought the spiced sauce was quite overpowering which I agreed when I tried it. I was hoping to taste more of the chargrilled chicken but it gets slightly lost when there are dominating components on the same plate. There are honey and orange balsamic glazed radicchio, fresh whole fig, spiced hazelnut and wattleseed, and also 'skordalia', thick garlic puree. As much as they compliment each other, it's hard for the chicken to not get lost amongst it all.

Broken nicola potatoes, marjoram butter, $9.00
On the few occasions I was able to take a break from my main, my attention was directed towards these broken Nicola potatoes, the perfect waxy buttery interior against the crispy skin that has slicked with the marjoram butter. I forget how essential it is to choose the appropriate potato depending on what you want to be cooking and what a difference it makes when they're waxy for roasting or starchy for mashing.

Brodetto - italian seafood soup, white fish, prawns, scallops, black mussels, bruschetta, $40.00
I try the soup first and it's rich with the taste of the sea. I forget seafood does get a bit salty so for those with a lighter palette might not enjoy this as much. Besides the saltiness, the tomato, onions and parsley come through in the soup, making it sweet and hearty. There are clamsblack mussels, a giant prawn, a scallop (still beautifully translucent in the middle), barramundi pieces and even salmon - all prepared and cooked perfectly. I cannot praise the chef enough for giving each individual seafood such care and attention. Nothing was rubbery, grainy or dry, they were all cooked as they should be. The bread is thick and soaks up lots of the soup but doesn't get too mushy. It was difficult to finish all the soup but I did, and it was thoroughly satisfying.

Mango & lychee bombe alaska, coconut crumble, green mango, toasted meringue, $18.00
A dessert mainly composed of fruity elements always ensures it's never sickly sweet but light and refreshing which I much prefer finishing with at the end of the meal. This was simply glorious. I immediately break open the bombe alaska casing, a perfectly toasted meringue to reveal mango sorbet and lychee ice cream. In order to truly appreciate the taste of it all, you need to have a spoonful with a little bit of everything: tangy icy mango sorbet, smooth subtly flavoured lychee ice cream and the sweet marshmallow-y meringue. It's simply a tropical party in your mouth. Then of course with all Public Dining Room dishes, there are other textural elements: the coconut crumble that accentuates the tropical flavours further, balled fresh fruit including green mango and also dollops of mango puree. The perfect summer indulgence.  

Textures of chocolate, vanilla creme, hazelnut crumb, passionfruit sorbet, $18.00
Upon choosing this dessert, we interpreted the 'textures of chocolate' in its literal sense, we imagined various chocolate forms on a plate. So when the actual plate came to the table we were a little confused. On the plate lies a quenelled of sour passionfruit sorbet dotted vanilla cream on a floor of gold dusted hazelnut crumb. Now for the main event, the chocolate textured cake slice is rich and decadent. Beneath the dark chocolate casing are layers of white and milk chocolate textures: smooth and creamy perhaps a mousse, something in the middle that I've forgotten, and a biscuit like base. The sorbet contrasts the chocolate textures nicely but I do prefer the bombe alaska - it's really hard not to. 

And to answer the question I asked at the beginning, yes it is. It's hard not to fall in love with the restaurant as it plays out the perfect setting for a beautiful meal. We got to taste some incredible creations that's inspiring and memorable which I'm sure we're going to reflect on for months. A chef's attention to detail doesn't go astray because you find yourself noticing depths of sensations and flavour combinations as you dive further into the dish and uncover more surprises. It becomes something more than just eating but receiving the full experience, the way the chef purposely intended.

2a The Esplanade 
Balmoral Beach

9968 4880

Public Dining Room on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

BahBQ, Crows Nest

In the beginning of the year I mentioned I had a $50 Dimmi reward I'd been meaning to redeem. There's a huge list of places to go and of course, being the most indecisive person, I had so much trouble choosing where to go. Since I had no idea when my reward was going to expire, we decided to just go with somewhere we know we love that has guaranteed great food and a relaxing dining experience. So away we went, booked a table for two at BahBQ in Crows Nest to engorge ourselves with lots of meat.

The thought of eating unlimited amount of Brazilian barbeque meats can be intimidating, but rest assured they give you smaller pieces if that's what you fancy or you can ask for more slices if you're keen for it. For me, it helps that I don't usually much meat, even some days none at all, so it becomes a fun experience as you get to try a little bit of everything. Just remember to take breaks because they can start coming at you from every direction and you haven't even finished what's already on your plate.

You can eat as much meat as you like for $55 per person which is accompanied by condiments and sides, that can be replenished for a little extra. They also have an a la carte menu that offers only five mains as the restaurant predominantly features the traditional Churrasco dining.

Chimichurri, Tomato & Red Pepper Salsa, Chili Jam, Roasted Cassava Flour and Hot Chilli
I didn't partake in trying out these sauces as majority of them are spicy and might deter the original flavour of the spit roasted meat. However I did try the roasted cassava flour, an arrowroot that doesn't give away too much flavour but acts more like a topping to whatever it gets dipped to. And for the rest of the chilli sauces, consume with caution, as they seem to take an eye-watering effect on those who spoon generous amounts and prematurely claim, "Na.. it's not that spicy"...

Fried Polenta, cassava, cheese bread and spiced crumbed banana
Since I didn't eat the fried polenta immediately after we got them, by the time I got around to it, it lost its crisp and is a bit chewy on the outside. The cassava and cheese bread are mellow in flavour, which may have been better eaten with the sauces or alongside the meat - silly of me not to have done so. My favourite was the spice crumbed banana that was sweet and melted, probably resembling something served in a dessert of some kind because it was so caramelised.

Fine herbed rice with toasted almonds
Black bean and streaky bacon stew
Hm, sorry for the blurred photo. I didn't taste the beans this time but when I did on our last visit I enjoyed it as it's not salty and if you have it with the rice, it helps cut through all the seasoning from the meat. Or better yet, have the beans and rice in between bites of meat to even out the saltiness as your taste buds probably need a rest from all the meat. I like the sprinkle of almonds, gives the rice a little something extra.

Creamy potato salad
Along with the mashed potato in the salad, there's also chunks of potato, chives and pieces of bacon. I think lighter and fresher salads may have been a better accompaniment to the meat as it's very salty from the bacon.

Rocket and parmesan salad
The rocket and parmesan salad was a bit too generous on the cheese. I would have preferred just a little as the rocket leaves on its own would've been great for its slight bitterness. Adding slices of pear to the salad would've made it the perfect side.

I had started the meal taking photos of the meat as they arrived one by one. Waiters would come zipping around to your table with long knives skewering the food where they would ask if you'd like any, and if you did, they'd carve slices onto your plate. But soon enough it started getting messy with bones and meat juices spreading all over the plate. I couldn't bring myself posting those photos. I didn't want to make the meat look unappetising since many pieces were heavily charred and often there would pieces of meat I was still in the middle of eating which I had to pause for the arrival of the next meat. I don't think any of you would want to see a plate of bones, some blood juice, half-eaten meat and very dark meat crust, now would you?

So I've tried my best to memorise all the meat we ate that evening:

My craving for steak was definitely satisfied when the beef rump cap came around. However, I got the crust side which is quite seasoned and made it rather salty. But the meat is delicious and flavoursome. Do ask the waiter for the inner slices, it's less salty but it may mean it's rarer.

Beef tri-tip is just as enjoyable as the rump cap, only slightly less juicy. I do like it though and I eat every bite of the piece I ask for.

On my last visit, when the waiter came around with chicken hearts I politely refused, a little afraid. But this time I thought I'd give it a go, at least give it a try. For some reason to me, it tastes kind of like mushrooms. The texture is springy but a little grainy as most offal are. I can't say it's something I'd voluntarily order as the biggest problem I had was I couldn't stop thinking that it was a chicken's heart.

