Tag Archives: dining

The first month in London

A month has rolled by pretty quickly and I think that’s because I’ve got a lot of my life admin sorted and started the focus on looking for jobs. I’m pretty keen to get started as soon as possible so I can get some income over the Christmas period, without a job now would probably mean no work until early February (which on top of the trip back for the weddings would mean March!).

Interestingly enough, I always wanted to go back to being a Business Analyst, simply because it’d be easier to contract but I haven’t had a great call back rate. Funnily enough, applications for Product Owner roles have had much greater success, not sure if there’s less supply for the role here, or recruiters are more focussed on my most recent experience.

I’ve found a more permanent home as well, it’s a room shared with 3 others right next to Old Street station. Few things that made me choose it; first the dates lined up perfectly with the end of my Airbnb and giving a day overlap to make moving easier. Two, it’s a short lease period, 3 months and to get out you only need a month’s notice after that. Thirdly, the space itself was decent, might sound silly, but the fact it had a living room and a decent sized kitchen was a winner.

Some photos from the listing:

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A Lot.1 of food

I’ve never had so much food from a set menu/degust before. Lot.1 on York St in the Sydney CBD was the venue of choice to mark 4.5 years of K and I. Having read good things and recommended by a good friend, it was time to give it a go ($20 back from AMEX and Dimmi helps too).

It was already pretty late for a dinner and the waitress did hint the 5 course option but we opted for the 7, seemed like decent value at $95.

First up, oysters, 2 each. Standard with lemon, nothing exciting.

Next up, chargrilled prawns with cumquat and bottarga. Cooked medium rare with good charring on the outside. The citrus in the cumquat gel was a great condiment.

A delay in service of this dish meant they gave us free champagne! Was mighty impressed with the attentiveness, we didn’t even make a comment or complaint!

The wagyu carpaccio was next and I was glad as it was one of the menu items I really wanted to try. Served with a pecorino cheese gelato and goji berries. The cheese just fused with the wagyu’s fat and the goji berries added a nice sweetness and crunch. It was excellent!

That was it for entrees. Next was mains, the Cavatelli, a pasta dish that reminded me of the Sepia forest floor dessert, except with pasta that looked a little like worms. Served with porcini cream, mushrooms and nutmeg. The taste of the mushroom really came through. A bit mixed on the pasta but overall still good.

Time for some protein, swordfish was up first and it was almost like a steak. The fish was quite salty but complimenting well with the sweet sauce and grilled bell peppers.

Pork neck came next and served with curly and super crunchy crackling. The fennel was a nice touch and it was cooked to perfection, really tender.

By this point we were super full and was hoping or assuming that this was the last dish, it was not. A plate of wagyu steak came out and while I really wanted this too, at this point I was about to explode. The Asian in me pushed on and I had 3 pieces, it was really tasty and the shaved carrots had a great colour and texture.

Overall really enjoyed this place and would recommend. Think the menu was adjusted for allergies but I think normally you’d still get 3 mains. The interior is nice with nice touches of colour, exposed brick and beams, makes for nice photos.

Dimmi also has limited number of 30% off deals for weekday bookings (don’t forget to link and use your Amex too).

Chophouse – H1M

Tonight I was at Chophouse for some delicious steak with the missus – it’s only been a month, but it’s simply been amazing. Both as lovers of steak, it felt appropriate to visit Chophouse, I’ve heard good things about the steak here and it was time for a visit.

The entree was a different take on your regular kingfish sashimi with the addition of basil, apple and a chilli lime coconut cream dressing. Personally I think it’s a winner and dressed sashimi leaves a lot of room for creativity and chophouse does this very well.

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Mains were a difficult choice between the differing varieties of steak, while the menu is rather compact, there is enough cuts and meat grades to keep everyone happy. I opted for a wagyu ‘striploin’ with a bacon mayonnaise. Interestingly enough, it had come out with a slice of lemon and while I generally like a good steak pretty bare, the lemon did add an extra dimension to the taste. The steak was cooked to a perfect medium rare with the fat on the rim cooked to perfection to add to the rich taste.

