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"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world." – J.R.R. Tolkien

Tag Archives: Sydney

Goshu Ramen Tei (NSW)

As the oldest Ramen restaurant in Australia, and one of the highest rated Japanese restaurants on Urbanspoon Sydney, I had great expectations for this place. Catching up with a friend who’d recently moved up from Melbourne was the perfect opportunity to check this place out, and it didn’t disappoint.

It was a windy and chilly day, but the place was still very busy. We felt a little sorry for the neighbouring restaurant, but there seemed to be a customer base only loyal to Goshu. Indeed, they had a take-away service which was being made full use of.

The menu had the usual variety of Japanese dishes, from curries, to bento boxes, and of course, ramen. For starters, we ordered a serve of gyoza.

Gyoza

Nothing too spectacular, these gyoza were simple and satisfying and were perfect to munch on while waiting for our main dishes.

I ordered the beef sukiyaki set.

Beef Sukiyaki Set

This was definitely larger than I expected, the flavour was stronger than I was used to. It was undoubtedly tasty, but perhaps too much so. I’m not sure what spices and condiments they used, but they were certainly liberal with them. Nonetheless, I polished it off, and the small seaweed salad that I had ordered too.

Seaweed Salad

My memory is failing me a bit (we ate a lot on that trip!) but I think my dining companions ordered a chicken udon dish and a chicken curry and rice dish respectively.

Chicken Udon

Chicken Curry and Rice

By all accounts, the food was delicious and the serves were massive. Definitely value for money! The service was extremely efficient and friendly. As their menu says, “Your hostess, Aiko, always smile, from Aichi, JAPAN”. You could help but smile back.

Goshu deserves it’s reputation as being a great Japanese restaurant. Even though I’m not the biggest fan of noodles, I’ll be sure to try their Ramen next time.

Goshu Ramen Tei
5 York Street, Sydney
Mon-Sat 11am-10pm

Goshu Ramen Tei on Urbanspoon

Quay (NSW)

With the reputation of being Australia’s most awarded restaurant and one that prides itself on using locally sourced food, Quay was one of the must-eat-at places during a recent trip to Sydney. Having already exhausted ourselves with the degustation at Tetsuya’s, we were glad that we had only booked in for lunch, and went with choices from the four course menu rather than another degustation.

Before I get to the food, I must mention that the view from the restaurant is amazing. With large expansive windows, there’s a clear view of the harbour including both the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. It amused me to watch the ferries and water taxis bob along the water, as well as the endless stream of tourists, even a wedding party or two. The restaurant itself was light and airy, with plenty of space. We were lucky enough to have a relatively private booth (even if the seating itself was a touch awkward) and thoroughly enjoyed just being there. When a slightly inconsiderate patron wandered over and started a phone conversation during our meal, it wasn’t long before a staff member gently ushered her outside so as to not disturb anyone else.

Moving on to the actual meal, all in all, I was quite impressed but things were perhaps slightly too fancy for my tastes. So much was going on with every dish that there were moments of confusion as to what exactly you were eating. None more so than perhaps the appetiser. I didn’t hear the waitress very well, and so wasn’t even sure what we were eating. Jelly perhaps? It was very pretty, but tiny enough that I barely tasted what I was eating. Maybe my palate just isn’t good enough in that case.

Jelly?

I enjoyed the entrée a lot more. Being somewhat unadventurous, I ordered the sashimi of blue mackerel, smoked eel flowers, sea scallops, pickled apple and nasturtiums (similar to watercress).

Sashimi of blue mackerel, smoked eel flowers, sea scallops, pickled apple, nasturtiums

The dish was beautifully presented. The mackerel was pleasantly oily, the eel certainly interesting (if lacking a little in flavour) but I absolutely loved the softly delicate scallops. Always curious, M ordered the Mud crab congee consisting of fresh palm heart, hand shelled mud crab and Chinese inspired split rice porridge.

Mud crab congee: Fresh palm heart, hand shelled mud crab and Chinese inspired split rice porridge

I’m not sure why they specified “hand shelled mud crab” but I guess it always pays to be more detailed rather than less. I wasn’t even aware that machines could shell crabs, but I’m guessing they must exist to speed up large processes. Anyways, that is slightly irrelevant. What is relevant is that the dish was delicious. Comforting and homely, it was at the same time also inventive and exotic.

