Archive for January, 2012

Tomislav, Darlinghurst

Tomislav is a small bistro located in Darlinghurst. Could be missed if you don’t know it exists. I love the balcony, where we managed to sit outside, it was perfect for a summer evening. I do like an open kitchen, where I can see the chefs in action. We had a view of the Harbour Bridge which was quite lovely too – would be perfect for NYE, and see the fireworks.

The waitress we had was absolutely lovely, she was so friendly, cheerful and helpful. She even managed to remember all our orders without taking any notes down! I would have forgotten that’s for sure. Apparently the menu is relatively new. Four courses for $90 and each course gives you a choice of five dishes, from light to heavy to dessert.

Started with complementary Sourdough bread with butter. I loved how the butter had a hint of espresso, very clever, as it gave the bread a nice sweet after taste which I really enjoyed.

We couldn’t resist but order a serve of the rice crackers with seal salt and vinegar ($10), thin sheets of fried rice cracker which was light and crunchy. Spray three pumps from the vinegar bottle before eating, I love the sourness, the strong vinegar smell, it was quite delicious!

The rice crackers with sour cream and chives ($11) were also a hit!

There were so many choices, I didn’t know where to start. It took us a while to decide. The 1st course had a lot of raw food, which was a little bit of a dilemma for me. I wanted the poached hen’s yolk, foie gras – pickled beetroots. Asked if they could cook the yolk longer, but the chef made this dish vegetarian, so instead of the hen’s yolk, I got some mushrooms. It was such a pretty dish – mushrooms, crumbed foie gras, radish and pickled beetroots. It was a light and refreshing dish.

Although, the hen’s yolk looked SO much better!

C1 had the cape hawke rock oysters with lemon ice and soy dressing, these babies looks fantastic!

C2 and J had the kangaroo tartare which was served with mint and hazelnut dressing and cute little toasted bread. Unfortunately I didn’t get to try this, but C2 loved the flavours and really enjoyed it.

T had the scampi carpaccio with sour cream and pumpkin juice. I loved how the pumpkin juice was served in a test tube and poured when the dish on the table. The colours are just too vibrant!

Amazing that everyone had a different dish, S had poached yellow fin tuna, sour potato and lime honey. This would have definitely been my first choice… if I could eat tuna!

Second course for me would have to be roast red gate farm quail with xo sauce and ice sour cherries sorbet. This was absolutely delish. Tender, succulent quail, the xo sauce was not distinctive, but I love the sour cherry sorbet that came with it.

C1 and R had the basmati rice risotto which was served with lemon and grilled yamba prawns. C1 really enjoyed this, I do love a good risotto and this was tasty.

C2 had the grilled blackmore’s tongue with toffee glaze and coconut ice cream. It sounded SO wrong but C2 thought this was excellent. Dish of the night he claims. The tongue was cut very thin, then grilled on both side before it was served on top of toffee glaze with coconut ice cream.

Last of the savoury dish, and C2 and I both couldn’t go past the ranger’s valley beef short rib served with shitake and grilled mango. Oh my – these were one of the nicest beef short ribs I have had. Braised for 24 hours then grilled and served with mango puree and shitake mushrooms. Fantastic dish to end on, probably the highlight of the evening for me, I really loved this dish!

Majority of the diners couldn’t go past the burrawong duck breast with wasabi and poached rhubarb. The wasabi was very subtle and light, and the rhubarb really gave it that extra nice sweet flavour. The duck was cooked to perfection. T didn’t enjoy the rhubarb so much, but thought the duck was nice.

S had the roast john dory fillet with warrigal greens and salt caramel. Unfortunately I didn’t take a photo of this but she really enjoyed it and said she hadn’t eaten anything quite like it. It was super yum!

We had a couple of sides, three servings of the triple cooked crinkle cut fries ($11) – like Heston’s and they were incredible! Crunchy, light, and no one could stop eating them!

The icebergs with macadamias and cranberries ($10) was also lovely.

Final course, dessert. Unfortunately this was a little bit of a letdown for me. Opt for the vanilla cheese cake with basil ice and rhubarb sorbet. We were told it is not your typical cheese cake – not a baked cheese cake but very much moose-like. The basil ice didn’t really do it for me, but I LOVED the rhubarb sorbet, sweet, and light and absolutely refreshing. The cheese cake itself was a little ordinary, I think this was one of their special desserts, but it was too mouse-like.

C2 and R had milk chocolate cream cake, hazelnuts and smoked banana ice cream. I don’t think C2 and R enjoyed this, they thought it was quite ordinary, they preferred the savoury dishes.

C1 on the other hand had tarago river blue, tamarillo pie and clotted cream. This looked good, the tarago river blue was softened, the combination of it all was great. Think C1 enjoyed this dish more than I did with the cheesecake.

I really enjoyed my savoury dishes, the beef especially was fantastic! The dessert was a real letdown unfortunately. Service fantastic and efficient, although it did drag a little towards the end.

