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Archive for August, 2009

There is no hope that I will ever, EVER make a dent in the growing backlog of places I have yet to blog about ..so I’ve given up being a perfectionist and am just going to go in any kind of un-chronological order ! :)

Sooooo. When I found out about Kobe Jones’ $25 all you can eat sushi buffet winter special, I was gushing about it to all my friends, but only 2 of them had even heard of Kobe Jones before :( – but then who can deny sushi buffet ?!

 

Being the second sushi buffet I’ve been to in less than a week, you can only imagine my anticipation of such a meal during my rush from Broadway to Wynyard on foot in less than twenty minutes for lunchhhh. :)

 

The way Kobe Jones’ sushi buffet works is that you get one platter, a ‘taste tester’, which has a selection of all the nigiri and sushi for the day, that you share between your group. They call this ‘graze feeding’, like cows :D You’re not supposed to be able to order another platter until you’ve finished your current one, with the option to customise your forthcoming platters by omitting the ones not to your taste and choosing the ones you like best.

 

Seeing as a regular sushi platter at Kobe Jones usually costs $55 …. ;)

 

Second Sushi Platter

I missed the first platter because I was late due to my mad rush to Wynyard :( But neither Charis nor Daniel customised the second platter, so s’all good :)

 

Volcano roll – $28
Oven baked scallops layered on a crab salad and avocado roll with Kobe’s special cream sauce and a sesame seed and shallot sprinkle

This is supposed to be the ‘creme de la creme’ of Kobe Jones. Priced at a hefty $28 alone, I suppose if you come here and eat even a plate of this yourself you’re already getting your money’s worth.

My first bite of scallop I mistook for an egg – probably because it was bathed in KJ’s ‘special sauce’, which is superrr creamy and verry eggy. The crab salad is also delicious :) and the volcano roll itself is a circle of avocado & crabmeat drenched in special sauce, with dollops of mushy scallop and shallots.

 

Crunchy Roll – $22
Tempura prawns with crab salad and cucumber layered with tempura flakes and smelt roe

The tempura batter lived up to its name :D Satisfyingly crunchy, and the prawn was tender but not too soft, providing resistance to the bite.

 

Nigiri – $4.50 each
(L-R) King fish, tuna, salmon

 Apparently this photo is a clear example of the clumsiness of the waiters – for some reason, there’s a dollop of eel sauce on the tuna & the salmon. :s hmmm..

I wouldn’t say Kobe Jones had any sneaky tricks like putting huge clumps of rice beneath tiny pieces of sashimi. From the photo above, it’s pretty clear that their portions of sashimi were generous, and according to DK, not thin or overly thick. Some of the sashimi looked a bit dry, but didn’t taste that way (or maybe that was because I have ample saliva in my mouth :p)

 

Third Sushi Platter :)

 

Caterpillar Roll – $22
Unagi, crab salad, cucumber with avocado layered on top

I found that if I didn’t eat this in one bite, the sushi had a kind of bitter taste to it. The crabmeat salad was fleshy as always, but the eel had a subtle bitter taste to it that you don’t reaaaallly notice …unless you were looking. I think my dining companions didn’t reaaally like the eel, but it wasn’t too bad !

 

Spider Roll – $24
Soft shell crab with avocado, crab salad, cucumber with smelt roe sprinkle

I loooove soft shell crab! 2 years ago I didn’t even know what soft shell crab looked like! This was nice and crunchy, but the portions of crab weren’t very even. As you can see in the photos above, there was a lot more rice to the crab in some pieces ..not that I mind :) (but Daniel does!)

 

Dynamite Roll – $16
your choice of spicy tuna, kingfish, salmon or scallops with cucumber and sesame seeds

The first dynamite roll had salmon in it …the second, tuna. TBH, it just tasted like they rolled it in chilli powder T_T . Although you can’t really seee it, I couldn’t taste anything other than the chilli.

Usuaully you can choose the chilli level from 1 to 5, but when we asked we were told by a rather ineloquent waitress that the sushi was premade. hrm.

 

Fourth Sushi Platter :)

Haha, they’re actually using a less..visually appealing bowl for the volcano roll !

 

Crunchy Roll – $22

Prawn tempura with prawn tail sticking out :D

I wanted to go for a fifth platter, but Charis had already left, and Daniel told me that he was full to the point of vomiting. :( And that if I kept eating, he’d vomit on the inside …..so yeah. Needless to say, we got the bill afterwards.