I’m not sure how to classify the second course seeing as dishes were all slightly heavier than entrees yet lighter than the mains (as expected). In any case, I definitely enjoyed my order of: Gentle braise of black lipped abalone, rare breed pig belly, shiitake, warrigal greens, ginger milk curd, earth & sea consommé.

Gentle braise of black lipped abalone, rare breed pig belly, shiitake, warrigal greens, ginger milk curd, earth & sea consommé

Once again, why “rare breed pig belly”? Was it a wild pig hunted from the forests of NSW? It was undeniably tasty so maybe they’re on to something there. I never find abalone full of flavour, but I do enjoy its texture, but it in this case it was slightly overpowered by the pork. Indeed, everything in the dish tied quite well together except for the pork, but perhaps it was included to ground the dish and distinguish it from a first-course entree.

M ordered the slow cooked coturnix quail breast, stone ground semolina enriched with Alba truffle butter, buckwheat, farro, walnuts, pumpernickel and malt.

Slow cooked coturnix quail breast, stone ground semolina enriched with Alba truffle butter, buckwheat, farro, walnuts, pumpernickel, malt

Once again, I think they’re being overly specific by identifying the genus of quail used but maybe I should stop nit-picking. The best part of this dish? The crust. With eclectic mix of ingredients, it was crunchy and full of flavour and made the quail slightly bland in comparison.

The mains were stunning though. I ordered the Berkshire pig jowl, maltose crackling, prunes, cauliflower cream, perfumed with prune kernel oil.

Berkshire pig jowl, maltose crackling, prunes, cauliflower cream, perfumed with prune kernel oil

Who knows why prune kernel oil is so special, and why they had to specify the breed of pig again? Actually, don’t answer that question, I’m getting side-tracked again. I loved the maltose cracking in this dish, which, like the top of a creme brulee, shattered so satisfying-ly with a small tap using the cutlery. The pig jowl was tender and full of flavour , and was offset beautifully by the prunes. I’ll be honest, when I returned home after the trip, I searched for a few pork recipes with prunes to make in the future.

M was brilliantly happy with his main course too: David Blackmore’s full blood Wagyu, bitter chocolate black pudding, ox tail consommé.

David Blackmore's full blood Wagyu, bitter chocolate black pudding, ox tail consommé

Once again, the meat was full flavoured and tender. The marbling of fat was as good as you would expect from top quality Wagyu, with the benefit of the cattle being fed a low-grain diet (hooray for being slightly healthier options). The extra $10 surcharge? Justified.

What we had been anticipating the whole meal was of course, the desserts. Eight texture chocolate cake!

Quay's Eight texture chocolate cake

I had an unreasonable amount of fun identifying and counting the layers. I’d think that I had found eight, then recount and only be able to find seven. In any case, it was satisfying and full of chocolate flavour without being overly sweet. The ultimate chocolate indulgence.

Quay's Eight texture chocolate cake

Of MasterChef fame, we present to you, the Snow Egg.

White nectarine snow egg

Impressive! Definitely ordered more for the visuals and the technical skill involved rather than the taste, this is perhaps the dish to go for when a lighter option is warranted.

White nectarine snow egg

The meal was rounded off with coffee and petit fours.

Coffee, Petits Fours

Being royally spoilt by Melbourne coffee, I was once again disappointed with Sydney’s offering but at least it was presented nicely. All in all, a wonderful meal with good food, good presentation, set in sophisticated surrounds. Given the option, I would still pick Tetsuya’s over Quay, but it’s interesting to see how two top restaurants in the same city do things so very differently.

Given the chance, try both and make up your own mind. Just expect to live off instant noodles for a few weeks if you do.

Quay
Circular Quay West, Sydney
Lunch: Tue-Fri 12pm-230pm, Dinner: Mon-Sun 6pm-10pm

Quay on Urbanspoon

Adriano Zumbo Cafe (NSW)

Adriano Zumbo Cafe

Ta da! It’s not really hard to guess where we were on a sunny Spring day in Sydney based on the picture above. I was absolutely adamant that a trip to Adriano Zumbo Cafe was made on the recent trip to Sydney after watching his DVD. Strange as it may be, I’ve barely watched any MasterChef, and indeed have only heard about his macaron cakes and crazy leaning towers. No matter though, I’d rather taste the product than watch it on television.