Nevertheless, it was a wonderful meal with friends, I would happily come back and eat more of their savoury stuff and perhaps try something different on their dessert menu.

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10


2/13 Kirketon Road

Darlinghurst 2010

Ph: +61 2 9356 4535

Tomislav on Urbanspoon

Bronte Carlo Cafe, Bronte

‘The Mother’ and I wanted to go to Three Blue Ducks over the Christmas break, unfortunately, they were closed! Doh! I should have definitely checked the times. Thankfully we saw another cafe open, Bronte Carlo Cafe and thought we would check it out. Located on the busy street of McPherson Street,just a couple of metres down from Three Blue Ducks and Iggy’s bread.

The menu vast but had a slight Lebanese twist to it. We started with a couple of drinks, ‘The Mother’ had the chocolate milkshake, not the best he said, and I couldn’t go past some fresh Juice.

The bruschetta ($12.00), oven roasted tomatoes with avocado, homemade pine-nut pesto, mixed lettuce, balsamic vinegar on toasted Vienna bread had my name on it. I wanted something ‘relativel’y healthy after gorging in delicious food over Christmas.

All the ingredients were fresh and refreshing, I loved the homemade pine-nut pesto sauce and the balsamic vinegar gave it a nice touch.

‘The Mother’ wanted bacon and eggs, opt for BET ($12) – toasted turkish bread with bacon, roasted tomato and eggs of your choice – sunny side up in this case.

Perfectly fried egg which oozed with yolk, the bacon crispy, and tasty – hmhmhm bacon! I love bacon!

They had some interesting dishes on the menu, BLATA which seemed to be the popular one, and the falafel sandwich. Cute little cafe, service was relative friendly, and the owners I thought was quite lovely. Didn’t get to talk to them much but they seemed to know all the customers and orders.

Overall, it wasn’t a bad find, I was disappointed that Three Blue Ducks was closed, but we came back a week later and thankfully they were open! yay

GA’s ratings: 6 / 10

Bronte Carlo Cafe

145e McPherson Street

Bronte 2024, NSW

Ph: +61 2 9389 0335

Bronte Carlo Cafe on Urbanspoon

Jazz City Diner, Surry Hills

Jazz city diner was opened in December 2010, a New Orleans-inspired burger joint. The diner is small but yet cozy, I love the obligatory booths, the retro looking tables and chairs. The jazz posters, the mini screens at each booth playing old jazz clips gave it a really nice touch.

I was catching up with one of my dearest friend, M for lunch and she suggested this place which is located on the busy street of Crown street. As the name suggests, the menu had a nice American touch to it, burgers, and lots of it, ribs, chicken and waffles and desserts! I recall eating so many burgers in America! Trying to figure out what was the best.

We both couldn’t resist getting a float – soda and ice cream. I had the lime float, whilst M had the root beer float. It brought back to my childhood.

The chicken and waffles sounded interesting but wrong at the same time – belgium waffle, southern fried chicken pieces. But we were here for burgers, so opt for egg and bacon burger ($16) – ground beef patty, egg over easy, smoked bacon, tomato, mayo and lettuce, which was served with sweet potato fries.

The burger was surprisingly good – tender beef patty, the bacon cooked to perfection and who can say no to egg on a burger? It was a simple burger, no wagyu meet, or brioche bun, but it was tasty.

The sweet potato fries though were excellent! Crunchy but yet soft on the inside. Diners can substitute the sweet potato fries for onion rings for an extra $3.

M on the other hand ordered the Southern fried chicken burger ($16) – fried chicken burger with tabasco mayo, corn salsa, lettuce and tomatoes.

I loved the crunchiness of the fried chicken, and the corn salsa, it was a little messy to eat though, the corn kept falling out of the burger, but it was good, she definitely enjoyed it more than the bacon and egg burger.

Unfortunately, we were both too full for dessert, but I was told that the banana cream pie is a must order! NEXT time! We asked if they do take away, and thankfully they do! YAY!

Service was friendly, and welcoming. I thought the burgers were tasty, I actually do prefer them too Grill’d. Is it the best burger in Sydney? Unfortunately not, but I wouldn’t hesitate coming back to try their other burgers.

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

Jazz City Diner

238 Crown St

Surry Hills 2010

Ph: +61 2 9332 2903

Jazz City Diner on Urbanspoon

A Tavola, Darlinghurst

A Tavola is Italian for ‘to the table’, it was established in 2007 by chef owner Eugenio Maiale. It certainly has been a while since my last visit to A Tavola. I was trying to figure out where to have my birthday dinner with ‘The Mother’ and suggested this place. I know ‘The Mother’ has never been and I had a feeling that he would like this place.

