Archive for the ‘Syd: Kensington’ Category

Kaki Lima, Kensington

Ever since I went to the Malaysian Kitchen private dinner I have wanted to try Kaki Lima – to eat their roti canai once again.

Kaki Lima restaurant can be found on Anzac Parade in Kensington. It is a rather odd place as it is not exactly the ‘best’ location for restaurants. Unless you catch the bus or walk pass this part of Kensington, one would not notice this place – well I certainly didn’t!

I was catching up with uncle and his lovely wife, L. She loves roti so was very keen to try this place. Whilst perusing the menu, we thought we would order a ‘snack’. The roti was served with sugar, which I thought was a little weird as I have never had roti with sugar. I have only seen it served with curry or as it is, and I definitely like it plain.

The roti was as good as I remembered it to be. Deliciously flakey, fluffy, thick! DELICIOUS!

Started with kueh teow goring – fried thick noodles in thick soya sauce with beef ($10). Loved the wok aroma, the noodles thick and soft and I love the thick soya sauce.

The vegetable karipap (curry puffs) ($6 for 3) was nicer than I remembered it to be. The pastry flaky and a little crunchy, and the vegetable curry delightful.

The asam pedas fish with okra cooked in spicy tamarind sauce ($19) was a favourite amongst the diners. The fish I thought was a little dry but the tamarind sauce I loved!

I have never heard of ayam kuzi ($13) until that evening. Chicken Kuzi, a dish originating from the state of Kelantan. Thick gravy-like with coconut and served with sultanas – a bit weird I thought, very coconut-y, creamy and thick. The chicken incredibly tender and succulent, but I am not convinced about the kuzi sauce.

For dessert, we couldn’t help but order two things (getting full by this stage). Had the coconut pandan cake like – it was dense and absolutely delicious. Served warm, the pulut inti – glutinous rice with coconut topping and palm sugar was wonderful. L definitely enjoyed it, I think she loves anything with palm sugar! It was sweet and excellent.

The service and decor simple and friendly. Definitely worth returning considering how busy Mamak is, especially for the roti canai and kuih.

GA’s rating: 7 / 10

Kaki Lima

230 Anzac Parade

Kensington 2033

Ph: +61 2 9662 6868

Kaki Lima Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Chairman Mao, Kensington

I have wanted to go to Chairman Mao for a while now. The name attracted me, Chairman Mao, commonly known as Mao Zedong. He was held in regard in China as a ‘great revolutionary, political strategist, military mastermind and savior of the nation’. I won’t go through the history, as this is not a history lesson, but I have heard many discussions about him during family gatherings from my grandparents and my parents.

‘The Mother’ and I were catching up for dinner with a couple of friends, MG and his lovely finance, A and I suggested Chairman Mao, Hunan province food.

I am glad that I made a reservation that night, it was extremely busy, and the place was buzzing. The restaurant was decorated with Chairman Mao memorabilia, as he was born in Hunan. I couldn’t take a picture of everything that was up on the wall as one, I was hungry and two, there were so many people and three, I was hungry!

We were given complementary cucumber which was soaked in chili oil. It was deliciously tender, juicy, a little tangy and spicy.

We started with the chopped green onion pancake, it was thin, crispy and perfect way to start the meal.

I couldn’t go pass the braised pork belly with preserved vegetables. This dish is very close to my heart, not only is pork belly one of my favourite dish, but it’s one that my grandmother used to make. The dish was ‘homely’ and simply outstanding. The tenderness, the juiciness of the pork, it just melted in your mouth. I really could have eaten the whole dish on my own. MG, however, prefered the one from Red Chili Sichuan they ‘have a better texture, like crisping up the skin, and had more spice and peppercorns.’ I personally haven’t had the one at Red Chili Sichuan so will definitely have to try it one day.

I absolutely loved it. It was delicious – I love the slither of fat, the skin and meatiness of the pork. I still do prefer Mum’s though, she makes this dish well and I really do need to get the recipe of her! Oh YUMMMMM.

The steamed fish fillets with pickled hot green chilling were wonderful. Underneath all the ‘greens’ were tender fish fillets which were fresh, spicy, a little bit on the oily side but absolutely stupendous.

