Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sydney Madang and Mizuya Japanese Restaurant and Karaoke for Dessert!?

I had stupidly bought tickets to The Lovely Bones on the day of the Australian Open Mens Finals! ARGHHH!!! Luckily, the movie was supposed to end around 7:30pm, so our plan was to run to the nearest restaurant that has a TV and is also showing the Australian Open!

We met up at 4pm and was walking towards the cinemas when I suddenly spotted a sign. I was so excited I couldn't even speak, just point and went "UH!! UH!!!!!". What got me so excited? Outside Mizuya (The newly open Japanese Restaurant/Karaoke bar where Maloneys and Bar Ace used to be) had a sign outside saying "Green tea soft serve for 50c". UH!!! UH!!!!! Meanwhile, my friend wasn't paying any attention to my grunting because she was too busy checking out people walking around with a green tea soft serve in their hands!

We both detoured into Mizuyas for a bout of dessert before the movies:

Green tea soft serve

I hate "green tea" flavoured things that are more green colouring than green tea flavoured. This however, was a punch in the face GREEN TEA. The intense taste of green tea, almost slightly bitter in taste was heart stoppingly good. Even better that you can pick up a green tea anything for 50c! We were so happy with this I took a photo and MMS my friend who was supposed to join us for the movies but piked. HA!

After the movies, we dashed out of the cinemas, met up with a friend and went straight to Sydney Madang. There was a huge crowd outside, and we almost turn tailed and left. Luckily we grabbed a number because we had waited less than 10mins before we got a table, right infront of the TV.....that was showing the Australian Open! Oh yeah!! Tennis and good food at the same time!


Madang has some of the best Banchan that I've tasted in Sydney. Today's offerings were fish cakes, wongabok kimchee, choy sum kimchee, potatoes and a lovely salad with a grated apple and onion dressing. I think we has 3-4 rounds of banchan.

Seafood Pancake

Most of the time I get the kimchee pancakes, this time my friends insisted on the seafood one. And boy am I glad we ordered this. The seafood version is quite different to the kimchee version. Not only in taste, but in texture as well. Whilst the kimchee version is slightly crispy on the outside, it was soft and chewy on the inside. The seafood version however, had a wonderfully crunchy outside, almost tempura batter like. It has a much higher crunch to chewy ratio. I think its the few Korean restaurants that cook it this way. I am definitely ordering this over the Kimchee version from now on!!

Spicy Octopus, beef and tofu stew

When we order individual pots of soup, most of us stick with a seafood soup. When we order a hotpot size stew, we NEVER get a seafood stew. This is because it usually contains prawns, crabs and chunks of fish. All require you to pay attention to bones, shells and the use of hands. Most of the time we're all too lazy to wrestle the meat from the crab when there's so much other food to eat we actually leave a majority of the food untouched.

Madang has a wonderful octopus and beef stew, giving us the sweetness of seafood, without the trouble of having to eat with our hands. This pot was filled with bulgogi beef, octopus, rice cakes, udon noodles, tofu and heaps of veggies. Between the 3 of us, we barely finished this pot. I was actually sickly full after eating this as I was too busy concentrating on the game rather than listening to my stomach, that was screaming NO MORE!!

We waddle out of Madang and decided to swing past Mizuya again to introduce our friend to the green tea soft serve. We walk up to the bar and order 3 softserves and this is what happened:

Us: 3 green tea soft serves please
Him: Sorry, that offer is only available before 6:30pm.
Us: NOOoOoOoOoOoooooooOOooOoOoooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Him: *panicked look* can sell it to you, just not at the promotional price. I'll have to charge you full price
Us: *collective sigh of relief*

The full price for the soft serve is $2. A huge jump from the 50c we paid a few hours earlier. But we were all craving for a fix and coughed up the money. Honestly, I would've happily paid $2 every time if I didn't know there was a 50c special offer! Oh, the soft serve is also around for a limited time only! So go grab yourself a serve before they discontinue it! I'm hoping if its popular enough, it'll be a year long thing!

Mizuya Japanese Restaurant & Karaoke Bar
Basement, 614 George St
(Ph) 02 9266 0866

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Sydney Madang
371A Pitt St
Sydney NSW 2000
(Ph) 02 9264 7010

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Plan B By Bécasse

Tucked away in a tiny hole in the wall next to Becasse, is Plan B. Becasse's answer to casual dining. I took a now ex-colleague there as a farewell lunch. We had both ordered the wagyu beef burger with the truffle mayo for $5 more. Unfortunately they had run out of the truffle mayo so we were relegated back to a normal $10 wagyu beef burger. Oh poor us ;)

The burger may not be the prettiest, sitting on a glossy bun with mixed lettuce and a beetroot relish. The meat is chunkier than I expected, but the patty is certainly a lot thicker than most places.

The quality of the ingredient is evident with every bite. I just wished they offer chips as well!

We were still peckish afterwards and decided to see what dessert they had on offer. There was a few mini cheesecakes in the fridge and nothing else. Luckily another tray of pastries gets delivered at that exact moment! Score!


The cheesecake wasn't that impressive. Basically just another cheesecake, was still a nice dessert to wind up a meal.

Banana toffee custard pie

Sweet shortcrust pastry filled with custard, caramelised banana and toffee. This was AWESOME. I could be bold enough to say that it was even better than the burger! Too bad when I went back all the sweets were sold out, otherwise I would've stocked up!

Plan B By Bécasse
204 Clarence Street
Sydney, NSW
(Ph) 02 92833440

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Crocodile Farm Hotel - Ashfield

Crocodile Farm Hotel in Ashfield was renovated about a year ago. Previously it looked more like a local pub serving more beer than food. With a modern look and a revamped dining area, we decided to go give their $10 Rump Steaks ago.

Strangely enough, when we got there, both me and my friend got lured by the Sirloin Steak and paid a little extra for our meal.

Sirloin with mash potato & steamed vegetables - $16

The Sirloin was cooked to perfection, but for the extra money we paid, I didn't really notice a huge difference in quality. I guess I'm not much of a steak eater and really don't know my cuts of meats well. I think next time I'm going to try the $10 rump and compare.

Both us had decided to be "healthy" and ordered steamed vegetables with our steak. Big mistake because we were both secretly craving chips!!! Since the nice was young, we ordered a serve of wedges to snack on whilst we sat and chatted.

Wedges with Sweet Chilli and sour cream - $7

The dining area is very comfortable and relaxing, allowing you to sit back, chillax and catch up with your friends. Certainly a huge improvement since the renovation! And considering its situated right outside Ashfield Mall, a good place to relax after shopping. And if you're lucky, you should get free parking in the shopping centre without much issue.

Crocodile Farm Hotel
262 Liverpool Road
Ashfield NSW 2131
(Ph) 02 9799 6010

Thursday, January 28, 2010

New Taste Noodle House (Lao Fu Qing) - Ashfield

Whenever I am eating in Ashfield, 8 times out of 10, I would choose to eat Shanghainese. Of those 8 times, I would say 7 times is with Shanghai Nights. I've tried atleast 3/4 of the restaurant in Ashfield, and I consistently go back to either Shanghai Nights or the local Kebab joint, Metro 1.

I was trawling on eatability awhile ago and noticed there was a restaurant in Ashfield called Lao Fu Qing that had decent ratings. I decided to try the place out and couldn't find it! I tried on 2 separate occasions! Today I made sure I double checked google maps before I decided to hunt the place down. Success!

Strangely enough, the restaurant seems to have two names? New Taste Noodle House on the menu, but Lao Fu Qing on the sign outside. Some things have both names on it.

I've actually walked past this restaurant a few times, never noticing the name and almost instantly dismissing it as the modern type restaurant with small serves and bad food served on square plates category. Boy was I wrong!