 

interior

I’ve heard a lot of moaning & groaning about the quality of the service at Kobe Jones, and I wouldn’t say they’re as standoffish as everyone makes out rather than klutzy. :(

Although the waitress was attentive, during lunch hour there was only one (clumsy) girl to be seen rushing between tables. In the first 5 minutes after arrival, I saw the waitstaff:

– drop a diner’s plate on the floor

– knock Charis’ dish of soy sauce onto the table with a sushi platter

– give the wrong order to a table

– accidentally pour water onto the floor instead of in a glass (when I saw this happen, it was apparently the second time)

Not to mention finding a fly on my plate (sure, the restaurant is open space, but NO APOLOGY EITHER? :( ) and a short strand of hair hair.

Waiting time was probably only about ten minutes in between platters, but apparently the girl said everything was premade …so hrmmm to freshness?

If you don’t like crabmeat I wouldn’t suggest going here, seeing as EVERYTHING had crabmeat in it except for the sashimi (duhh). Then again, I love crabmeat and crabsticks and crab salad, sooo :D talk abt paradise ! All the sushi and rice were pretty soft – not to the point of mushy – but if you like a ‘sturdier’ kind of sushi ..well hrm.

$25 all you can eat sushi buffet, only available on weekdays for lunch, from 12pm – 3pm.

 

Kobe Jones (visited 28/08/09)
29 Lime St
Sydney NSW
Ph: (02) 9299 529
http://www.kobejones.com.au

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Castle Hill is probably one of the last places you’d go to if you were looking for authentic Thai cuisine – but multiculturalism is a great thing if you can even find Thai food in the most un-Thai of places :)

 

Despite an amazingly dark interior, Pimarn Thai has an interesting colour scheme: fuschia pink panels set against bright blue walls, something which clashes with the warm smell of tangy lemon that infiltrates your nostrils the second you step inside.

 

The menu – self-proclaimed ‘Authentic Thai Cuisine’

 

Green tea

 

I’ve had an on-and-off craving for pineapple fried rice ever since I got fried rice in a giaaaant pineapple at a Thai place in Capitol Theatre. I’m guessing their English at Pimarn Thai isn’t very good, though – before I ordered the pineapple fried rice here, I asked if it came in a pineapple – she said yes, but it didn’t :(

 

Pineapple fried Rice with egg (not spicy) + chicken = $12.50
Choice of either chicken and vegetables (12.50), prawns (16.90) or mixed vegetables (12.50)

After I got over the initial disappointment of my fried rice being on a plate rather than in a pineapple, I found the food itself pretty good. Although you can’t see it in the photo, there’s actually a sole slice of tomato in here ! ..not usual affair for a plate of fried rice.

 

Pha Ram Long Song – $13
Spinach, chicken breast fillet and beef topped with peanut sauce

When you think ‘peanut sauce’, you’d think ‘peanut’, right? The weird thing was, I could’ve sworn that there was a hint of mango in here :s This dish was really good though ! The sauce wasn’t too thick and didn’t have a sandy texture like some Thai places – Crunchy peanut pieces and spicy ‘mango’-flavoured chicken makes for a tasty dish :) Probably better with rice though, but you can always order it on the side – some Thai places include it with (or in) your order.

 

Pad See Eu – $12
Rice noodles stir fried with vegetables, egg and soy sauce
Choice of chicken or beef ($12), prawns ($16.40) or mixed vegetables ($12)

Weren’t the best rice noodles around and were super oily, but looking at the greens right now is making me hungry :(

Although I can’t vouch for the authenticity (seeing as I think the owner was Chinese), the food was good enough that I polished off the remains of the 3 plates by myself (but then, when don’t I ever?). Don’t know if I’d ever come back just because it’s so out of the way, but it’s definitely worth a try. :)

 

Pimarn Thai (visited 24/06/09)
1A, 19 – 21 Terminus St
Castle Hill, NSW 2154
Ph: (02) 9899 7199

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If you have an Asian bun craving, Sydney CBD is definitely the place to be !

From Barby’s to 85 Degrees, Saint Honore to Savoy, buns and cakes are raining down on you everywhere and it would be well worth your while to dash through this bun storm with an open mouth raised to the skies.
(NB: Mentioning 85 Degrees George St is a bit of an exaggeration :( If you want more than cake and drink you have to go to the one in Chatswood !!)

Franchises and sole traders litter the streets of Sydney, and it was only a few years ago when Breadtop suddenly appeared one day and then began popping up everywhere.

