Posted by KB on February 14, 2012
It’s been just on a year since two Melburnites took over a three-story terrace of Oxford Street and gave us Hunky Dory Social Club. We’ve spent our fair share of Saturdays choosing cocktails from the Little Golden Book menus and making the most of the rooftop garden bar – such a rare find in this city – but now our sights are on Bruno’s, the venue’s street level eatery.
As with the rest of Hunky Dory’s, you’ll find plenty of personality in the decor: black crochet table cloths, a ceiling covered in cowhides and a whole wall of religious paintings, purchased by the owners for the unholy price of $666. But it’s the menu that has put Bruno’s back in the spotlight, getting a recent revamp with the appointment of a new head chef, Daniele Trimarchi. He comes to the kitchen by way of Fratelli Paradiso and Icebergs, so as you’d expect his influence has been entirely Italian.More...
Posted by KB on October 21, 2011
It’s no secret that Sydney’s pub food has taken a distinct turn towards the Americas. It’s now a pretty rare thing that you don’t have the option of some kind of taco, hot dog or bite-sized burger to go with your beer. And while we’re massive fans of the fresh flavours (and pulled pork) on offer, we decided to re-explore the world of the original beer-drinking food: German.
We figured you can’t go too far wrong with a restaurant that means ‘eat’ in German, so we headed off to Essen on Broadway. You may know it as the place that used to be Una’s. It still has a connection to the old place by way of owner and executive chef Geert Elzinga, previously an owner at Una’s, who has moved the focus away from the simple schnitzel and expanded on the hearty European theme.More...
Posted by KB on August 2, 2011
Somehow we seemed to have ended up with an Italian food mindset which equates authentic with traditional. Where the only ‘real’ Italian food comes from a home-style kitchen, just the way nonna used to make it. But unfortunately that leaves something of a gap between that and the modern Italian restaurants.
And that’s why we like Caffe Sicilia so much. A bold black and white outfit, with plenty of marble and gold trim, it seems to come straight out of 1940s Sicily and landed perfectly between our two extremes. It’s as authentic as it comes, but there’s nothing home-style about it.
As you’d expect from an island, Sicilian cuisine is heavy on the seafood, which is reflected in the menu here. There are other options (braised spatchcock, veal involtini) but it makes sense to stick with the waiter’s suggestion of fish; the staff really know what they’re doing. More...
Posted by KB on April 6, 2011
At Kluster we’re firm believers that food tastes better on sticks. Sticks turn ordinary ice cream into a portable summer treat, and make it acceptable to eat only cheese at a cocktail party. So when offered the chance to grab a meal at Crazy Wings, home of food on sticks, we said yes. Hell yes.
Crazy Wings is the last restaurant to open as part of the Eat street dining district in Chatswood, and in our humble opinion, worth the wait. The chain, which boasts 300 stores in China and internationally, is based on Beijing hawker-style eating – largely defined by things on skewers, barbecued.
Faced with a dizzying array of options – crazy lamb, crazy kidneys, crazy potato - we start with the most obvious choice: original wings. Covered in a dry spice rub, they’re barbecued to perfection and stick-lickingly moreish, as are the honey soy variety that swiftly followed their demise in our hands.
The surprise of the meal came with the beef and mushroom skewers. We were expecting a simple kebab-style combo of alternating beef and mushroom chunks, but were treated to delicate parcels of enokitake mushrooms wrapped in beef slices - skewered and barbecued, of course. More...
Posted by KB on March 18, 2011
We’ve been fans of dumpling professionals New Shanghai since we had a chance to check out their Chatswood restaurant, but their new outlet at Bondi Junction means those south of the Bridge can get a piece of the action too.
And starting March 21st (that’s next week people), Mondays through Fridays from 6-7pm will be dumpling happy hour, with all dumplings on the menu half price. Which means you can eat twice as many.
New Shanghai are known for their pan-fried pork dumplings (pictured), a crispy, chewy dumpling skin with a pork and broth filling, but in the interests of letting you know exactly what’s on offer, we thought we’d give the rest a sample too.