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For the missus, a grass fed fillet on the bone was also excellently cooked and the meat was super tender. A small side of Chutney was included which I think complimented the steak extremely well and very different do your usual sauces, which I think is never required with a good steak.

photos by ntranced photography (facebook.com/ntrancedphotography

Both came with a little bit of red wine jus to give a bit of extra flavour without sacrificing the meat’s natural flavours. You can see how evenly the meat is cooked.

photos by ntranced photography (facebook.com/ntrancedphotography

Shoe string fries were orded as a side however they were nothing special.

photos by ntranced photography (facebook.com/ntrancedphotography

For dessert, I had opted for a dark chocolate ice cream sandwich, I personally found the taste of it to be too heavy and the biscuit a too dense for a plated dessert. Personally I’d rather a maxibon.

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For the missus, it would be a white chocolate and ricotta mouse topped with cherries and biscotti on the side. I thought the mousse was delicious and the cherry compliments the sweetness of the mousse well and makes sure it doesn’t over power your taste buds. Forget the biscotti, I don’t think it adds much value to the dish.

photos by ntranced photography (facebook.com/ntrancedphotography

Overall I loved the ambience of Chophouse, it has a rustic, slightly raw and aged feel and I’d definitely recommend giving it a visit and definitely a great place to take that special someone if you’re after something more substantial.

It’s located at 25 Bligh Street in Sydney (a little further north from Martin Place). It’s a tad pricey, but I think it’s worth it, our date ended with a $190 bill which included the entree, two mains, a side of fries, two cocktails and two desserts.

misschu – Bondi Beach

Being summer, it’s hard to stray far from the beaches and not many are better than Bondi beach, the nice thing about Bondi is a large variety of shopping and restaurants, I decided to visit a nice little Vietnamese joint called misschu – queen of rice paper rolls.

It’s got a somewhat rustic feel inside and out which gives a nice casual atmosphere. There’s an outdoor seated area which is reminiscent of the street stores of Vietnam and in the winter time, blankets are provided to keep you warm! How awesome is that?!

Well the food? The food here does stay pretty traditional with a few variations on your true Vietnamese dishes, to start we had a few rice paper rolls, the first was the Tiger Prawn & Green mango and the second was the Roast Duck & Banana Flower.

Both rolls are filled with the traditional herbs; spear mint, thai basil, Vietnamese mint, purple perilla, etc. The result is an explosion of flavour in your mouth when combined with the hoisin/peanut sauce and fish sauce. Light and refreshing in flavour, great for a summery entree.

The mains we decided upon were the Vietnamese crepe/pancake – Banh Xeo with both pork and prawns and also the barbeque chicken.

For those that don’t know, the Banh Xeo is a yellow savoury crepe filled with prawns and pork as well as bean sprouts (or similar variations) fried in a skillet and folded in half. Here are misschu you’re presented with the banh xeo, a variety of herbs and lettuce, rice paper and fish sauce.

To eat it, you wet the rice paper in the warm water provided, add your lettuce and herbs and the banh xeo, wrap it up and dip. Taste wise it’s delicious and tastes very homely, the crepe has a nice crunch and there’s a decent amount of filling to keep you satisfied.

The barbeque chicken is pretty well cooked with a nice charcoal flavour, it’s served on a bed of lettuce and complimented with some cucumber and picked carrots and radish as well as some fish sauce. Flavours are mild but it makes for a refreshing dish.

Drinks wise we enticed ourselves to some cocktails, one was a lychee and mint crush with vodka while the other was a pineapple and mint crush with white rum. Lychee was the better pick with as it seemed to mesh better with the mint infused.

Other quirks of the restaurant? They provide delivery on scooters, so if you’re rather local to one of them, you can have the food delivered to your door (you can even order online!). The kitchen is open so you can see the chefs at work, a rather rare sight for a restaurant that serves Vietnamese cuisine to do so. Staff there are knowledgeable and friendly and made the experience enjoyable.

Overall the food is tasty, the flavours are well combined and the dishes remain faithful to their origins, the restaurant has a nice atmosphere to catch up with friends. The food is a little pricey for what I’m used to, the meal cost us close to $80 with the cocktails, taking the drinks away it’s still $50, you can find similar food in Cabramatta for about half the price.