Upon entering the restaurant, there is a 10 metre long communal table stretched the length of the room. Two large blackboards are hung on the wall with daily specials scrawled in Italian. Thankfully we were given menus, as it would take me forever to figure out what was what, and our friendly waiter explained each dish to us.

We started with the complimentary bread, home-made focaccia with fennel and rosemary. It was accompanied by small dish of chili infused olive oil which was absolutely divine!

I remember the serving being quite large, so thought we would skip entrée. I couldn’t go past the GNOCCHI con PISELLI e FUNGHI ($33) – house made potato gnocchi, pea puree, king brown and oyster mushroom. It was indeed a GENEROUS serving.

The gnocchi was incredibly soft and pillow-y. Don’t be put off by the green colour, the pea puree was absolutely wonderful, it wasn’t strong and the mushroom a wonderful complement. It was sprinkled with bread crumbs, which gave it that extra crunch. It was definitely one of the nicest gnocchi I have had.

‘The Mother’ opted for PESCE con BROCCOLINI e CAPERI ($37), pan fried ocean trout, it was slightly pink in the middle, served with broccolini, tomato, caperberry and kipfler potato. ‘The Mother’ doesn’t usually order fish when dining out, he usually finds that they are over cooked, but he said this was excellent. The ocean trout was cooked perfectly.

We ordered a side of Baby cos, tomato, basil, cucumber, olives ($15) – which complemented our dish well.

For dessert, we thought we would share the CREMINO al CIOCCOLATO ($14) – served in a coffee mug, chocolate, hazelnut, Italian meringue with salted caramel ice cream. It had me at salted caramel ice cream. It was deliciously rich, deliciously creamy and deliciously excellent! It was the perfect way to end the meal.

Service was impeccable, but it did get a little noisy towards the end of the evening, with large group of people sitting in the middle.

The food is as good as I remembered it to be, simple Italian at its best. I don’t know why it has taken me this long to return, definitely keen to come back and have the half-moon shaped ravioli, perch, capers, mascarpone, lemon and heirloom tomatoes – yum! But the gnocchi was incredibly tasty! Wouldn’t hesitate to have it again.

It was a pretty low key but lovely birthday celebration with ‘The Mother’. Next year will be a different kind of birthday, it won’t just be the two of us anymore, but I am sure looking forward to this year! Lots of changes coming!

GA’s ratings: 8 / 10

A Tavola

348 Victoria St

Darlinghurst 2010

Ph: +61 2 9331 7871

A Tavola on Urbanspoon

Reuben Hills, Surry Hills

Reuben Hills, the new café in Surry Hills that just opened at the beginning of this year. It never cease to amaze me how many cafés are in Surry Hills, good for me I guess, more choices and more variety! The food here is by Megan McCulloch, who has worked with Heston Blumenthal at the Hinds Head and Royal Ascot. The menu is simple and limited I thought, one page with about a dozen choices.

Located on Albion Street, the café is sleek and clean – I love the natural light which comes from the entrance and the back. The place was packed when we rocked up for brunch on Sunday but thankfully we didn’t have to wait for long for a table.

The menu has a bit of a Mexican twist to it, I couldn’t go past the balaeda, a wheat flour tortilla folded in half and filled with pimento-spiced pulled pork chimol and onion ($9). There are two varieties, and the other is with eggs, queso fresco and black beans.

The tortilla was soft and the pulled pork was tender, shredded with a hint of spice. The chimol, a simple salsa of tomato, coriander and lime was a wonderful complement. I really did enjoy my dish and was perfect for brunch!

‘The Mother’ on the other hand wasn’t a huge fan of the menu. He thought it was too ‘weird’ – but he is a simple boy. He opted for the baked beef empanadas, pico de gallo ($9). The beef empanadas were a little dry, even the salsa fresca, which was made from chopped tomato, white onions, and chili didn’t help.

I came back a couple of days later with a friend, S, started with the flat white and the coffee was excellent. It was incredibly smooth and way too easy to drink.

We both opt for the Reuben Sandwich ($15) – wagyu salt brisket, pickled slaw, melted manchego and horseradish cream.

It’s not your typical Reuben – it doesn’t have sauerkraut which I love, but the slow-cooked wagyu brisket was incredibly tasty and absolutely delicious. It is a slightly smaller serving, but it did hit the spot and a ‘good’ enough alternative.

S ordered the salted caramel milkshake – it was incredibly sweet but mind-blowingly good at the same time. I probably couldn’t finish the whole thing but glad I definitely tried it.

Reuben hills offer coffee cuppings weekly Friday 10am – it is some serious espresso business.

I definitely wouldn’t mind trying the baked eggs, the ceviche or even the Doggs breakfast – ice cream ‘sandwich’ with salted caramel! It does get busy, so be prepared to wait for 15 – 20 mins during peak hours. Service friendly and efficient, the coffee is definitely worth coming back for.

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

Reuben Hills

61 Albion Street

Surry Hills 2012

Reuben Hills on Urbanspoon