Friday, February 29, 2008

Na Zdrowie

Some time last year, I was having a catch up with Cookiez and we wandered up and down Glebe Point Rd trying to find a place to eat at. We walked past Na Zdrowie and thought it looked interesting, but we weren't up for Polish food that night. Fast forward a few months. Last Monday, me and Gus were catching a bus to our weekly volleyball game when I insisted on getting off at the next bus stop as it'll be "closer" to our court. Little did I know that the bus stop had been moved because of road work and we ended up about 2 blocks further than expected. The up side was, we walked past Na Zdrowie again when Gus commented that Polish food is very similar to Hungarian food. Always wanting to try Hungarian and Polish food, I went and made a booking for tonight.

What can I say? This place was absolutely FANTASTIC. The service was FANTASTIC and we had the most charming waiter who kept us entertained the entire night. But the most important thing is, how was the food?

I love their paddle board menu, good to punish the naughty ones! haha

Since none of us had ever had Polish food before, we decided to have an open mind and just order anything and everything! Firstly, we got some drinks and entrees to share.

Minty water and Kompot

We went straight for the Kompot, which is a Polish fruity drink made of seasoned fruit and mixed berries. We didn't find any berries in it, but it still tasted fantastic. It was slightly sweet, fruit and goes down really smoothly. Damn, that sounds like I'm talking about alcohol! LOL. We also got a big jug of minty fresh water!

Sledzik - Herrings with Polish pickles and creamy dill dressing

I've never had Herring before. It's never appealed to me because I imagined the taste to be slimy, sour, salty and fermented. This was NOTHING like that. The fish was fresh and sweet. Almost melts into your mouth like a really nice creamy oyster. The dressing was sour and refreshing. The pickles and onions added a nice crunchy texture to contrast against the soft silky fish. And it also came with a basket of rye bread to mop everything up. I will DEFINITELY order this dish again!

Serek - Fried crumbed Camembert cheese with cranberry sauce. Looks boring aye?


I had the great pleasure of cutting up the Camembert cheese into portions to share. My knife cuts through the crunchy crumbed shell and straight into the soft oozy melty cheesy heaven. OH. MY. GOD!!! There are no words to describe this!!!!

Grzybki - Fried crumbed mushrooms with horseradish dipping sauce

I'm so glad we shared the herring, because I had a lot of bread left over to dip into that sauce. The mushrooms were crunchy on the outside, but firm and fleshy on the inside. Dip it with some cool horseradish dipping sauce and you have yourself a winner. Gus even commented that if he was to become vegetarian, he would eat this everyday. I say bring it on baby!!

After the mains, there was a bit of a wait for our mains, but we didn't mind as were having such a fantastic time chatting away. When the food finally came out, jaws started dropping all around me. The portions were huge!

Kaczka - MY roast duck with apples, served with carrot salad and baked potatoes

I think I saw everyone eye off my duck! Since it was 1/2 a duck, I did end up sharing it. The meat was so flavoursome and not fatty like a Chinese roast duck! It looks dry, but it didn't taste dry. In fact, it was delicious! The sweet carrot salad went perfectly well with the duck. The potatoes were a bit hard for my liking so I skipped it. I wanted so badly to pick up the duck with my bare hands and just tear right into it with my teeth. Of course, that wouldn't be very lady like so I ended up just struggling with the knife and fork.

Szaszlyk - Chargrilled beef, pork loin, chicken breast and vegetable skewers with baked potatoes and beetroot salad

I didn't taste the skewer, but I was more than happy with the beetroot salad!! And the plate got completely polished clean!

Bigos - Smoked meat and hunters sauerkraut stew with mashed potatoes

Kielbasa - Smoked Polish sausage char grilled and served with mashed potatoes and pickles

Special - Grilled fish filled with chanterelle mushrooms, mashed potatoes and carrot salad

I managed to snag myself a bite of this fish/potato/carrot combination and I was half tempted to swap my duck for it. The fish was incredibly moist and flakey with the most amazing fresh seafood flavour. This was on their specials list, so I certainly hope it'll still be there when I go next time! Maybe I should call up in advance to see if they can make me a special order???

You'd think that we would be completely stuffed after that meal! But our waiter was so charming and wonderful, he convinced us to indulge a bit. It didn't help that we started drooling as he was explaining the desert to us!

Polish herbal pear tea

I noticed on the menu that it listed the usual herbal teas like peppermint and chamomile tea, then it lists "Polish Herbal Tea". I love my herbal tea and asked the waiter what it was. He went "AHA!" then disappears for a minute. When he comes back out, he's holding a lovely leather covered wooden box and opens it to reveal a mass array of Polish herbal tea bags. He quickly points out his favourite, so we decided to order that. And boy was the tea good. I don't really like eating pears in general, whether its fresh or canned. But this tea. Oh gosh this tea was good! Like REALLY GOOD!!!

Chopin cake - Frozen dessert with oven roasted almonds topped with a dark chocolate sauce

The lovely waiter gave us all spoons and forks to share and I took a bite of this and it was really good. Kind of like ice cream, but better because it was jam packed with nuts!