Coming up trumps was the classic combo of pork and chives, but we also doff our hats to New Shanghai for less encountered flavour combinations such as lamb and leek, chicken and celery and beef and coriander. And as a pleasant surprise for vegetarians, the vegetable dumplings here actually contain plenty of greenery.
New Shanghai Bondi is on Level 5 of the Westfield Bondi Junction.
Dumpling happy hour is 6-7pm M-F for a limited time. So get in there.
Posted by KB on February 2, 2011
Those fancy little French macarons have been getting far too much attention of late. Sure, they're crisp and light and come in more inventive flavours than we've ever dreamed of, but where's that sticky coconutty satisfaction, or the confidence that comes with saying “macarooooon” and knowing you've pronounced it correctly.
We say put the kettle on and help yourself to a couple of these classic coconut biscuits, and remind yourself that good things come in sweet packages, even if they're not that fancy.
Coconut and cherry macaroons
3 eggs whites
1 1/2 cups desiccated coconut
3/4 cup sugar
glace cherries (optional but delicious)
Preheat your oven to 170C and cover a tray with baking paper.
Whip your egg whites until soft peaks form (an electric beater is awesome for this, but using a whisk will give you bigger muscles). Add the sugar a bit at a time and continue beating until glossy.
Change to a spatula and gradually fold in the coconut, making sure you don’t overwork the mixture.
If you are using cherries, place them on the baking tray, leaving plenty of room around them. Then using a spoon - or a piping bag if you want to be fancy - cover the cherries in a mound of mixture.
Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly browned. As the macaroons cool, any brown bits will be crispy and the white bits will stay nice and chewy.
Posted by KB on December 1, 2010
From the street, Monkey Magic doesn’t exactly jump out at you. Given the name we were expecting something a little more playful perhaps, but that’s probably a good thing; we’ve not yet been to a themed restaurant that serves decent food.
The street-level area is just a small collection of couches, but an enormous tree trunk reaching floor to ceiling gives it a bit of wow. Upstairs, long wooden tables and a great stretch of bar fill the surprisingly large dining area.
Though there are some tempting looking mains on the menu (like the slow-cooked pork belly), there's a couple of pages worthof smaller dishes, so we can't pass up the opportunity to pull together a meal with anything and everything we like the look of.
Edamame and renkon chips are the obvious choice from the appetisers. The lotus roots slices with their snowflake pattern have always seemed a bit special, and now deep fried and covered in pink salt, they’re even more so. Already we’ve planned a return visit just to sit in the streetside bar section with the chips and a couple of beers.More...
Posted by KB on November 19, 2010
Since the opening of Eat Street was announced last month, Sydney foodies (and relevant Twitter accounts) have spoken of little else. The promise: a new dining hub for Chatswood in the tradition of Asian hawker markets, but encompassing European and modern Australian cuisine too. Admittedly our first thought was, “how are we going to manage to eat it all?” So when we were given the opportunity to attend a “progressive dinner” – eating entrée, mains and dessert at three separate restaurants – it was as if the planets had aligned in our favour.
We start off the evening at the Bavarian Bier Café. We know to expect here, having visited some of the other six outlets dotted around Sydney, but that’s certainly not a bad thing; it means we’ve been looking forward to the beer since we left home. It’s frankly a terrible night outside, so we take a booth seat indoors and opt for one of the darker beers, the Franziskaner Hefe-Weissbier Dunkel, a malty, warmer-flavoured beer perfect for cold weather drinking. While waiting for the entrée proper, we indulgently add one of the restaurant’s famous pretzels to the order. If you’ve never had a hot pretzel with butter, you really haven’t lived. Speaking of which, one of our favourite parts of living is taking every opportunity to eat pork, so it was only natural to select the Bavarian Tasting Platter to share (pictured). It’s as easy on the eyes as it is on the tastebuds, an expanse of schnitzel, sausages and oh-so crisp pork belly served with mash, sauerkraut and red cabbage. More...