Verdict: Tasty food that sticks to its origins and good atmosphere
Cost: Pricey for what it is (i.e. comparing to the west), $80 was spent for all of the above.
More info: http://www.misschu.com.au/
Location: 178 Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach
Map:

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Paper Planes – Bondi Beach

Now I don’t usually write about restaurants, but figured since I had some pictures of food, why not? So arriving too late to see the Sculptures by the Sea, Winnie, Louis and I decided to go eat, our spontaneous restaurant of choice? Paper Planes at Bondi Beach, a nice modern Japanese joint.

Having looked at the menu, we decided to wait the 45 minutes for a table and give this place a shot. The decor of this place was pretty fascinating with Japanese themed decorated skateboards on the ceiling and paper cranes hanging about, quite a modern interior.

In the corner on one end is a sit-down bar where you can eat as well.

Despite the modern setting, sitting down there’s nice little touches of a more traditional Japanese setting with the soy sauce bottle.

The menu’s rather nice as well, sticks to the name of the restaurant and as you can see, it’s a partially folded paper aeroplane, very cool.

First thing was first, cocktails, I ended up with a ‘Tokyo Pop’ and Winnie a ‘Chee Chee Mule’. The first being Pimms and St Germain based with plenty of fruity flavours rimmed with pop rocks, the latter was Vodka based with Lychee and ginger beers. The Tokyo pop was definitely tasty and very refreshing, the Chee Chee Mule sounds better than it tastes, not a fan of this one.

Now the food, we decided to share food and picked a few different dishes, the first were entree dishes, Agedashi Tofu and King Fish Belly Carpacio. Both were very tasty, the tofu had a nice smooth texture and a flavoursome but not overpower sauce, definitely one of the better tofu dishes I’ve had. The King Fish was delicious, the chilli oil isn’t too strong and the crunch of the jalapeños gives a nice texture and a bit of spice to bring the flavours together.

The next dish is the Salmon Tartare Nachos, these are a must have, the dressing of the Salmon is just lovely and goes well with the slight saltiness of the prawn crackers.

Last entrée was the PaperPlanes Prawn Gyoza, this is probably the best Gyoza I’ve had in Sydney, what really makes it special is that lemon wasabi foam sauce. It has a nice crisp on the outside and the inside doesn’t feel mushy.

Next up was some kushiyaki, we went with the Mocha rice cake & smoked speck, Shiitake mushrooms stuffed with prawn and the Chicken thigh fillet. The first was flavoursome and delicious, the texture was good too, not too glutinous like a lot of rice cakes can be. The next two were similar in taste with the preference to the chicken thigh fillet as they were just so tender and juicy, perfectly cooked.

Our final dish was the Confit duck ramen, we weren’t too sure what to make of this when ordering, but were pleasantly surprised when it came out, beautifully presented. Digging in, it was exceptional! The curry sauce was full of flavour but not overpowering and the chilli oil adds a nice chilli hit on top of the curry. The fried noodles change up the texture and made for an amazing dish, the soft quail eggs and the crispy skin of the duck was just too good.

That was it for the savoury food, we couldn’t go without some dessert and we chose the Black egg and the Green tea rocher. The black egg is like a coconut pana cotta and a reduced dark chocolate sauce coated with a little macadamia oil. It’s a rather light dessert and the macadamia flavours didn’t flow through as much as we were hoping.

The Green tea rocher reminds me of a cross between a Ferrero Rocher and a churro (the ones from the theme parks), it’s got a nice crunch on the outside and warm chocolate and a hazelnut on the outside. The coating of green tea sugar is almost like a substitute for the cinnamon sugar, I quite liked this one.

That’s it for the food, but the restaurant has one last surprise, the waiter brings out a divided tray of water and we were a little confused. He had forgotten something and came back, he pops a tablet looking thing into each and suddenly they puff up to become a wet towel! It was like magic, we were amazed!

Verdict: Would highly recommend this place and say it’s definitely delicious.
Cost: Slightly pricey, we spent about $60each
More info: www.paperplanesbondi.com
Location: Shop 15, 178 Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach – “The beach house”
Map: