Sunday, November 4, 2007

A birthday and a get together

I am sooo behind in my blogging! Bad SMJ! Here's my attempt to catch up. So a few of my major outings in the past two weeks have included Alex's birthday party at the Bavarian Bier Cafe and also a get together with some of my old workmates at Malaya.

Bavarian Bier Cafe @ York St

Firstly, Alex's birthday. I didn't bother taking much food photos since I've been there so many times. The only real food photo is of their sticky date pudding:

I've always disliked sticky date puddings as I find them too sickly sweet. That is until I tried the one at Nick's Seafood at Cockle Bay Wharf. They have converted me onto this gorgeous dessert! The Bavarian Bier's version is lighter and slightly crumbly compared to the traditional sticky date, but it worked out perfectly for me after eating a massive slab of schnitzel and mash. Plus I had gus help me eat half of it.

Now onto the rest of the night. It was pretty calm except when I tipped half a bier onto my brand new dress trying to climb over the bench to sit down. Note to self, don't wear dresses when you're going to be sitting on a bench.

Of course, there was the present for the birthday girl:

Then for some reason, Gus got a bit macho jealous of Ryan's biceps and needed a photo with them:

Only he lost the contest:

Just to make Gus feel less inferior, we decided to hit the schnapps, picking the ones with the highest alcoholic content. You know, cos we're all macho and all.

Let me tell you this, Sour Apple Schnapps is the ONLY thing you should order from their schnapps menu. The rest is either a paint stripper, or a sugar concentrate that will guarantee cavities within 5mins of taking a shot!


The last get together I had with some of my old workmates involved Yum Cha at lunch. As nice as that was, we couldn't spend much time chatting and catching up. So this time round, I organised dinner at the Malaya to give us more time to catch up as well as have some great food! Unfortunately, the lovely Oyen who wanted to try Malaya so bad was feeling sick and couldn't make it, so it looks like I'll have to organise another outing to Malaya soon! Poor us ;)

As with every get together, there is alcohol beforehand. Its kind of given considering half of the people are boozers! (And I mean people who booze more than me!). This time however, we made it to the restaurant on time. Unlike the last dinner outing which involved a few of us getting so pissed we forgot to go to the restaurant, and when we did, we caught the wrong bus and ended up walking in a storm without umbrellas to get there! This time it was raining as well, and we were pissed, but not so pissed we couldn't find the place. But what do we do the minute we got to Malaya? Cocktails!!

Malayatini - Passion fruit and lychee martini

Mrs wong - Tastes like orange juice to me

We ended up having quite a few more rounds of cocktails and beers before the food even came out!!

Seafood san choi bow

My serve

Chicken satay sticks with a sweet sambal sauce

The sweet sambal like sauce was really really good. I was spooning a whole teaspoonful per bite I was taking. Then I moved onto the veggies which I dunked into the sauce then delicately balanced a heap spoonful of sauce ontop before eating. I was half tempted to ask them to leave the sauce behind. But get distracted for 2 seconds and it was gone :(

Roti Canai - Flakey pancakes with a chicken curry dipping sauce

The sauce

As much as I liked this dish, $11 for ONE roti cut into 4 wedges and a bowl of sauce is RIDICULOUS. In Singapore and Malaysia, this is considered a cheap snack. For what you see above, that wouldn't cost you more than $1.50.

Pepper king prawns - peppery but sweet and moreish

Wonderfully crispy salt and pepper squid

Tender Lamb Korma

Assam fish - Crispy but with a creamy sweet and sour tang

Half demolish Bali Lamb

Sze Chuan Eggplant

I decided to write about this dish last. This was UNBELIEVABLY, orgasmicly good! The eggplants were fried until crispy, but the inside was smooth and creamy, all tossed in a caramelised sweet and spicy sauce served on a bed of Kang Kung. I would've been happy with this dish and a big bowl of boiled rice. Hell, I'll eat this every single day, 3 meals a day for a week and I'll still be happy! Anyone who doesn't like eggplant must still try this dish. I guarantee it will convert you!

Happy campers!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Rounding up the Good Food Month

End of October means the end of the Good Food Month for another year. This year, I planned ahead and managed to squeeze in 4 "Lets do Lunch" outings. First one was at Forty One, and here are the other three:

Quadrant Restaurant

First up, Quadrant Restaurant by Circular Quay. Before we even ordered our dishes, they bought out a little starter of Three Cheese Tartlet with a Caramelised Balsamic sauce:

The restaurant was offering a choice of:

Choice of Crispy skin duck breast with duck parfait, sauteed witlof and pink lady apples or Grainfed beef tenderloin with jerusalem artichoke and truffle ravioli, sauteed spinach, red wine sauce or Steamed mulloway, shao xing braised squid, snow pea leaves, xo chilli or Grilled field mushroom topped with persian fetta, spiced eggplant and tomato salsa.