Before I get onto the food part, I must apologise for the dodgy photos. I only realised when I sat down that my camera had a flat battery! I was completely devastated when this happens, especially when I try a new place! I was almost tempted to leave the restaurant and come back another day with a fully charged camera! hehehe Luckily for camera photos.

Anyway, food! The menu has a entree section and a traditional snacks section. I wasn't too sure what the difference was, so I assumed the snacks section was small serves like the entree section. Based on that assumption, and the thundering noise coming from my tummy, we decided to order 2 snacks and 2 mains between 2 people..... *cough*

Spicy minced pork Dou Pi - $6.80

This came out looking like a murtabak. The chinese name is spicy minced pork in tofu skin. What came out seemed to be more doughy pastry than tofu skin pastry. Nevertheless, the pastry was crispy and oh so moreish. The filling was a layer of sticky rice topped with a spicy, garlicky pork mince. SO GOOD! I'm definitely hoping to try their other Dou Pi dishes.

Boiled Pork and chive dumplings - $8.20

If I thought snack meant small portions then I was wrong. For $8.20, you get 12 of these babies. Big, plump, juicy dumplings. These are definitely freshly made and not of the frozen variety. The chives were a fresh bright green and the pork had a lovely bite to it. And did I mention these babies are huge?

Taiwan beef brisket noodle soup - $10.50

This was a clean rich broth with big flakey chunks of beef.

Hu Nan beef tripe noodle soup with spicy minced pork sauce - $10.50

When this huge bowl came out, I automatically assumed it was a big bowl, lots of soup, not much substance. It wasn't until I dug my chopsticks in did I realise how much food we had actually ordered! The bowl had a huge wack of noodles, chunks of meat and heaps of tripe, pickled veggies, bok choy and........peanut butter. That's right....peanut butter. I had a WTF moment and then went whatever! If that's the way the chef made it, that must be what the dish is like in Hu Nan and bravely stirred the peanut butter in. And you know what? It works! The peanut gives a lovely creaminess to the soup and mellows out the chilli. Were the minced pork sauce was I have no idea. But I did like the chunks of meat! Not bad for $10.50. I actually couldn't finish this bowl and took home a huge container of leftover noodles!

The reason I didn't find the restaurant the first 2 times was that I assumed it was down Liverpool Rd with the other restaurants. Little did I know it was actually up near the quieter end of town. Quite unfortunately actually, because they have really good food! Its actually one of the few restaurants in Ashfield that I'm excited to have found! (I actually rushed home to blog about it, how sad is that?!). The restaurant is clean and comfortable, with plenty of seats for a large group of people. Certainly not something you find it a lot of other restaurants in Ashfield!

New Taste Noodle House (Lao Fu Qing)
243 Liverpool Rd
Ashfield, 2131
(Ph) 02 9716 6838

Tasty House - Ashfield

Tasty House has been in Ashfield for almost 10 years. For some reason we had stopped going there the last few years. I had a real craving for comforting noodle soup, and since a majority of restaurants in Ashfield are Shanghainese with limited noodle soups, Tasty House it was.

Combination seafood laksa

The seafood laksa is a generous bowl of creamy coconut goodness. The soup is rich and spicy leaving a nice heat on the tongue. My only criticism would be that its a too coconutty for my liking, luckily it wasn't my bowl and a few spoonfuls was more than satisfying for me. My friend who loves the creamy coconut milk taste loved the Laksa.

Wonton noodle soup

I couldn't decide between a pho and a wonton noodle soup. So I asked the waiter if I can get pho rice noodles in my wonton noodle soup and they happily obliged. The wontons had a nice bouncy texture and went really well with the slippery smooth rice noodles. I was one happy girl! Looks like I'll be visiting Tasty House again!

Tasty House
297 Liverpool Rd
Ashfield, NSW
(Ph) 02 9716 5668

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Crepes and other French food porn

Its not hard to find good food around Paris. Here are some of the other random food we tasted around Paris.