The chicken thighs are tender and succulent. The meat is moist, definitely relieved that they didn't use the breast because with the amount of char, it wouldn't have been nearly as soft inside.

We were both given two chicken wings each and I must say, we wanted more. The marinade is sightly sweet but nicely charred. They're addictive to eat and definitely finger licking.

The chorizo are served as small sausages differing to the usual larger sized sausages that are sliced or chopped into pieces. These are very small and the overly seasoned meat meant I couldn't finish even if they were tiny. Though I'm sure I could've eaten it if it wasn't served on its own.

Whenever haloumi is on any menu, I always order it because it's such a delicious treat that I never eat it at home. The fried haloumi is fried in small pieces, crunchy on the outside and smooth from within. I liked that it wasn't salty at all, making it delectable to eat.

I didn't take a piece of the lamb ribs because I didn't really feel like any as lamb isn't my favourite meat. My partner assured me that it was a good idea I didn't because I wouldn't have enjoyed its rich taste.

We were given another lamb cut, I'm not sure what it was, possibly lamb shoulder (?). I found it a bit gamey but I did finish the piece I sampled.

The pork neck pieces came to the table early on and it was surprisingly moist despite a good dark char on the outside. I believe we asked for seconds when the waiter came back around after we sampled everything to see if we had any favourites we wanted to eat again.

The pork sausages were the first to arrive and it was a great start as the skin's slightly crispy, a bit salty but definitely tasty.

The prawns aren't at all overcooked, remaining juicy and noticeably the more popular skewer of the restaurant since it's the only seafood of the evening. Mmm I wanted some more.

BahBQ's famous spiced pineapple finished off the the meal. I very much enjoyed the slices compared to my last dining experience because my tongue got very furry very quickly. But this time it's soft, juicy and warm. I thought it was so tasty that I asked for another serving. Ahh, I loved it and so glad we ended on it.

This might be a heavy evening of lots of food but I feel like BahBQ is somewhere we can return if we've got a hankering for a lots of variety of meat. Sensibly speaking, we should only have it once or maybe twice a year since it does get pretty heavy and quite salty as I mentioned many times. Though it definitely helps that there's one kind waiter who constantly refills your water glass. The venue aims at large groups as the way the food is served is interactive and generates conversation between the waiters and the diners, but also around the table. If you're a fellow meat eater, give this a go as it's not often you get to eat ten different cuts and types of meat in one sitting.

35 Albany Street
Crows Nest

9966 8203
BahBQ Brazilian Grill on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Marigold, Haymarket

Back in January when my parents asked me where I wanted to go for my birthday, I thought long and hard. As I child, going out for meals was a treat and it'd always be at a Chinese restaurant. But as we've grown up we've branched out to try different cuisines and have been a little more creative with where we go. So with the urge to reminisce and having a huge hankering to eat squab (pigeon), we decided with Marigold, somewhere I knew my parents would take initiative when ordering while I sat back and anticipated. 

Fresh pippies with XO sauce, 855g for $58.14, extra noodles $10.00
An oldie but definitely a goodie, a classic dish that is always so satisfying and delicious - this was no different. Every morsel of pippie is sweet and plump. The small shells are just big enough to hold some sauce, allowing every mouthful to pack a punch. The XO sauce is probably home made, using plenty of garlic, chilli, dried scallop and dried shrimp (but this isn't strong as only its saltiness that is present). Plenty of spring onions are scattered all over, giving it an extra kick of its own fresh zing. For a bit extra, you can add some vermicelli noodles that that is partially fried, making it crispy, and with the other side remaining soft, soaking up all the saucy goodness. But of course if you're already having plain white rice, the sauce can easily be mopped up that way too.

Squab, $26.80
Whenever I tell friends that I love to eat pigeon, they always make a funny face and ask if I eat the ones that fly about in Hyde Park. I understand that this is not to everyone's taste, especially since many see them as scummy rats with wings roaming around the streets. But I assure you that if you like the taste of roast duck, you might appreciate my love for eating squab (it sounds slightly better).