As is the trouble with any event that you look forward to, the hardest decision is always where to start.

Adriano Zumbo Cafe

With a huge selection of cakes, pastries, cakes and ‘Zumborons’, we had first order coffee before our brains even kicked into gear in order to make a logical decision. One of the nice things about this cafe is that it really does seem local with a constant stream of customers coming in to buy some bread, with an order of a pastry or macaron, and a coffee on the side. (The coffee wasn’t great, but I’ve resigned myself to the fact that Sydney coffee just isn’t as good as Melbourne). The other is that you can watch the dessert-making process. Unluckily for us, it seemed that the day’s work was done. I’d guess that mornings are typically busier, and if you’re lucky, you might even see the man himself creating away.

On to the more pressing issue though, after some consultation, we decided on two desserts. My choice, the passionfruit tart otherwise known as the
tarte aux fruits de la passion.

Tarte Aux Fruits de la Passion

Look at those beautiful colours! Fancy and rich, but not too sweet. I love the tartness of passionfruit, and the summery vibe suited the sunny day outside. Utterly delectable, and relatively affordable at only $6.

The boy went for an almond berry tart.

Almond Berry Tart

Not quite as pretty as mine, but definitely well made. It certainly wasn’t as sweet or rich, but the nutty flavour of the almonds was definitely satisfying.

Of course, no trip to Zumbo’s would be complete without trying his famous macarons, so we had a couple (or perhaps a few more) to share. Some aren’t pictured because we ate them before I remembered to bring my camera out.

Lime and Mint Mojito, Hot Chocolate, Coconut Chilli and Lime

My favourite of the bunch was definitely the mojito. I doubt that it’s alcoholic (I’m sure that would just mess with the baking chemistry too much) but the clean taste was spot on.

Even though we’d had quite a number of desserts, an extra trip was made to the Adriano Zumbo Patisserie just up the road where an even greater selection of cakes awaited.

We restrained ourselves however, but only barely. It’s simultaneously a fortunate and an unfortunately circumstance that Zumbo hasn’t opened up a cafe in Melbourne yet.

Adriano Zumbo Cafe
114 Terry St, Rozelle
Mon-Fri 630am-4pm, Sat-Sun 730am-4pm

Adriano Zumbo Patisserie on Urbanspoon

Tetsuya’s (NSW)

I’ve been putting off writing about the degustation at Tetsuya’s for sometime because it’s so intimidating: not only are there so many dishes to cover, but the quality of the food was such that neither my words nor my pictures will do justice to it. I do like to share my eating experiences with you guys though, so here goes nothing. I’ll say straight up though, if you ever have the chance to dine at Tetsuya’s, don’t miss it, and get accompanying wines if that’s your style too.

Even though it’s centrally located, upon entering the restaurant there’s immediately a sense of serenity that wouldn’t be feel out of place in the Japanese countryside (or so I’d imagine given I’ve never been to Japan). In any case, the dimly lit, intimate surrounds were welcoming and comforting, perhaps even more so with the absence of music. The faint chatter of the rest of the patrons, and the sound of the Sydney rain falling outside was all the soundtrack that was needed.

As expected, the waitress was charming and knowledgeable, and we knew immediately that we were in for a treat as she went through the list of courses, barring the desserts which she was keeping as a surprise. At first, the sommelier wasn’t aware that we wished to match wines to our meals, but after this was sorted out, he was nothing if not friendly and helpful for the entire night, always at the ready with wines that were well-matched to the dishes.

With much further waiting, the first entree arrived at the table, and we promptly forgot what the rest of the dishes she had named were. So began the massively enjoyable fun of the guessing game.

Corn Soup with Soy Cream

This cold corn soup with soy cream was, perhaps, just a little odd. I wasn’t really sure what to make of it in all honesty. The corn lent just a little bit of sweetness, but other than that, there weren’t any dominant flavours. As a wild guess, I’d say this was to simply set our palates for the following courses. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong though!

Next up, the ‘optional course’ (incurring a small surcharge) of fresh pacific oysters with rice vinegar & ginger. You think we were going to pass up this opportunity? Not a chance.