Our first meal in Paris

There was a lovely crepe place around the corner from our hotel. When we arrived in Paris, we were so jetlagged and starved that we practically shoved each other over to get in. They have these lovely set breakfast menus for 5-12euroes each.

Chocolate Crepes

Jamon, cheese and egg galette

I went the Galette as I'm a savoury breakfast type of person. This also came with a coffee, orange juice and toast with jam and butter. All for 10.50 euros!

We loved the food so much we went back for breakfast again a few days later!

There is so much food between the 2 of us that we needed a second table! hehe

My friend swapped a Jamon, cheese and egg Galette for just a Cheese and egg galette.

I love how the jam is served in a mini jar!

I didn't want "breakfast" so ordered something random off the menu. This turned out better than a breakfast set menu! A sunny side up egg on a galette and.....

A gratin of galette, jamon, mushrooms and cheese. Sooooooooooooo good!

Ontop of fantastic crepes and galettes you find around Paris, you also get FANTASTIC sandwiches!

Roast Chicken and salad baguette

Another roast chicken and tomato baguette

Actually, one of my favourite sandwiches was a simple jamon and cheese on baguette. Little did I know it tasted so good because they slathered 1/2 cup of butter on it. But hot damn it was good!! I just wish I never found out!

Fresh seafood on display at the Latin Quarters

Spit roasted suckling pig at one of the restaurants

Sugar hit!

Fauchon - Gourmet food store

Lots of Foie Gras for sale

Random fresh fruit for sale

I loved seeing all the fresh fruit and veggies for sale all around Paris. It may not be polished and gleaming under bright supermarket lights, but they looked unbelievably fresh and sweet! ESPECIALLY all the punnets of strawberries, raspberries and all sorts of berries! Did I mention I love berries!?

OMG...those potatoes will taste AMAZING!

Spotted at Maccas....Corn chips in burgers?!

And of course, no trip to Paris will be complete without coffee. And I really REALLY like my coffee!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Feasts around Paris

So what does Paris have besides Pastries and expensive restaurants? Generally good food everywhere! Most of the time we ended up having the set menu where you get 2-3 courses of your choice with a drink (sometimes wine) for 5-20 euroes depending on whether its breakfast, lunch or dinner.

My philosophy to eating is very different to my friend. On a set menu, he would also choose something he's had before. This meant a lot of steaks and grilled chicken a majority of the time. For me? If I can't find it in the dictionary, if the waiter can't translate it or tries to mime it out in the worst game of Charades, that is what I will order. Especially if I finally understand what the waiter is saying and it means organs or some unusual animal/body part! This means sometimes I have no idea what I am eating, even when I'm eating it. I also sometimes get things I would never order, but only ordered due to the language barrier. But hey, food should be adventurous!

Free crusty French baguette

OMG...I've never understood why people go on and on about French Baguettes. Its JUST BREAD people! That is...until you try the real French baguette! OMG! The bread has a lovely crunchy chewy crust, but the inside is so fluffy and soft. Some people eat it with butter, but I just eat it on its own. Its that good, I don't want to taint it with butter!

Salad with cheese and anchovies

Duck Terrine

This was really good, but also really rich. By the time I was done eating this, I was getting really full, and its only an entree!

Steak with salad

Another steak with chips

These were perfectly fried chips with a lovely cooked steak. I can't remember what type of steak it was, I think its flank?

When a set menu mentions wine, you usually get half a bottle per person.

My mini bordeux

1/2 a bottle combined with lack of sleep and jetlag meant I was a really REALLY happy person by the end of the meal. I was sooooo "happy" I couldn't eat dessert. Well...I didn't understand what she was trying to say. So I randomly yelled coffee in my "happy" state and ended the meal with that.