Stir fry mushroom with celery, carrots and onions were seriously spicy. It was numb tongue spicy and absolutely deceiving. We didn’t realise how spicy this was going to be, we couldn’t see any Szechuan pepper but the more we ate, the more numbing our tongue became. ‘A’ is not a massive fan of spicy food and for her, this was over powering. We originally thought it was the fish, but no… it was definitely the stir fry mushroom.

The beer braised duck was tender, there is a hint of beer flavour, which was subtle but excellent. It was spicy but not as numbing as the stir fry mushroom. MG thought they could have ‘turned the duck dish into something a little less ‘homely”.

Some of the dishes I thought were a tad oily but I love the spiciness and how my tongue tingled whilst I ate the mushroom stir fry. It wasn’t the spiciest dish I have eaten, but it sure was the tastiest stir fry mushroom I have had in a long time.

Deliciously full we sat there chatting and laughing, waiting for our tongue to become normal. A glass of mango lassi or ice cream would have been perfect, and we did just that. We continued to a convenience store, and purchased an ice cream to get rid of the numbness.

MG did prefer Red Chili Sichuan compared to Chairman Mao – he thought the ‘flavours were more explosive and tastier’. I quite like Chairman Mao and the ‘homely’ food that it brings.

It was so lovely so catch up with both of you, we should definitely do it again. Another spicy Chinese restaurant then?

The total bill came to less than $80 which we thought was quite reasonable! I really did enjoy the meal here, the service was friendly and efficient, and food quite authentic. Will definitely be back with the family to try other dishes.

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

‘The Mother’s’ ratings: 7 / 10

MG’s ratings: 7 / 10

Chairman Mao

189 Anzac Parade

Kensington 2033

Ph: +61 2 9697 9189

Chairman Mao Chinese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Family dinner, Kensington Peking, Kensington

I love family dinners! I have a pretty big family. Unfortunately, I don’t get to see a lot of them as they are all in Indonesia. So when they came to Sydney for my brother’s wedding, I couldn’t help but organize a couple of family gatherings! It was their last night here in Sydney, and a last supper was definitely in order. We have been eating around Carlingford a couple of times that week, and wanted a new venue. It’s been a while since I last came here (yes, there are a couple of restaurants which I haven’t visited for a while!), I remember coming here with my two dearest friends I and S, the day after I had my wisdom teeth pulled out about 8 years ago, I couldn’t eat much but was determined to try their hakka pigs trotter with fat choi and it was simply outstanding! I can’t believe it has been that long since I last visited, and well yes, this restaurant has been around for that long!

There were 12 of us, and we were all ravenous! Mum and I did most of the ordering, but we did ask everyone what they wanted, which probably was a mistake as they all answered ‘anything’. So, we took it upon ourselves to order for the family.

We started with Peking duck, and as there were 12 of us, we only managed to get one pancake each! The Peking duck was good, but not the best I have eaten. The skin was crispy, and the meat succulent, however, thought the duck ‘pieces’ were a little too thick.

Unfortunately, the pancake was also a little too thick for my liking. I do like the pancake paper thin.

I couldn’t help but pick a thin piece, just the skin, with a slitter of fat. It was good, albeit thick pastry.

Our second course was the noodles (we usually go for the Sang Choy Bau but wanted something different) and the noodles are thick and tasty. It was tender and being the lady that I am, I couldn’t help but make slurping noises whilst eating them – classy!

Next the fillet steak Chinese style, this is not what we expected. I think Mum and I thought it would come on a hot plate. Nevertheless, the beef were extremely tender and succulent, the broccoli was a great complement. (Sorry about the blurry photo, think we had some hungry diners, and they turned the wheel a little when I tried to snap)

The deep fried pork chop was a little salty for my liking. It was lightly battered and the pork was incredibly tender. Eaten with a dollop of chili, it was scrumptious. A favourite amongst the diners.

The seafood tofu hotpot was seriously good. I love tofu! Soft, tender tofu, so soft that you really didn’t need to chew. The mixture of fish, scallops, calamari, chicken with peas, mushroom and bokchoy was just outstanding. This has to be one of my favourite dishes! Again, sorry about the blurry photo – hungry hungry diners!

The Shantung chicken was so tender that the meat just fell of the bone. The skin was crispy, and the meat was so juicy that I couldn’t help but eat more and more.