Pacific Oysters with Rice Vinegar & Ginger

The oysters really were the star of this dish, with the balance of the vinegar and ginger perfectly highlighting the oysters to gently flavour them without overpowering their freshness. I’ve only ever eaten oysters once before (they were terrible) but even with my limited oyster-eating experience, I could tell that these were almost as perfect as you could hope for.

I was less enthralled by the next dish: Savoury custard with sea urchin

Savoury Custard with Sea Urchin

Having never eaten sea urchin before, I was a little overwhelmed by its strong flavour, and didn’t particularly like it. Is it an acquired taste? In any case, its strength actually made the custard seem bland, which wouldn’t be the effect that they were after.

The sashimi of kingfish with blackbean & orange was obviously fresh and quite good, but not mind-blowing.

Sashimi of Kingfish with Blackbean & Orange

The blackbean and orange was certainly and interesting combination and one which worked well. Not well enough to have me craving more, but leaving room for the mains isn’t a necessarily a bad thing.

The first of the mains was spectacular, and perhaps the highlight of the entire night (yes, even including desserts and my penchant for sweets).

Confit of Petuna Ocean Trout with Shaved Fennel and Unpasteurised Ocean Trout Caviar

It also had the longest name of any dish I’d seen: confit of Petuna ocean trout with shaved fennel and unpasteurised ocean trout caviar. I can see why this is Tetsuya’s signature dish. The fish was firm yet delicate, so it cut easily yet still held its form. The crust had just the right amount of flavour and crunch to enhance the taste of the fish. The caviar were like little golden gems of slightly sweet liquid happiness. I felt royally fancy eating this. This restaurant is known for their seafood and this dish justifies their reputation as one of the best in Sydney.

Even though I fully understand that with a progressive degustations, lighter flavours must precede the heavier, especially in the case of meat dishes, the rest of the mains felt a little boring after the brilliance of the trout. They went by in a little bit of a blur, so they’ll go by in a little bit a blur here too.

Steamed Queensland Spanner Crab with Bean Curd, Foie Gras & Junsai

Another seafood dish this time with crab meat (I hear they made this on Junior Masterchef?). The spanner crab was faintly sweet, and the textures matched perfectly. I just wish there was a little more colour to the dish, but now I’m just be fussy because it was a perfectly delicious course.

Braised Veal Shank with Broad Beans & Smoked Bone Marrow

Bone marrow is one of those things I grew up eating, and would beg Dad to let me eat it from all the bones in the dish. Is it any wonder that I preferred the accompanying bone marrow to the veal itself?

Breast of Quail with Paleta Iberico & Garlic Puree

My tastebuds still aren’t well trained enough to tell quail from chicken, but I remember liking the accompanying flavours better than the main in this dish too. I do like my pork though, in pretty much any form – just ask my friends.

Seared Fillet of Cape Grim Beef with Wasabi and Braised Mustard Seeds

The final main for the night was the seared fillet of beef. This was the best beef that I’ve had in a long time (the last time was at a specialty steakhouse). Even though we were starting to fill up from the many previous courses, I could have eaten more of this dish. Thankfully this isn’t possible, because the three decadent courses of desserts (yes, three) were more than enough to round off the meal.

Hay-Infused Ice Cream with Sorrel Granita (left) and Bread & Butter Pudding (right)

Hay-infused ice-cream? You mean, grass? Well, it tasted like grass, but not in a bad way. It was light and refreshing and well suited to clearing the heaviness of the mains. The bread and butter pudding was sweet and buttery, but I was more than ready for the chocolate dessert to be brought out.

Choclate Pave with Cream Cheese Ice Cream & Cinnamon Twigs

Apart from eating bone marrow, I’m also one of those people who eat cinnamon twigs, but that’s not really important. What’s important was that both the pave and ice-cream were absolutely delicious. I love the bitterness of dark chocolate, and the slight saltiness of the cream cheese, so this dessert was definitely my favourite.

As is the trend, the night was capped off with miniature macarons. While not as good as some specialty stores (in Sydney especially) macarons are always delicious in my book, so these suited me perfectly fine.

Macarons

Wrapping up after almost four hours, we walked out of there buzzing in a bliss induced by good food, good wine and good company. Now I have to justify returning to Tetsuya’s just to enjoy it all over again.

Tetsuya’s
529 Kent Street Sydney
Lunch: Sat 12pm –
Dinner: Tues-Fri 6pm – , Sat 630pm –

Tetsuya's on Urbanspoon

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