 

One of the interesting things about Breadtop is the peek-a-boo kitchen, so if you manage to bypass the temptation that is Miracle Supermarket and Shu Shin Bou (the mochi house in World Square!), you will get a glimpse of the bakers making their breads and pastries in the shop :D so fingers crossed that the food is always fresh and tasty

 

From the East Asian take on ham & cheese croissants and mini danishes and burgers, to the more exotic flavours of seafood hash brown and seaweed pork floss buns, you can always find something super special to tickle your tastebuds

 

Much like this, the new bamboo charcoal bun:

Bamboo Charcoal Bun – $2
Healthy nutritious bun made of bamboo charcoal, topped with a slight butter touch and garlic paste

is anyone game enough to try it out ? Grace says it tastes like a croissant, but it sure as anything doesn’t look like one !
 

 

Also, which Breadtop would be complete without selling bread ?! Think chocolate chip buns, milk bread, and even sourdough bread at an exorbitant price ! I haven’t tried the sourdough (so the bread may very well warrant its price), but the chocolate chip buns are a flavour hit for a cool $3 for a bag of 6.

 

Freshly stocked cake display

 

Cake display at the end of the day

 

Mango Gateau – $31

This is indeed tasty cake ! It doesn’t come with chocolate Maltesers or a gummy snake mouth, but it does come with strawberries, mango, glaze and generous servings of fluffy cream and sponge.

 

Packaging advertising their pastry and bun offerings

 

Strawberry Tart – $3.40

I love Asian desserts ! For $3.40, I daresay a lot of Asians will find this expensive as tarts go, but compare them to other bakeries! For the freshness of the strawberries, the crisp yet sturdy shortbread base, and the melt-in-your-mouth custard, ’tis a true bargain to be reckoned with.

 

Fruit Tart – $3.40

Possibly one of the gems of Breadtop.

A wide selection of fruits including rockmelon, pear, pineapple, grape, strawberry, orange, honeydew and lychee, Breadtop gives you 2 of almost everything (one ring of pineapple and a melon apiece) so you can share it with your lover and best friend :D and no fighting over the lychees !

I usually find Asian custard quite lumpy and powdery, so to find Breadtop’s thick custard with smooth consistency is like a dream come true :D
The only problem is that not every Breadtop has nice custard – but if you’re not a picky person you can try all their cakes and tarts at every single Breadtop to find the best custard in the world :D

 

Breadtop 包店 (visited 23/06/09)
World Square
Shop 9.22
644 George St, Sydney
Ph: (02) 9264 1383
http://www.breadtop.com.au

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This has definitely been the longest break I’ve gone without blogging – motivation waninggg – but I’m back ..again ! And hopefully for good this time :)

 I always hear about how there are lots of places to eat in Epping, but I never really see them ..I guess because they’re just too well hidden.

But for my birthday (which was, incidentally, a very long time ago), my darlings <3 took me to BORRELLI’S, an Italian restaurant only 5 minutes walk from the station.

 

At 6pm the restaurant is rather deserted, but it’s pretty much the calm before the storm – turns out they get a sizeable crowd at 7pm – and so by 7.30pm the entire place is packed.
At first glance, Borrelli’s looks teeny ..until you’re led to a private room in the back, perfect for intimate gatherings.

 

The lighting was dim and there was Italian music playing in the background – and I’d say the Borrelli’s owner is definitely attentive to detail – I remember he was fiddling with the aircon because he kept coming back to ask if the temperature was warm enough.

 

Risotto Funghi (vegetarian) – $18, or entree for $14
Trio of pan fried wild mushrooms with garlic, white wine and creamy Arborio rice

It’s nice that the menu pointed out that they use short-grain Arborio rice. From what I’ve heard, most places that make risotto try and use the Chinese long-grain, which doesn’t produce the sauce for risotto very well (Food for thought: did you know that you’re not actually supposed to add any cream/sauce/milk to risotto ‘cos it’s supposed to come from the rice itself!)

What makes a good risotto IMO is the creaminess of the sauce (and the texture of the rice), and this was perfect :) I’m not usually a fan of soggy, saucy risotto, but this rice wasn’t soggy nor was the sauce watery – and the amazing thing was, that the sauce all came from the rice !

 

Spaghetti Marinara – $23
Al dente spaghetti tossed with a medley of seafood, including fish, prawns, calamari and mussels cooked in a white wine, garlic and chilli tomato sugo

I’m really stretching my memory trying to remember what the food here tasted like. The sauce was a weak tomato, but the spaghetti was really good – it was firm but not overly chewy – sturdy enough to bite, but not hard and crunchy like undercooked spaghetti.

 

Cannelloni – $18, or entree $13
Home made crepes filled with a mixture of veal, chicken, spinach and herbs. Presented on a bed of rich tomato sugo and topped with creamy bechamel and mozzarella gratin

I love cheese and tomato, and this dish was pretty much cheese and tomato ! I don’t particularly like sugo, just because I find it a little too watery for my liking, even though this tomato sugo was a bit more like soupy tomato puree. The crepes were paper thin and drowning in tomato sugo, but definitely a winner if you like savoury crepes.