Posted by KB on November 11, 2010
Arriving at the bar of Surry Hills’ Uchi Lounge, the first thing I did was kick myself. As a long-time Darlinghurst resident I’d heard plenty about the place, but had never quite made it there – now it’s painfully clear I’ve been missing out. But with the new head chef Wataru Ohuchi joining brother and owner Takashi in the kitchen, what better time to mend my ways.
The downstairs bar is not really like anything else around: unrenovated and unpretentious with ambience filling every mood-lit corner. And, most importantly, a sake cocktail list. Upstairs is lighter and brighter; a room of wooden tables separated by light-filled curtains, and while it lacks some of the cool of downstairs, it’s probably a much more appropriate environment for dinner.
Faced with a long a la carte menu and a list of specials we defer to the waiter for suggestions on both food and drinks. First to arrive is the Crunchy Tiger cocktail, shaken and poured at the table by the bartender we spotted downstairs. It’s a mix of passionfruit sake, vodka, Cointreau and mango juice, with passionfruit seeds giving it the “crunch”. He also points out the grilled eggplant with miso as the restaurant’s most popular dish.More...
Posted by Petra Zlatevska on November 2, 2010
You ain´t nothing but a hound dog if you have never been to 3 Schwestern Restaurant in the kiez where bohos, Turkish immigrants and bobos (bohemian bourgeois) converge and thrive. Kreuzberg´s toxic mix of students, artists and lefties coupled with the dirt cheap rent in either the 19th Century apartments or 1970s pre-fab blocks housing the majority of the gäste arbeiter (temporary workers mostly from Turkey, the former Yugoslavia and Portugal) has resulted in an area that is more social symbiosis than suburb.
It is only fitting that 3 Schwestern (three sisters) should be located in the grounds of a former 19th century hospital, the Bethanien, which was a squat in its former incarnation. During the 1970s, local activists took over the site to protest its being sold to private developers and led to massive clashes between the riot squad and the squatters. This raid was immoralised in the song 'Rauch-Haus-Song' by German band Ton Steine Scherben. In the end, the activists won with the promise from the city’s council that the building would be used for social and artistic communal projects, since becoming the Kunstquartier Bethanien. It houses ateliers, art initiatives and the brand new 3 Schwestern restaurant downstairs. The recently renovated upstairs area is a gallery space staging regular exhibitions, with the most recent one playing host to the group exhibition of young Australian artists A Perfect Day to Chase Tornadoes (White).More...
Posted by KB on October 5, 2010
Sydney has plenty of Italian restaurants, there’s no denying that. But when it comes to regional cuisine, something outside of the generic “Italian” tag, the options are not as plentiful. Returning to Sydney after 12 years of travelling through Europe, Michael and Maki Dackiw sought to rectify this imbalance by setting up La Pesa Trattoria, a sister restaurant to one in Milan that Maki previously ran.
They found themselves a rather suitable venue amid the whitewashed arches of what once was home to Tre Scalini on Liverpool Street, dressing up the classic Italian-style space with ‘60s and ‘70s black and white shots of Milan. It’s much bigger than what you’d expect – the small corner frontage hiding a bar and three dining areas. Service, however, is delightfully personal; a complimentary glass of prosecco and bowl of olives does wonders for making your guests feel welcome.More...
Posted by KB on August 25, 2010
After a recent time-out for a bit of cosmetic surgery, Surry Hills’ Cru54 reopened last week, showing off a brand new interior at a night of cocktails, tapas and Spanish festivities.
Guests were greeted with the more polished and modern decor, complimented by Spanish artworks of deep red and orange. We also got the chance to taste the new menu, the result of changes in the kitchen as owner Catherine Andreo assumes the role of Executive Chef.
Along with tapas options (like the pictured Spanish-style anchovy on citrus tomato and avocado salsa toast), there are now additional ways to share your food, with tablas of cheeses or cured meats (try the 40-month-aged jamon iberico) and raciones of meatballs in spicy tomato sauce or classic seafood paella.
We thoroughly recommend checking out the new cocktail list too.
Cru54 can be found at 54 Foveaux Street, Surry Hills. Ph: 9281 1054