My workmate went for the Crispy Duck whilst I went for the Beef Tenderloin, mainly because I don't like witlof much and was expecting it to be really bitter even though they way they cooked it ensured it had a subtle sweetness to it so you didn't even notice the bitterness.

I have also never tasted jerusalem artichoke before and thought it was a great chance to try it out, and I loved it!

Tenderloin unveiled!


We also managed to get one of the limited bookings at Bécasse. Again, a lovely little hor'dourve to start with.

This little bitesize morsel was utterly amazing. It was a warm parmesan cheese biscuit base with a slice of cherry tomato topped with a quinelle of goats curd. If all they had served me was a platter of this, I would've died happy. This was sooooooo good!!

A lovely sour dough roll in a twisted floral shape

We also opted to try their entree, which was $15 as a part of the GFM special. This was a duck parfait with a herb and gerkin salad. REALLY REALLY good. I could feel my arteries clogging up with every mouthful, but we couldn't stop!!


For the main, we had Slow roast rump of Rosé veal with crushed potatoes and a warm vinaigrette of Spring vegetables.

The mash was actually half mashed potatoes half crushed potatoes mixed with herbs and a lightly seasoned with lemon to give it a bit of a tang. I've never had a citrus potato before, but it actually went really well with everything.

The rest of the group stayed behind for coffee, tea and dessert (Which takes a minimum of 20mins to make). But since I had a meeting, I had to skip all of that and run back to work.

Hyde Park Barracks Cafe

Bloody Google Maps! When I booked a seating at the Hyde Park Barracks Cafe, I was wondering why Google Maps had put the address on the corner of Bridge and Macquarie St. Lets just say, ITS NO WHERE NEAR THERE! Luckily my workmate new the address and after a 20min power walk, we got there without much drama.

The Hyde Park Barracks Cafe was offering a choice of Grilled King prawns served on a bed of saffron infused linguini in a lobster and tomato concasser sauce or Veal escalopes filled with provolone and baby spinach on a bed of creamy parmesan polenta with a cherry tomato jus.

My workmate's partner, decided to join us at the last minute, so we took her order over the phone. So infront of the poor waiter, who spent a good 2 minutes describing the dish to us in great detail such as what I wrote above, he asked "Did you want the prawn pasta with a lobster soupy thing, or a stuffed veal thing on porridge?". I think the waiter's heart broke a little when he heard that.

My prawn pasta with lobster soupy thing

Stuffed veal thing with porridge

So that's it for the year. Thank GOD! I don't think my wallet can handle much more of this lunch splurging thing.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Making the most of Good Food Month

Its Good Food Month and I have an excuse to go out and make a pig of myself! A bunch of us at work decided to do the "Lets do lunch" at Forty One located at Chifley Tower. We managed to book the second seating meaning we wouldn't be rushed out of the restaurant. To make things better, all the Managers were out of the office today, so we could really enjoy our lunch.

The service at Forty One was really good and attentive, but not overbearing. Drinks were offered the moment we sat down, and plates of warm and crusty sourdough bread rolls were brought out some olive oil. Now I've always been against dipping bread into olive oil. I just don't find it that tasty! Even all the gourmet olive oils at the Farmers Markets don't really cut it for me. Yes I can taste a HINT of the fruitiness/pepperiness etc etc, but it just didn't jump out at me. That is until today. The olive oil they served with the bread was like nothing I've ever had before. The fruitiness of the olive oil was unmistakable! I couldn't help myself but rip of chunks of crusty bread and dunking it into the olive oil and slowly savouring the taste!

Once we had settled in, our mains came out. For the Good Food Month, Forty one was offering a dish of Slow Cooked Ocean Trout, Sweet English Peas crushed with Prosciutto, Peccorino, Basil, Mint & Lemon.

This was unbelievable. It looked like a big slab of sashimi, but instead of the cold slipperiness I was expecting, it was warm and unbelievably melting in your mouth. All you had to do was nudge it with a knife, and it'll slide through the trout like soft butter. A nice squeeze of lemon juice went perfectly with this decadent fish. The peas had the fresh sweetness that you don't get from frozen peas and the potato cubes! Crispy and fluffy! I can't be good for you!

We also ordered a few sides of cooked spinach with flaked almonds and a green salad to share. After our meal, we ordered a few coffees and teas and relaxed before we had to go back to work. Since I had to stay back late at work last night, I ended up leaving on time even though I had a long lunch. I met up with a few friends and headed off to the Night Noodle Markets at Hyde Park for round 2.

We managed to score one of the last tables and immediately starting hitting the stands. Now I made the same mistake that I did last year. We were so early, we ended up getting the precooked cold food they had prepared earlier. The wind chill factor didn't help either. But we still had a few nice dishes to share. By the way, I'm trying out my brand spanking new lenses, so the photo quality ain't that great. I haven't fully gotten a hang of how to use it yet:

Cold and windy

Tom Yum Prawn Noodle Soup from Yai's

Thai stuff chicken wings from Sussex Thai

Prawn cakes with sweet chilli sauce from Sussex Thai

Salt and pepper calamari

Japanese Spicy pork fried rice with fried Dim Sims

We were surprisingly full by this stage and completely frozen from head to toe. We ended up giving our table to some late running friends and got out of there for something indoors.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Night Noodle Markets

I'm sitting in my room trying to defrost after freezing my butt off at the Night Noodle Markets tonight. The upside is, the food is much better than last year's disappointment. The Thai Stores are still all pushing Pad Thai and Green Curries, but there are a few unique dishes out there as well.