Our first day in Paris was exhausting. We arrived at 7am, but couldn't check in til 2pm. We forced ourselves to go roam around Paris and went to the Louvre for the Mona Lisa in our zoned out state. Trying to make sure we adjust to the time zone properly, we had a 3 hr nap and forced ourselves awake. We ended up at some Italian quarter an hour later, and in a very CBF mood, we plonked ourselves down at the nearest restaurant. Opening the menu did we realise we were in an Italian restaurant in France! hehe

My friend decided to be really difficult and ordered a tuna neptune pizza.....without the tuna. I told him to order the magarita or vegetarian pizza instead, but he insisted on a tuna pizza without the tuna. So when we placed our order, the waiter gave us the most disgusted look like we're trying to make trouble. He then places the order with the cook, who then all point and laugh at my friend! hahahaha

I got a Jamon and white asparagus pizza with what appears to be a dollop of creme fraiche.

Some random restaurant we found in the back streets of Paris. We were so tired we didn't care what they were serving. We went with the dish of the day that came in this really cute le creuset pot!

Lids off!

Err....still no idea...

Turns out it was mashed potatoes with some type of fish mashed through it. Really tasty, just wish I knew what it was! haha

Thank god Paris does good coffee!

Another meal, this time at a wine bar/cafe/restaurant near the hotel.

Oh yeah...alcohol!

Why did we choose this place? They serve Snails!


Being in France, we just had to try their Escargot. These were nice, but nothing special compared to the others I've tried previously. I would've liked this to be much more garlicky so I can mop up all the sauce with bread.

Andouille sausage

When I ordered this, the waitress actually had to check with me twice that I really wanted to order it. Why?

Its basically a sausage made entirely of pig intestines and stomach. Since I love my offal, I loved this dish!

My friend ordered a grilled chicken steak with creamy white wine sauce.

Our final night in Paris, we decided to wander around the Latin Quarter til we found something we wanted to eat. My friend really wanted to try frogs legs, so we walked and walked until we finally found one restaurant serving it!

Frog legs

These were quite blah. Basically cold poached frog legs topped with a tomato relish. I much prefer the Asian way of either stir fry, salt and pepper or even just cooked in congee. But atleast that's another thing to tick off!

Foie Gras
I went with the Foie Gras, which was incredibly incredibly rich! I could barely get through this even with the salad, bread and relish. I didn't manage to finish it off as it was just to rich, but damn it tasted good!

My friend's steak, frites and white wine sauce

Beef Bourguignon

Even though it was summer, I still wanted to try the beef bourguignon. Not as tasty as I would've liked, but it was summer and I really should've ordered something lighter.

Creme brulee!!!!

ho ho ho!! So good! Nothing else to say. Move along now! :D


Not just any profriteroles, but profriteroles stuffed with ice cream!

Our absolute last meal in Paris was lunch near our hotel. Since we had to check out on time, but not leave for the airport for a few hours, we grabbed lunch before doing a bit of a wander.

Again, my friend's steak and chips. Done Well Done this time. Me? I went the steak tartare! Again, the waiter had to double confirm and explain to me that this dish was completely, COMPLETELY 100% raw. I guess he's had way too many tourists ask him to cook the steak! When I confirmed that yes, I really REALLY want to order it. He put my order down and shook his head. "You and your friend are opposites. He wants his well done, you want yours completely raw!" hahaha that's soooooooooooo true!

Some of the best frites to go with my steak tartare

My steak tartare

Considering I've never eaten a steak tartare before, I had to ask the waiter what's the best way to eat it. He plonks about 5 sauces infront of me. Tomato, Worcestershire, tobasco, mustard and something else. He said just mix and match whatever you like after you mix everything together.

Doesn't look so pleasant after you've mixed it together...I divided my steak into many smaller bites. Each one flavoured with one sauce. Then I started mixing and matching until I found the combination I want. The first half of the steak was delicious. Half way through the cold raw meat started to sit funny in me. I could feel a cold lump in my stomach floating in a heap of water I was drinking. I really should've had some wine to wash it down.....but I needed to be sober enough to make it to the airport!