Jelly cake

The special of the days were a Jelly cake and Walnut cake. After a lot of debate, the jelly cake was ordered. It was like a firm pavalova with jelly in it. Its hard to describe, but was quite light and refreshing.

Warm sweet Pierogi filled with berries, served with ice cream and berry sauce

This was essentially a wonton crammed with mixed berries. I think this was the most popular dessert out of all of them.

I was really undecided what to order and we were debating as to who was to order what, when I hear an "Excuse me!". I turn around, and the waiter is standing at the counter and lifts up a massive tray of donuts and mouths "This is really good!!" to us and gives us a thumbs up. OK, it was decided. Polish donut it is.


Innards - Still looks Meh.

But looks can be SO deceiving. This was almost like a Krispy Kreme donut. But not 1/2 as sweet, and more dense. The inside was a fruity jam to lift up the whole donut. And no, it wasn't that dodgy paste/liquid type jam. This is proper cooked fruit jam. I'm so going to hit the local Polish grocery store and stock up on this!!

The whole meal of entrees, mains, dessert and countless drinks cost us about $40 per person. Brilliant value in my books. We practically had to roll out of there because we were so full. The food was spectacular and the service was warm and friendly. We're already talking about the next time visit. And I think we a few of us have already decided on what dishes we're going to order!!!

Na Zdrowie
161 Glebe Point Rd
Telephone: 02 9660 1242

Sunday, February 24, 2008

I am the pasta masta! (Not)

I got a pasta machine at the end of financial year sale in 2007. Its been sitting there ever since waiting to be used. I decided to bite the bullet and finally try to make my own pasta. (OK, I've made it once before without a machine, and that's a WHOLE different other story...)

I managed to turn this:

Into this:

Into this:

Let me say that to even get pasta into a thin sheet like that took me AGEEEEEEES!!! Jamie Oliver! You lie! It's so NOT a 5min job! Mind you, it was probably my fault more than anything. I didn't have a table I could clamp the pasta machine down onto, so I had to get my mum to hold onto the machine for dear life whilst I cranked the pasta through again and again. I literally broke into a sweat from doing this.

Once we got the thin pasta sheets, I decided to turn it into tagliatelle by hand cutting it. Except the pasta got stuck together because I was too lazy in properly flouring the layers. So it was another 5 mins to get everything unstuck. It wasn't until the 4th batch that I remembered the machine came with a pasta cutter!!! Still, my hand cut ones didn't turn out too bad:

Whilst I was making the pasta, I had the sauce simmering on the stove.

Here's my final product:

Close up:

The pasta turned out quite well. I actually preferred the ones I hand cut, not because they were "rustic", but I didn't roll the pasta out as thin so it had more bite to it. Next time, I am definitely making this outdoors. I ended up COVERED in flour. I had flour in my hair, on my face, all over my clothes and when I sneezed, I swear flour came out. I had to make a quick dash to the backyard to pick some basil and snagged my shirt on the fence. When I managed to untangle myself, I saw a cloud of flour billowing from my top..... Nevertheless, I am going to make pasta again next time!

Tropfest 2008

Despite the weather, we decide to brave it and attend Tropfest 2008. I made a quick dash to the shops and raid my cupboards to see what I could whip up. Not too bad of an effort even if I do say so myself.

Dark chocolate and almond crossiants

Innards of my great work!

Our picnic spread

Semi sun-dried tomatoes, grapes and grape tomatoes

Clockwise: Blue Brie, double brie, water crackers, dutch smoked cheese, champagne ham, pepper pate, hot spanish salami, gruyere cheese and caramelized onion pita crisps.

The crowd

One of the Tropfest sponsors was eclipse mints. We ended up scoring 14 packs between just me and Gus. Alan didn't end up getting ANY mints at all. Gus also won himself a brand new beach chair and free alcohol!

We actually had a really great time at Tropfest, and the movies this year was probably the best since I've been going. I really really enjoyed it. Too bad it started raining just before the intermission so we packed up and left. I definitely will be going again next year!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Chinese New Year Eve feast

Happy Chinese New Year!!! I've finally recovered from my food induced coma. This tends to happen every CNY Eve for our traditional family reunion dinner. So after my mum's 3 days of food preparation, here's what was on the menu:

My contribution: Filo spring rolls

Supposedly the spring rolls are supposed to look like gold bars which represents prosperity. The real reason I made it? Kids love spring rolls. And the reason I made it with filo pastry is because in the mad rush of cooking, my mum wasn't about to give me access to the stove!

Tong Yuen - Glutinous Rice Balls in soup

Tong Yuen basically sounds like reunion. Which is to signify family reunion which is the whole point of this dinner! hehe This soup gets soooooooo much better over night, not because the flavour comes out, but because we add a whole heap of leftovers to the soup to make it taste better!

Steamed Fish

Stir fried mussels

Steamed baby abalone

Steamed scallop in shell with XO vermicelli

Deep fried ham and chicken roll

Mushroom and lettuce with dried scallop sauce

Lettuce is something we must also have for CNY as it can mean either lively, or rising wealth.

Mushrooms, dried oysters, pork knuckle and black hair moss


Dried oysters and fish stomach stew

Whole steamed chicken

Roast duck

The spread!