So after work, I trudged up to Hyde Park with my workmates where we already had a few tables saved for us. With a bottle of Brown Brothers Dolcetto and Syra wine to keep us warm, we started taking turns hitting the food stands. The usual salt and pepper calamari is a must from East Oceans, who this year is offering salt and pepper soft shell crab. But at $12 for 4 pieces, I opted for my big pile of calamari instead.

Then we got a massive heap of Singapore Char Kuay Teow, Pad Thai, Dim Sims, Prawn and Crab Claw Takoyaki, Okonomiyaki and some interesting Thai Pies. The highlight of the night for me had to be Sussex Thai's Stuffed Chicken Wings and Prawn cakes. The chicken wings had the bones removed and stuffed with a mixture of pork mince, crunchy fungus and vermicelli. The prawn cakes were super meaty and juicy! There were also plenty of Dutch chocolate and caramel fudge pancakes all round as well as some Serendipity coconut and lime ice cream. By this stage, I was stuffed like a Turkey and couldn't possibly eat anymore. It still didn't stop the group of us salivating over a massive container of grilled lamb skewers one of our friends got. Now I just need to have a hot shower to get feeling back into my body again!

Oh, incase you're wondering why there is no photos? It was hungry and it was too cold. I wasn't about to risk the food getting cold ;)

Sunday, October 7, 2007

My new (not so) secret - Sushi Tei

I love how you find little gems all over the city when you least expect it. We had a lunch meeting one day that was going to provide sandwiches, but both me and my workmate was starving and wouldn't last the hour until the meeting without eating. We decided to go to Ton Ton's for a small bowl of Udon Noodle Soup to tide us over. What we didn't know, was that the food court at Chifley Plaza is under construction and Ton Ton was no longer there. As we headed back to work to search for something else, we spotted a new Japanese Restaurant that had opened. We decided to go back there the week after for our "World Safari Lunches" that happen every 3 weeks. Boy am I glad that we did.

Sushi Tei had been opened for less than a month when we first visited and not only was the service spectacular, so was the food. I forgot my camera on the first visit, but their Nabeyaki Udon is TO DIE FOR. As well as their soft shell crab maki that I order every time I am there.

Less than a week later, I was back with my friend for lunch. There are two main seating areas in the restaurant. One room has ceiling to floor windows letting in lots of light, whilst the other room is a much more cosy and romantic room with seats by the sushi train and booths. This time, we were in the booth room.

Sushi Train


Soft shell crab maki

Tempura Udon

Pheonix Roll - Fried Prawn Sushi topped with Eel topped with avocado

This was amazing. We were arguing over whether to order the fried prawn sushi, or the eel sushi, when we spotted the pheonix roll which combined the both of them! The prawns were crunchy but the eel was meltingly tender topped with a slice of creamy avocado. OMG! This was really really good!

Salmon and Scallop paper hot pot with miso soup base

I first saw this dish on Iron Chef and was amazed that they could serve a hot pot in a sheet of paper. The secret is the flame under the paper. The soup will keep the paper moist, but the flame counteracts the moisture, therefore keeping the paper dry, and ensuring you're not going to get a lap full of hot soup when the paper burst. This was really good. The miso gave a nice sweetness to the soup when the salmon and scallops were just gently poached. The only problem was, it was so good, we had scooped all the contents out before the flame went out. That meant that the paper started catching fire and I had to put the flames out with my drink! hehe

Green tea and red bean ice cream sandwich

The total bill came to about $50, which was great value considering how much we had eaten!

After the first visit with my workmate, and hearing the stories from my second visit, my workmate decided to take me there for my birthday lunch. This would be my 3rd visit in the space of 2 weeks. Hehehe

Lunchtime crowd

Soft shell crab maki - again

Chawamushi - again

Gyoza with a chilli vinegar dipping sauce


Salmon and Scallop hotpot - again

As you could tell, I ordered the same thing again on my 3rd visit. That's because the food was so good, I really wanted my workmate to try it. This is now one of my favourite Japanese Restaurants, and one of the few where you can actually eat and stay for a chat. Most of the good Japanese restaurants tend to be little take away joints, so it's a nice change to find a really good Jap restaurant you can hang around with your friends at.

Sushi Tei is a franchise that started off in Asia and this is the first branch that is opened in Australia.

Sushi Tei
1 Chifley Square
Cnr of Elizabeth St and Hunter St

Telephone +61 2 92327288
Facsimile +61 2 92327988
*Note: Website is for Singapore Branch only. They don't have an Australian website yet