Dad kindly asked the waiter for the squab to not be divided and cut up, since I wanted to eat it whole, all to myself. I must admit, I was demolishing it in most unlady-like manner as I used both hands, all ten fingers and pulling it apart bit by bit. But it was certainly the most satisfying way of eating it. It was rather disappointing when I discovered the meat was dry which really didn't do it for me. The meat wasn't juicy or succulent and the flavour wasn't enough to make it up. 

Sweet and sour pork, $22.00

I must admit, I actually didn't eat one piece of pork as I was busy eating away the pigeon. There's actually two versions of this dish that can be ordered, differing by the cuts of the pork; one is spare ribs and the other is more like a pork belly. We think they must have gotten it wrong because Mum had ordered the spare ribs which usually is leaner but juicier as it's usually still attached to the bone. However when I eventually got around to it, Mum told me not to bother trying since it was fatty with hardly any meat on it, along with being cold since I left it too late. This is also disappointing since this is usually Mum's favourite and it's another miss for the evening.

Stir-fried gai lan with ginger, $18.00
Gai lan is quite a bitter vegetable so by stir-frying it with a lot of ginger, it helps counteract the bitterness and makes it really tasty. The gai lan is still crunchy so it's easy to munch on and gives your mouth a flavour break from all the other dishes. 

The beauty about ordering at Chinese restaurant is you can ask what vegetables they've stocked up on for the night, see what tickles your fancy and then decide how you'd like it prepared; stir-fried with garlic, cooked in chicken soup, add fresh seasonal mushrooms or take on whatever the waiter suggests might go with the veg, depending if they're the bitter or sweeter kind. It ensures what you eat is the best and of your own choosing.

Complimentary fruit and dessert
Most Chinese restaurants provide complimentary food and dessert at the end of the meal and Marigold's miniature pineapple buns are certainly a favourite of ours. Everything is better when it comes in a mini size as it makes it super cute but also easy to eat, leaving you wanting a full-size one. It's warm, soft in texture and just melt in your mouth. There's a little bit of the usual sweet filling inside, a one-mouthful dessert that is just sweet enough. The sweet cake is nice, spongey, light and also not overly sweet.

The fruit is fruit, it's usually not bad since it's whatever fruit is in season but of course there's the occasional dud watermelon. I'm not a huge fan of the sweet potato in sweet ginger soup, not because it's bad but I find it difficult to enjoy vegetables in a sweet gingery broth as a dessert. The dessert that Chinese restaurants usually make is red bean soup, or if you're really really lucky, glutinous balls with black sesame filling in ginger soup, which may sound a bit odd but I can associate more as sweet dessert flavours. But of course I get a slap on the wrist for complaining about complimentary dessert.

There's something about eating at a Chinese restaurant that holds a special place in my heart. Whether it's the grand decor, the rude (not always intentionally, it's just part of their efficiency) or sometimes quirky service from waiters, the complimentary soup (if you're lucky, which we were not this time) and dessert, or the flexible 'made to order' dishes, it's a truly unique dining experience that differs from any other cuisine.

Level 4 & 5
Citymark Building
683-689 George Street 

9281 3388

Marigold Citymark on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Yekinköy, Enmore

If you've ever walked from Newtown to Enmore, it's hard not to notice Yekinköy, with its outdoor seating area and the array of smoke coming from the nargiles. My friend passes the restaurant every day on her way to class and the other day she finally bit the bullet and made reservations for a lovely double date evening with us. 

Since there are not many reviews online, when it came to ordering we asked the waitress for some pointers on their most popular dishes and asked her questions on items on the menu that we were unsure of. She seemed a bit dazed and confused but managed to set us up for a little feast - maybe we were the ones confusing her.

Dips with Turkish bread

Four generous sized bowls came to the table on a wooden plank, filled to the brim with various dips. We weren't told what each of them were so it became a guessing game. From left to right we thought the first was a beetroot dip, the second hummus, third tzaziki and we were a bit puzzled by the last one. It's light green as it might've been avocado but the texture is yoghurt-y. All of the dips are quite tasty but the bread to dip ratio wasn't quite right so we had to order a bit more bread in attempt to finish the dips off.