The beef and beans stir fry was good. I love the wok flavour, I can never make my beef and beans stir fry like that. The beef was tender and the garlic really gave it that nice flavouring and aroma.

There was one last dish which I didn’t take a photo of, the salt and pepper squid. I love good salt and pepper squid. I thought this was good, however, my aunt thought it was a little hard and chewy. Could just have been her piece, as everyone else thought it was good. The batter was thin, and besides my aunt’s piece, I thought the squid was tender. It was exactly what I needed.

I LOVE the chili here! It’s slightly roasted, and soaked in oil – sounds bad I know but it is a must try for those chili lovers! We couldn’t help but ask for more. I love how my aunties and uncles were trying to figure out how it was made.

You would think that was enough food, however, ‘The Mother’, my Dad and I were all still very hungry! We didn’t order anything else, but the adults went home to eat something healthy, fruits, the young kids went to a cafe for desserts prior to heading to the casino. You win some and you lose some, unfortunately, it was ‘The Mother’s’ evening, so we lost.

It was a wonderful evening with family. We talked, we giggled, and we laughed. I have missed you all – I can’t wait for the next wedding, it looks like it might be in Bali – yes, ‘The Mother’ and I have invited ourselves to R’s wedding!!

Missing you all!

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

Kensington Peking

172 Anzac Parade

Kensington, 2033

Ph: +61 2 9313 7100

Kensington Peking on Urbanspoon

Craving for Indonesian food… Bali Stick

I have been craving for good Indonesian food for a while now and I have yet to find a decent place in Hong Kong! There are SO many ‘good’ Indonesian restaurants in Sydney – especially if you go to Kensington or Kingsford where all the Indonesian eateries are! You can pretty much get whatever you crave for on that street! I had my doze of bakso goreng from Pinanggsia that week as my brother was kind enough to get some on my first night there. I wanted something more substantial than just ayam goreng (fried chicken) so we went to Bali Sticks.

Bali Sticks is relatively new compare to the others. It has only been open for a couple of years (not even that) and there’s live music most weekends.

We were starved, well I was! So we ordered a few dishes consisting of those I was craving – ducks, chicken, fish and veggies.

The ayam goreng (fried chicken) came first and this was totally utterly delicious. The chicken was slightly marinated with honey – it was slightly sweet but yet tasty. The chicken was moist and tender and was extremely flavoursome.

The bebek betutu (duck with Balinese sauce – famous Bali meal) and urap (special salad with coconut shred) was not a favourite of mine but the duck was extremely tender that the meat just fell off the bone. The urap was extremely tasty, however I think I prefer my duck fried instead of steamed. The duck had a lot of flavour – it was spicy, and infused with coconut oil.

The fried garoupa was a favourite. Even though the fish was deep fried, it was still quite moist and tender. It wasn’t dry and extremely flavoursome.

Tahu campur, which tofu with bean sprouts and peanut sauce, is a very simple dish. As long as all the ingredients are fresh you can’t go wrong and the ingredients were all fresh! The peanut sauce I thought was a little dry – however it was still quite tasty and authentic. It was spicy which gave it a nice surprise.

I can’t remember the name of this last dish (SHAME ON ME I KNOW!), however it consisted of spinach, carrots, bean sprouts and tofu with peanut sauce. The sauce was similar to the tahu campur but this dish was without doubt tastier. It was indeed spicy and too much of this would have made my eyes water but it was light and the mixture of all the vegetables were just outstanding.

I noticed on their drinks menu that they had es duren. In my mind I was thinking durian juice, however, it wasn’t the case. It was similar to soda gembira which is sweetened condensed milk, thick red strawberry syrup and club soda together in a glass. My es duren was club soda with durian in it – it was a tad bit weird I thought, but the durian was fresh and tasty! My only complaint would be that there wasn’t enough durian!!!!

It was a great last supper with the family before I head back to Hong Kong and it definitely satisfied most of my cravings for Indonesian food. I am still craving for some ‘good’ bakmi ayam (chicken noodles aka Indo style and I am not talking about mie goreng!), martabak manis, sate ayam amongst others which I am sure I will satisfy when I go back in May.

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

Bali Stick

84 Anzac Parade

Kensington NSW 2033

Ph: +61 2 9663 0404

Bali Stick Indonesian Restaurant on Urbanspoon