 

Melanzani al forno (Oven baked eggplant) – $22.50, or entree $13.50
A tower of grilled eggplant and zucchini layered with bocconcini mozzarella, fresh tomato, basil pesto and parmesan cheese. Baked in the oven and served on a bed of tomato sugo with a side of kumera crisps

I’m not used to eating such soggy eggplant, ‘cos my mum makes really nice grilled eggplant :)
Then again, I thought the whole dish tasted kind of bland, and the eggplants were all stacked on top of each other, making some kind of soggy eggplant castle on a tomato moat :s

 

Funghi con l’aceto ragu e Polenta (trio of mushroom with balsamic glaze and baked polenta) vegetarian – $21.50, or entree $13.50
A hearty trio of mushrooms ragout with red onion, garlic and balsamic glaze, presented on a disc of baked polenta (vego)

This polenta was such a disappointment compared to the crisp, crunchy one at Villa Moura ! Maybe because the ones there were polenta cubes, and not soaked in mushroom sauce, whereas Borrelli’s polenta resembled a mushy cake bathed in mushroom. Maybe that’s the way polenta is supposed to be served, but I like it a bit more crunchier. You’d also expect it to taste slightly acidic as well because of the balsamic glaze – but that’s the beauty of Borrelli’s, I guess – bar the sauce, everything else is subtle.

 

Capesante con radicchio e prosciutto crudo (Scallops with radicchio and prosciutto) – $19.90, or entree $15.90
Pan seared scallops wrapped in prosciutto and served on a bed of radicchio with a sweet lemon and seeded mustard dressing

I usually eat scallops Asian style, so to try Italian-style scallops was a refreshing change. The scallops were fleshy and sweet, with a tang of lemon. I’d definitely recommend trying these – I felt as if I was eating salad but in scallop form instead. Very tasty :)

 The one thing I can say about Borrelli’s is that they looove their tomato. Also, their use of herbs is sparing, so if you don’t like an overpowering taste of basil in your food, this is probably perfect for you. There’s also something about their attention to detail in terms of food and presentation that makes me say it’s genuine Italian cuisine (but what would I know?).

And a muchas gracias to my lovelies for taking me out that night ;)

 

Borrelli’s (visited 13/06/09)
3 Bridge St
Epping NSW 2121
Ph: (02) 9876 6563
http://www.borrellis.com.au

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So there’s this relatively new business complex on George St (near Town Hall station) called Regent Place, which houses a variety of new and hip restaurants and the most confusing floor plan they could fit into this little space. I’ve walked past Mid Town Cafe before and being the shallow person I am, the first thing noticeable about this place is the cute decor (chandeliers, pink walls, lots of glass…) and the general friendly atmosphere of the place.

Kind of hard to take discreet photos; this is behind the front desk/coffee bar.

Tables near the front entrance, they also have tables closer to the back with a more moody atmosphere.

I’ve had coffee from this place before which wasn’t spectacular, but we decided to give their meals a try. Midtown offers a lunch special menu (mainly or all Italian food I think) at $9.90 which has a large selection of mains from meat, fish, pasta to salads.

Lunch menu (one of the pages only), I believed they had a large selection of pastas on other pages.

The menu sounded like a pretty good deal as a $9.90 steak or fish at a nice sit-down restaurant in the city is pretty rare to come across.

Risotto Pollo Ai Fungi – $9.90
Risotto with chicken fillet and mushrooms cooked in a creamy white wine sauce

Despite having a not so attractive name the flavours were quite nice. I guess it’s hard to go wrong with chicken and creamy sauce but it was rich though not overbearing. The chicken was quite dry unfortunately, but the main complaint was that the risotto was undercooked and hard, which kind of ruined the whole dish.

Rump Steak with pepper sauce – $9.90

Presentation seemed to be the highlight of Midtown Cafe as all the dishes looked really nice (which extends from having nice decor, I guess). The steak was nice on the outside and the sauce was wonderful, but I can’t say the same for the meat itself. The meat was quite tough and hard to chew (and it was cooked medium-rare) and I don’t think there was enough sauce to give the meat enough flavour.

Perch Del Giorno – $9.90

This dish got no complaints. It looked really nice which a tasty and colourful salad, and the fish was cooked perfectly and full of flavour.

Overall, Mid Town Cafe and Restaurant is a really cute and cosy place to sit down with friends, but the food is only so-so and kind of hit-and-miss. They do also have a delicious looking display of desserts as well, which I need to go back one day and try.

Shop 10.05. (next to KFC)
Regent Place
501 George Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Ph: (02) 9269 0262

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