I have completely forgotten what this dish is called but I do remember this was the key dish they recommended. This arrives with the bread and we're already intrigued by it and how it might taste. Lots of ingredients are used here which means flavours hit us from every direction. The lamb is quite gamey in taste but it's soft and not chewy. The addition of yoghurt and parsley cover anything that you might find overpowering. Along with these toppings, beneath the lamb are roasted eggplants that simply melt and fall apart. It's not bad but we all expected to be a little bigger since it was a main.

Apricot rice
Even though it was an accompaniment to the lamb we all managed to get a full mouthfuls and it worked deliciously well. For someone who doesn't like dried fruit, the little jewels of dried apricot and sultanas dispersed throughout the rice really works, as it's unexpected and makes plain rice a little more interesting.

Ocean rolls, $21.00
I wanted to order this because HeNeedsFood made the ocean rolls look heavenly and inviting. However when this was brought out to the table, it looked nothing like what I saw and the menu's description of '"organic shaved pastry” filled with pan-fried calamari, sautéed vegetables and herbs' was definitely lost on me.

I'm a huge fan of calamari (squid, octopus and all those delicious sea creatures) but I was finding it hard to come across any in the ocean rolls. My fellow diners said every bite was overpowered by the flavour of calamari yet they couldn't see actual pieces of it. I'm hoping it wasn't frozen-calamari-rings-defrosting-liquid we were tasting. The pastry isn't flaky and it was much more like bread than any sort of pastry I know. The vegetables inside, mostly tomato, lack in flavour and isn't at all inspiring. I was a bit disappointed with this as it read deliciously on paper.

Cocktail koftas
This was a complete surprise of a dish, a very pleasant surprise. When we were ordering at the beginning of the meal we asked the waitress what would be in it and she told us there would be five small koftas and nothing else. So we were all expecting a small plate with five sad koftas. But in came a big terracotta dish with a lot more than what we were expecting - even a side salad!

The koftas are quite pungent in flavour but the extra extra features that come with it easily mask it. Along with the meat are lots of stewed tomatoes, as well as layers of potato, eggplant and chilli. It's so hearty and very filling - a great sharing dish for several people to dig into. The cucumber, tomato and red onion salad is dressed well with olive oil and parsley - can't go wrong with all those ingredients.

The menu is filled with hearty food and some dishes seem to arrive a little differently (good and bad) to what you read and expect. But it's good fun as it's all about gathering a group of people and sharing a meal together rather than everyone eating off their own plates. It's a nice place to spend an evening chatting amongst friends over food and enjoying the light during the summer evenings. 

480 King Street

8283 1921

Yeniköy Cafe & Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Ripples Chowder Bay, Mosman

If you're not arriving to Chowder Bay by water taxi or with someone who's been to Ripples before, you might not know that you need to walk to the edge of the platform, down a set of large steep stairs before arriving to the beautifully lit restaurant. 

Well I certainly didn't. I was a little distracted by the two butterflies fluttering on the grass before I found myself walking in the direction of the water and locating this sign, a very necessary pointer for someone who has little to no direction-sense. 

This was the perfect setting to spend an evening with Mum celebrating her birthday after a long, stressful day at work. I was immediately relaxed and the view allowed me to forget everything that happened during the day. 

Mum heard good things about this place, good food, great view and an extra bonus, it was a Dimmi compatible restaurant where she could redeem the easily sought out $50 voucher that I've previously mentioned.

Cured Ocean Trout with Avocado mousse, fried shallots, black sesame, lemon, chilli & parsley dressing, $20.00 
To our surprise the entree comes out very quickly. The ocean trout is cured with lemon and is sprinkled with fried shallots, black sesame, lemon, chilli and parsley. The chilli doesn't have much of a kick as the seeds have been removed, so it's all more for texture and colour than actual extra seasoning. The fish is light and fresh but I would have preferred if there were a few more pieces. The avocado mousse also has a lot of lemon juice, which may have been a better contrast if they had a lighter hand since everything else also had lemon.

Whole baby snapper with white wine, chilli, garlic, parsley, $34.00
I had been craving for steamed whole fish for the last few of months, so I was very excited when I saw this on the menu, I knew I had to get it. The baby snapper is the perfect size and is prepared and served very simply but is very tasty. Covering the fish are diced chilli, garlic and parsley, and it reminds me of the previous course I had just ate. Beneath the snapper is a very buttery white wine sauce. The amount of butter in the sauce is definitely a bit indulgent but it goes so well with the perfectly cooked white fish that I think of it as a mid-week treat. 

When I finish one side of the snapper, the waitress kindly offers to debone it, making it much easier to finish having to dig through the itty bitty bones.

Ocean trout with spinach and ricotta gnocchi, crème fraiche, salmon roe, snow pea shoots, $32.00
The ocean trout is cooked beautifully and eaten with the crème fraiche makes a perfect combination. It might've been a little more creative if they added something else to the crème fraiche, maybe some chives just to lighten it all and throw in some extra flavour. The decorative features of salmon roe and snow pea shoots do add a little something, but some more substantial greens may have done the job to complete this dish.

Mum wasn't a fan of the spinach and ricotta gnocchi so she gave me one of the two and unfortunately I wasn't crazy about it either. It's very odd as it tastes of mashed potato but is slightly stodgy from the flour and there is no spinach flavour. They're also very large and there was no way I could've eaten in it mouthful. The green colouring from the spinach is stunning but it was under-seasoned and not at all fluffy which is usually expected from gnocchi.

Steamed green beans with chilli, lemon oil, $9.00 
Since there were minimal vegetables that came with the mains, we decide to order a side of steamed green beans. The waitress assures us "it'll take 45 seconds" so we'll be able to get have it with our meal. It comes out a few minutes later and they're crunchy, seasoned with mild chilli and lemon oil.

Soft chocolate mousse, salted caramel sauce, white chocolate milk crumbs, banana gelato, peanut brittle, $15.00
By the time the dessert came, Mum and I were definitely in a 'eyes bigger than stomach' situation. Even though we preceded to yelp 'I'm so full' after every mouthful we both managed to polish both desserts off, but dearly regretting it during the drive home.

The soft chocolate mousse is smooth and very rich yet the dark chocolate made it bearable as it isn't overly sweet. I really enjoy the salted caramel sauce as it's exactly that and tastes great with the banana gelato. The banana flavour isn't very strong, slightly watery in taste and resembles essence rather than the actual fruit. The white chocolate milk crumbs doesn't really taste much of white chocolate, but just of a buttery shortbread biscuit. The sprinkles of peanut brittle give texture and makes the whole dessert even richer. This was definitely a dessert for someone with a sweet-tooth as I definitely struggled to finish it all.

Yoghurt panna cotta, dried figs, orange, almond biscuit, fig vinocotto, $15.00
Since this was the dessert Mum chose, I left it all for her to consume. I also wasn't that curious about it but I did manage to get a small spoonful in just to see how it all paired. The yoghurt panna cotta is slightly tangy and the consistency is smooth. The orange jelly contrasts slightly against the panna cotta, but it's the dried figs and fig vinocotto that draws it all together. The almond biscuit is a nice crumbly feature against the other components. It's a pleasant dessert but the flavours aren't my favourite so I'm not the best judge for it, Mum did enjoy it though. 

The view is definitely something you don't get tired of looking at. Even though it was cloudy, I actually found it much more mesmerising. This is a beautiful spot to spend an evening, whether it's a romantic one with a loved one, an indulgent treat for friends and family or a pleasant gathering for a special occasion. The food is simply prepared, allowing the key ingredients to speak for itself. I like that it's peaceful as it ensures a comfortable and relaxed dining experience.

Ripples Chowder Bay
Building 7, Deck C,
Chowder Bay Rd, 

9960 3000

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